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The Student News Site of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

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The Student News Site of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

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Victoria Damaso
Cari Buddman is awarded MSD’s Teacher of the Year for the 2023-2024 school year. She teaches Algebra l Honors and Geometry Honors in room 1517.

Math teacher Cari Buddman named Teacher of the Year

At the commencement of each new school year, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School staff elect which teacher best reflects the qualifications for the Teacher of the Year award. On Sept. 12 during second period, it was announced through the intercom that math teacher Cari Buddman was selected as Teacher of the Year for the 2023-2024 school year.

The selection process for finding the Teacher of the Year is followed from the guidelines of the Caliber Awards. MSD staff members are encouraged to select teachers that follow the Caliber criteria and the Faculty Council, composed of appointed teachers, review the nominees qualifications. Qualifications include if the teacher has been teaching for more than three years, if they have leadership experience or if they have a permanent certificate, etc.

The Faculty Council narrows the teachers down to three to five based on their qualifications, or if the teacher declines their nomination, and casts them off for the school to vote. And Cari Buddman won that selection process.

“I got nominated last year, and I pulled myself out of the running and then I got nominated again this year, but I did not think I was going to win,” Buddman said. “Oh, that’s cool…“I think it’s awesome that people know what I do.”

Algebra and Geometry Honors teacher Cari Buddman began her postsecondary education at Stony Brook University and continued at Florida Atlantic University with a major in elementary education. Then, she pursued her teaching career around 18 to 20 years ago with MSD being her first school to teach at.

She substituted for geometry and trigonometry teacher Nancy Lazar because she was having a baby. Following that year, she taught other schools within Broward County Public Schools, such as Blair Middle School and Coral Glades High School.

After teaching at CGHS for about nine years, Buddman chose to come back to MSD.

“MSD just feels like home,” Buddman said.

Buddman wanted to pursue a career in teaching ever since she was a child. She remembers how in fifth grade, there was a lightbulb in her head as she was helping out the students in the lower grade. She decided to teach math at MSD because it is her favorite subject and she wants to help her students understand it to love it too.

“I love math and I can break it down,” Buddman said. “Kids are terrified of math, and I don’t want them to be. [My goal is] to have them understand that they are capable of doing math. And they can be successful and get them to pass that EOC exam.”

She is very dedicated and strives to actively engage her students in the lesson with her teaching methods. She recalls how she once stood on a chair to teach her students slope in a memorable and fun way. Many of Buddman’s students express how she makes math easy and enjoyable to learn with her teaching method and how she provides different solutions to solve problems.

“She breaks down the material very well so that everyone can understand it and she provides a bunch of different methods on how to learn a topic so it’s inclusive for everyone,” sophomore Kenzie Allen, who had Buddman for Algebra 1 Honors, said.

Buddman describes a typical day in her classroom consisting of warm ups, like Kahoot, then reviewing questions on homework and finally diving into the lesson of the day. She always tries to provide time to start homework in class to lessen the homework load for her students.

“So usually, students come in and I have Classroom Screen up and it tells them what to do,” Buddman said. “It tells them about the warm up, which is usually quizzes or Kahoot…. then we go over any homework questions, and then we dive into the lesson and hopefully, we have enough time where they can actually start the homework in class.”

Math department head Chung-Chiang Feng has known Buddman since 2009 through teaching. He describes her as a very dedicated teacher. She demonstrates this motivation and dedication for her students through her actions.

“She has all different little tricks to help students memorize things and she uses a lot of technology,” Feng said. “And she will go above and beyond to find different games like quizzes. During Covid, she tried to find so many different things to motivate her low level kids.”

Feng states how not only is Buddman a good colleague, but a great friend also.

“Ms. Buddman is very easy to get along with,” Feng said. “She will tell you the truth, say what she thinks, which you want. You don’t want someone to tell you A and mean B.”

Buddman fuels her motivation for her students’ success in class by watching her students understand the concept and conclude with the correct answer. She describes it as an “aha moment” in her student’s head, a moment where everything just clicks and the math falls into place like finding the missing piece of a puzzle.

“The more [the students] get it, the more I get excited,” Buddman said. “The more they see me get excited, the more they try.”

Besides teaching her Geometry and Algebra Honors students, Buddman enjoys watching her 17 year-old daughter grow up. She is grateful for her votes and her family.

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About the Contributor
Victoria Damaso, Multimedia Editor
Victoria Damaso is a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She is a first-year reporter. She enjoys figure skating, listening to music and hanging out with friends in her free time.
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