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Lisa Raison

Lisa Raison Named Florence 1 Schools 2020-21 Teacher of the Year

When Lisa Raison saw her little brother struggling in school, she did not understand why, but she saw that he needed teachers to teach him the way he could learn.  It was her first experience in seeing that not all students learn the same way, and this is what guided her to become a special education teacher.

This week Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley announced that Lisa Raison has been named the 2020-21 Teacher of the Year for Florence 1 Schools. 

Raison who has served as a special education teacher for well over the past two decades, teaches at West Florence High School.  She is an active member of the Transition Alliance Committee which brings together the Vocational Rehabilitation Department, the Department of Social Services, and other community organizations to discuss ways to better prepare special education students to transition into life after high school.

Raison also connects her profession as a special education teacher to a community event, the Annual Future Success College and Career Day. She said that special education students are the highest group of high school drop-outs, and she wants them thinking about their future so they are not thinking about dropping out of high school.”

“I have several goals that I want to accomplish by hoisting this annual event,” said Raison, the first one is to link the local community with my students in hopes of their seeing what is available to them.  Secondly, I want them to become excited for their future and see the importance of having a transition plan when they leave high school.  The annual event is successful as evidenced by the 100% graduation rate of seniors for 2020.” 

Raison, who serves as a member of the Florence 1 School’s Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) program, provides trainings throughout the year for teachers and staff to teach them about autism characteristics and to give them tools that could be used to help these students flourish in their classrooms.

“Students with learning disabilities have normal intelligence,” said Raison.  They just have a learning difference.  They do not learn the same way as other students.  It could be that they need it presented in a different way or taught using different vocabulary.  They sometimes need it several times.  However they learn, it is our job as educators to build that relationship with these students so that they, too, can reach their maximum potential in school.”

Raison has worked to ensure that her students are participating in clubs, sports teams, and other extracurricular activities. “It is a win-win for all involved, and I couldn’t be prouder of this program and happy for my students who are reaching their full potential,” said Raison.

When Raison is not teaching, she serves as a passionate supporter of local animal shelters and volunteers for them.  She created and hosts a 5K race annually to raise money and awareness to the plight of homeless cats and dogs in the area.  She also belongs to a local bike club that supports staying active and racial diversity.

Raison, who is a National Board-Certified Teacher, is a graduate of Rivier College in Nashua, New Hampshire with a double major in elementary and special education; and Lesley University in Cambridge Massachusetts, where she received a Masters of Integrating Technology in Education/Curriculum (Florence Cohort).

Raison was chosen as school teacher of the year last spring at West Florence High. The Florence 1 Schools teacher of the year application process required all school teacher of the year to complete an application packet earlier this school year. Teachers whose application packets received the highest scores became honor roll teachers.  Raison, along with three other Florence 1 honor roll teachers----Jacob Gilliard, Savannah Grove Elementary; Lynn Howard, Sneed Middle; Frankie Sullivan, Southside Middle; all underwent classroom personal interviews by an outside panel of four teacher of the year selection committee members.

As the Florence 1 Schools Teacher of the Year, Raison is eligible to compete for the 2022 State Teacher of the Year by completing the application. The submission window opens on Friday November 20 and closes on Monday, January 11, 2021.