Updated April 25 at 4:56pm

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MHS educator is R.I. Teacher of the Year

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MIDDLETOWN – A Middletown High School Spanish teacher who organizes cultural “immersion experiences” for his students was named 2010 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year Wednesday.

Dana E. Ramey, an educator for 13 years, now becomes a candidate for national Teacher of the Year.

“As one of his students put it, Señor Ramey teaches Spanish not just as a class, but as a new way to interact with the world,” Deborah Gist, the commissioner of education, said in a surprise ceremony at the high school Wednesday.

“He is known for teaching through what he calls immersion experiences: bringing cultural awareness as well as language instruction to the classroom and leading students on ‘home stays’ in Mexico and Spain,” Gist continued. “Señor Ramey is an excellent example of a highly effective educator for today. As one parent noted, he is a role model who helps students and families see that we are all citizens of the world.”

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth who holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Rhode Island, Ramey was cited for developing a program in which high school students teach Spanish to fourth graders, and for organizing the annual World Language Fair at the high school.

“Señor Ramey has had tremendous success in broadening both the language skills and cultural education of his students, while creating a classroom environment that celebrates learning,” said Gov. Donald L. Carcieri, who also attended the ceremony. “He is not only an effective and well-loved teacher, he is also a respected leader who is personally invested in advancing foreign-language education. He clearly understands the value of graduating students with a world perspective and ability to communicate with people from other cultures.”

“As we prepare our students to succeed in the global economy of the 21st century, it is vital that we educate students in the languages and the cultures of the world,” added Patrick A. Guida, vice chairman of the R.I. Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education. “Through his devotion to his subject and to the teaching profession, Dana Ramey has made a profound contribution to his school and to the students of Middletown.”

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