National Teacher of the Year

1983 National Teacher of the Year

NameLeRoy E. Hay

School Information

School Address
Manchester High SchoolManchester, CT
Teaching AreaEnglish

Washington, D.C., April 13, 1983 -- LeRoy E. Hay, a 38-year-old teacher of English and futuristics from Manchester, Connecticut, was honored at White House ceremonies today as the 1983 National Teacher of the Year.

Mrs. Nancy Reagan presented Hay, who holds a doctorate in education, with a golden apple award as members of Hay's family, including his wife and father, looked on. In addition to the White House ceremony, Hay will be introduced to the Department of Education by Secretary Terrel H. Bell, where he will speak on the future of education.

Now in its 32nd year, the National Teacher of the Year Program is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the Encyclopaedia Britannica Companies, and Good Housekeeping magazine.

A dedicated and popular teacher at Manchester High School who has lectured widely on the future of education, Hay predicts by 1990 every home will have a telecommunications room linked with schools and that there will be a greater use of robots, including those that will take care of the children of working mothers.

Manchester is one of 600 schools in the country providing courses in futurism or futuristics, as it is variously titled. At Manchester it is one of 40 electives in English and, because of Hay, among the most frequently chosen. He has taught this since 1973 when he attended a related seminar and became "fascinated."

In his classroom, Hay tries to use this subject to involved young people not only in thinking about the future but in feeling that they may have some impact on their environment and the world they are facing. Too many students, he feels, are passive receivers of information. By discussing the world of the future ? hunger, technology, transportation, and how some of its problems may be solved - students move from a passive to an active attitude towards themselves and the world around them.

Chairman of his school's English department, as well as a teacher of English, theater arts and futuristics, Hay also heads the faculty curriculum committee, directs the school's plays and was at one time president of the Manchester Education Association.

In the classroom, Hay is noted for his teaching skills, ability to relate closely to students one-on-one and involve students in the process of education. Known as one of the strictest English teachers at Manchester, Hay's classes are nonetheless well-attended and students recommend them to others.

Hay has been described as having enthusiasm as well as "sparkle and ingenuity," to which he students respond. "He knows he is bright and a good teacher, but these are qualities he uses to develop confidence in others," a Manchester teacher noted. A student said of Hay: "You put such trust in Doc that if he thinks you can do it, you think you can."

Hay believes that "the essence of education is teaching students how to learn and, by doing so, preparing them to deal with whatever they may have to face in the future." He challenges his students to argue a point with him and to substantiate their opinions.

Hay, who has been teaching for 17 years, was chosen from among the 1983 state teachers of the years in the annual program which focuses attention on excellence in teaching.

Hay, who was earlier named Connecticut Teacher of the Year, was born in Cortland, New York and is the first member of his family to obtain a college degree. His father, Lloyd Hay, a factory worker, encouraged his four children to get an education. As Hay notes, "At our house, education held the promise of the future." Hay developed a love for teaching early and later felt he had been born to be a teacher. The encouragement of his parents and grandparents was a strong influence, he says.

He received a bachelor's degree in English education from the State University of New York at Cortland and, from the University of Connecticut at Storrs, a master's degree in theater and a Ph.D in secondary education.

Hay is married to his high school sweetheart, Lorraine Latimer, and they have two children, Brandon and Emily. They live in Vernon, Connecticut.