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Tam Hoang, who teaches fourth-grade students, is 2021 “Teacher of the Year” at Rainbow Elementary School. CONTRIBUTED

Rainbow decides on Tam Hoang for 2021 top teacher

MADISON – To Tam Hoang, it’s only fair that she must deliver 100 percent for her students if she expects 100 percent from them. Hoang is 2021 “Teacher of the Year” at Rainbow Elementary School.

“I believe that learning is an ongoing process. Just when I think I know it all, I find that there is still much to learn, understand, experience and enjoy,” Hoang said. “Each student is an individual and should be given the opportunity to reach his/her fullest potential with my guidance and encouragement.”

Hoang also thinks that students should have choices in the way that they learn and process information, along with understanding assessment procedures.

“Giving students some control will allow them to take ownership of what they’re learning instead of just having information that’s important to someone else,” Hoang said. She sets high expectations in her classroom and does not accept minimal effort from anyone — including herself.

“I consider myself a firm disciplinarian but with lots of caring,” she said. “I have been told many times that I have a very structured and organized classroom.”

Her career in education started at Frances Nungester Elementary School in Decatur as a second-grade teacher from 2000 to 2005. She then accepted the assignment at Rainbow.

“I’ve been at Rainbow since fall of 2005 and taught first, second, third and now fourth,” Hoang said. She serves on the Leadership Committee, has sponsored a recreational chess team and has coached the Archery Team.

One of Hoang’s classroom successes happened this school year when a student was performing at a third-grade level in iReady Reading. “When he took the last iReady test, he was at a sixth-grade level. The child’s parents appreciated me for having such a good rapport with their son and therefore he thrived to do his best,” Hoang said.

“I was born in Vietnam and migrated to America in 1981 and grew up in Biloxi, Miss.,” Hoang said. She graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts.

Her husband, Kenneth Van, works as a program manager for the U.S. Army. “I have one son and his name is Ethan Van. He will be in eighth grade at Discovery Middle School,” Tam said.

“One interesting fact about me is that I encountered real pirates when my family of 13, including my two cousins, escaped from Vietnam in 1981. My father gave them a little bit of gold, and they showed us a better route to Thailand,” Tam said.

One of her favorite hobbies is photographing nature. Tam also likes to hike and travel with family and friends.

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