Wright City R-II names Teacher of Year

By Cindy Gladden, Correspondent
Posted 4/8/24

Bria Prince was named the Wright City R-II Teacher of the Year.

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Wright City R-II names Teacher of Year


A quote attributed to Winnie the Pooh sits at the front of special education teacher Bria Prince’s desk: "you’re better than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Prince was recently named Teacher of the Year in the Wright City School District. She currently teaches special education at Wright City West Elementary School.

Prince first attended Wright City Elementary starting in the fourth grade after her family moved to the area. She graduated from Wright City High School in 2016 and received her Bachelor of Arts in Special Education from Lindenwood University.

“I love my job,” said Prince. “It came into my heart because of my late brother, Malik. I was able to observe how his teachers worked with him, took care of him and gave him a sense of community.”

Her brother suffered from an autism spectrum disorder and a form of muscular dystrophy. His death at the age of 24 was a blow to the community.

“I found my true love of special education watching him and his teachers,” she said. “I changed my major from medicine to special education. This is what I was meant to do.”

She felt very lucky to return to her hometown to teach. She was able to choose Wright City for her student teaching hours and was then hired on at the school district.

She tackles her job with gusto and a sense of compassion for her second and fourth-grade students. There are 13 categories that students can qualify for a learning disability. From a teaching standpoint, her goal is to “encourage progress and close any deficits.”

She tries to break problems into solvable solutions. Sometimes before she tackles a knowledge problem, a student must deal with a social or emotional problem.

“Before we can focus on learning, we have to problem-solve the social issue,” she said. “I teach them how to recognize feelings. I ask them to tell me what is going on. Kids’ needs must be met so they can learn.”

Prince specifically works on deficits in reading, math and writing. The students are members of a regular class and join her for part of their day. She thinks it is important for her students to interact with their peers and grow their self-confidence.

Prince approaches her teaching with excitement, saying she is truly moved when her students take a step forward.

“They light up when they see me light up,” said Prince.

Finding out she had been named Teacher of the Year in her second year of teaching surprised Prince. She said she has found a lot of inspiration from other teachers in the district.

The selection process begins with being nominated by other teachers. A Leadership Team in the district narrows down the selection before being voted on by the School Board. The process includes a series of questions and three essay prompts to write.

When Prince took her job in the Wright City area, she returned to a large, loving family and a community she loved.

Wright City R-II, Teacher of the Year