Cyle Davenport, a Deering High School science teacher, is one of 10 educators to win an inaugural Air and Space Forces’ Sentry Educator Award, instituted by the 319th Recruiting Squadron at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts. The new award recognizes the top 10 educators throughout New England who demonstrate support of Air Force Core Values of integrity, service and excellence.
Davenport received the award at a special surprise ceremony at Deering on May 22, at which squadron officials presented him with an Air Force Sentry trophy.
“This award is our way of embracing our partners in academia and recognizing them for developing our nation’s future and embodying our shared values of Integrity, Service, and Excellence in all we do,” Chief Master Sgt. Gervacio Maldonado, 319th Recruiting Squadron production superintendent, said in a statement.Davenport exemplifies those values, Deering Interim Co-Principal Jake Giessman said in nominating him for the award. Giessman wrote:
Excellence: Mr. Davenport is known throughout our school district as an exemplary instructor. The school district uses him as a mentor for less experienced teachers. His mentorship has also helped students become excellent. One of his students, now at MIT, pursued materials science based on an interest sparked in Mr. Davenport’s class and another won the Maine State Science Fair. Furthermore, Mr. Davenport’s skill as a teacher reversed a long decline in enrollment in chemistry and physics courses at our school. He makes kids love science.
Service: One of the standout aspects of Mr. Davenport’s service ethic is his willingness to sponsor many student activities, especially when it means meeting a student’s personal interests. He coaches one of our winningest teams, eSports, and sponsors astronomy club, CubeSat, Science Olympiad, and Quiz Bowl, to name a few. Effectively, this means he is volunteering a lot of extra time to keep interested students engaged and progressing in STEM fields of interest. Mr. Davenport is also our Building Technology Coordinator, meaning he helps all building staff manage and troubleshoot basic instructional technology. More broadly, as Co-Principal, I have never mentioned a problem in Mr. Davenport’s presence that he hasn’t immediately jumped to help solve.
Integrity: Portland Public Schools is a high-poverty district with about one-third of students coming from immigrant, refugee, and asylum-seeking families. Mr. Davenport could work anywhere, and wealthier districts have in fact tried to coax him away from Portland. He is driven by a moral compass, though, and makes major life decisions based not on personal interest, but on what is right. He is still at Deering because he sees the need. As he says, the school gets its hooks into you because of the students. From his first day at Deering as a substitute teacher some years ago, Mr. Davenport has shown nonjudgmental grace and calm with difficult and high-achieving students, alike, and a pattern of bringing them all around to the work of learning and growing–to becoming their best selves.
Students benefit from Davenport’s dedication to teaching, according to Deering senior Colby Drabik, who wrote the following in also nominating him for the award:
Mr. Davenport always has a way of making the class topics feel accessible and digestible, never overwhelming or impossible. He was always ready to go over a topic again, to explain it in a different way to make it easier to understand, or to let us ask our own questions about chemistry and science, some that may not be directly related to the lesson. With this, he has always let us better understand the class and allow us to explore what is personally interesting to us in science. This is true also in clubs where he has supported multiple new student clubs. He started the Science Olympiad club, dedicated his time to be the coach for my new trivia team, and became the advisor for me and my friend’s Cube Satellite mission.
Drabik added: This is the area where I think that Mr. Davenport stands out. I can say, personally, this has helped me greatly in my school career and has motivated and made me more focused on what I want to do for the rest of my life. He has also had similar effects on others and I think this makes him one of the best teachers at Deering High School.
Davenport said he considers Deering a good fit. “I am fortunate to be a part of a school like Deering High School, where both staff and students are encouraged to find their passions and explore them,” he said. “We have the best students at our school, curious and bright, and eager to bring real positive change to their worlds. The opportunity I have to ignite their learning is what keeps me coming back each day. I am honored to receive this award, which for me represents both the hard work and joy of teaching.”
A video made by two of Davenport’s students who interviewed him as part of a schoolwide interview series gives more insight about this outstanding teacher: https://www.wevideo.com/view/2917053341
Learn more about the inaugural Air and Space Forces’ Sentry Educator Award and the nine other winners this year at: https://www.aetc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/3399564/recruiting-squadron-announces-sentry-educator-award-winners/
The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with approximately 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 50 languages. 49.8 percent of the district’s students are white and 50.2 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals