“I just feel so privileged to even be in the company of the other educators from all around the world,” Tracy said Thursday.
Tracy seemed to still be in stunned Thursday to discover she is not only one of the finalists but the only American.
She read the biographies of the other nine finalists and was in awe to be in the company of such educational excellence.
“To be honest, I was shocked to even be a top 50 finalist,” she said.
Tracy has already garnered national recognition with an award for combating hunger with Odyssey’s Hydroponic Learning Lab, which she oversees after helping to create.
The native Californian is also the first educator in Delaware to teach the Advanced Placement African American Studies. It’s a new class from the College Board that will have a national rollout throughout 2024.
Tracy said the Global application process was exhaustive and involved interviews and questions on community contributions, impact on student achievement, impact on colleagues and more.
The other nine finalists are from Ghana, India, South Africa, United Kingdom, France, Pakistan, Canada, Chile and Ukraine.
The winner will be announced Nov. 8 in Paris, France as part of the general meeting of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
“I’m not expecting to win, but if for some reason I were to win, I plan on sharing some of the award money with some of the other finalists,” Tracy said.
She also plans to spend some of the reward money to help spread Odyssey’s hydroponic programming to other schools.
One of Tracy’s core mantras is that administrators and community members need to be open to saying “yes.”
“We need to create spaces by which educators can innovate and be creative,” she said. “There are so many phenomenal educators out there that are prevented from experimenting, from pursuing personal interests that would ultimately benefit students.”
Tracy said the hydroponic program at Odyssey, which had its greatest impact during the pandemic, would not be possible if the school administration, board, facilities team and students were not supportive of her passion and vision.
“Sometimes we forget what the focus should be on, and the focus should be on our students,” she said. “We need to create more opportunities for educators to simply be creative and try new things, and I feel like our program is a testament to that.”
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
Jarek can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz
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