It gives us great pleasure to introduce you to DeLand High’s Teacher of the Year, April Sniffen. Mrs. Sniffen has been teaching for over 20 years at DeLand High. She came to DeLand after earning her bachelor’s degree in secondary education in English, and her master’s in English from the University of North Florida. Mrs. Sniffen knew she always wanted to be a teacher. While pursuing advertising at UNF, she was still trying to figure out how to teach, and finally decided the career was calling and shouldn’t fight it any longer. She has taught all four levels of English, Journalism, and DeLand High’s School Paper the Growler. She has been working diligently to keep the Growler, a staple of DHS since the 1920’s, going and making sure it doesn’t suffer the fate of so many other school papers. She has had multiple articles written about her and her passion for teaching and keeping the newspaper alive. Mrs. Sniffen was quoted in an interview in the Orlando Sentinel about one of her greatest moments as a teacher:
“I was teaching a ninth-grade "repeat" class -- only sophomores through seniors were allowed, and they failed ninth-grade English at some point. We were discussing poetry, which is one of my favorites. It was Lord Alfred Tennyson's The Eagle. I went off in teacher "lala" land and was talking about how much "more" the poem meant when one of my students raised her hand and said, "It's just about a bird, Ms. G." (That's what they used to call me before I got married.) I looked at the girl and said: "You know what, Melissa? I think you're right." It was great for me because I realized how teachers go off somewhere in what I call teacher "lala" land, and it seems like we're making stuff up because we have found some higher, deeper meaning. But sometimes it really is just about a bird. So I always start out my poetry unit by telling my students about teacher "lala" land so they know if I go there, they need to bring me back down to earth.”
Mrs. Sniffen has also been and adjunct instructor at Daytona State, and is a volunteer Girl Scout Leader.