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December High Five Nominations

Devon Hauser, Marcy Elementary School fitness education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Devon has gone above and beyond to help in helping provide levity to this tough school year. He has taken the lead on helping organize several all school activities. He is visible at parent drop off and pick up daily, greeting parents and students! He is always willing to step up and help out no matter the task!

PK (Penny) Komatz, Hamilton High School math teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

PK is one of the kindest people I know. She is always asking students and staff about their lives and remembers things that are important to both. She recognizes all of her students accomplishments, gives staff members thank you letters from students and genuinely cares about others.

Kaitlin Schumaker, Hamilton High School communication arts teacher and reading specialist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kaitlin is great to collaborate with. She is a wonderful problem solver, and always keeps her students’ best interests in mind while planning lessons and interventions. She is a great addition to our team.

Meredith Trcka, Templeton Middle School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Meredith is a valuable asset to TMS. She builds strong relationships with students, and is always willing to help when we need her.

Rebecca Leibiger, Templeton Middle School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Rebecca has been a great addition to TMS this year. She always has a smile on her face, which we can see even behind her mask, and is always willing to help out wherever we need her.

Amanda Norris, Silver Spring Intermediate School fifth grade humanities teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Amanda has been a great support for her students and for me, the special education teacher. She continues to work with me to help each student in her class succeed going above and beyond. I really appreciate her creative problem solving ideas. Thanks Amanda!

Niki Gaumnitz-Byrne, Templeton Middle School long-term substitute teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

This regular substitute covered my class for a while when I unexpectedly wasn’t there.

Brian Wissbeck, Hamilton School District maintenance staff member, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Brian’s dedication and care to provide a safe and comfortable learning environment is true asset to the district. Much of the work he does goes unnoticed because he able to fix a problem before anyone is aware there was one. High Five Brian!

Jen Knapp, Hamilton High School speech pathologist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Jen is one and only, with her advocacy, and remarkable dedication to academic success and well-being of all her students. Jen is always willing to share her extensive expertise, and professional resources related to language acquisition and processing. Jen is an amazing person to work with, and I am so grateful for her collaboration and support with our shared student this school year!

Heather Condon, Silver Spring Intermediate School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

This school year, Heather and I share an EL student, who has a significant cognitive disability. Initially, the student was having hard time with focus and self-regulation, and Heather has done a wonderful plan of support for this student (visual cues, a reward system, a new bike etc.). Needless to say, the student is now able to focus longer periods of time. Heather is also amazing in sharing resources, and strategies that are so helpful when supporting the student.

Lisa Boucher, Silver Spring Intermediate School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Lisa is very dedicated to helping all the students she supports. She is extremely organized, structured, supportive, and gives 100% all day everyday! Lisa collaborates with teachers and support staff that she works with to make sure the students are getting what they need in school. She has great ideas and suggestions to help the students. Lisa has countless years of experience and it shows. Our students are very fortunate to work with such a kind, caring, and dedicated person.

Brian Latus, Maple Elementary School library media specialist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Reasons given by my students: ‘He always helps me find a book!’ ‘He’s super nice.’ ‘He shows us awesome book websites to get us interested in books.’ ‘He shows us cool books.’ ‘He gets me excited about reading!’ ‘We get cool bookmarks.’ ‘I love his exciting lessons.’ ‘He recommends books that are good for me.’ ‘When he reads a book he uses the character’s voice.’ ‘He brings in Star Lab and his whale.’ My students love going to library, enjoy Mr. Latus’ lessons and always return excited!

Marie Palmer, Marcy Elementary School third grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Marie goes above and beyond to help her colleagues. She’s often the first person to show up in your room after sending out an email to teachers asking for help of any kind. She’s willing to stay and troubleshoot with you until you’ve got it figured out. Marie has a lot of experience teaching both in-person and virtual already this year, and she offers excellent and realistic advice to all. Marie is dependable, logical, and so kind – we’re lucky to have her at Marcy!

Beth Geisler, Silver Spring Intermediate School sixth grade humanities teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Beth is a wonderful leader and colleague in our Humanities department. She models ongoing learning and growing as an educator and supports her colleagues through our transition to rubrics and standards-referenced feedback for students. Beth is always willing to help and went above and beyond for a peer who was out sick as she live streamed into another Humanities classroom to teach the mini lesson to students from another house. We are grateful to have Beth on our team!

Melanie Peterson, Silver Spring Intermediate School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Melanie brings such warmth to our health room at SSI. Each morning she is here, she stands in the hallway and greets students with a smile. In any given situation, she maintains a perspective that is centered around compassion and genuine care for other humans. Melanie cares deeply for our students and staff and we are very fortunate to have her in our health room!

Susan Haley, Silver Spring Intermediate School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Susan is a committed member of our SSI team. She maintains a positive attitude at all times and is consistently looking for solutions and ways to improve our systems and help out others. Susan is kind and friendly to each student that enters our health room and has a gentle and warm approach when dealing with sensitive issues. We love having Susan on our team!

Cody Leland, Templeton Middle School associate principal, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Cody took the time to find some work for me to do while we were virtual in November. He made a few phone calls and gave me some options to choose from. He went above & beyond what he had to do! I am thankful & feel lucky to have such a caring person who not only looks out for our students at TMS, but the staff members as well! Thanks again, Cody!

Kristen Lee, Silver Spring Intermediate School fifth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kristen is a huge value add to our community. She is a reflective educator who is constantly evolving her own practice to meet the needs of students. Kristen shares ideas with her colleagues and has established herself as a quiet yet confident leader among her peers. She makes each student feel valued and supported while maintaining high expectations of learning within her classroom walls.

Alyssa Knutson, Silver Spring Intermediate School fifth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

This school year, Alyssa has a couple of ELs in her classroom, and she has been really wonderful in advocating for ELs and their learning, which includes providing additional support to ELs in a small group, or one on one, and having high expectations for ELs’ learning. Alyssa really goes above and beyond to ensure that all her students learn successfully. I am so grateful to Alyssa, for keeping me in the loop about ongoing assignments, which helps me plan accordingly my support.

Andrea Diedrick, Hamilton High School custodian, was nominated by a co-worker because:

This year has been challenging with COVID and all the requirements on cleaning to ensure we all stay healthy. I would like to say ‘Thank You’ to all the Maintenance staff as well as Dan and Annie Diedrich for the Outstanding job they do everyday!

Daniel Diedrick, Hamilton High School custodian, was nominated by a co-worker because:

This year has been challenging with COVID and all the requirements on cleaning to ensure we all stay healthy. I would like to say ‘Thank You’ to all the Maintenance staff as well as Dan and Annie Diedrich for the Outstanding job they do everyday!

Jen Butscher, Woodside Elementary School first grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Jen has worked tirelessly to create rigorous and engaging phonics units for our team. She has dedicated a lot of time and effort to ensure our students are receiving good quality phonic lessons.

Cathy Hagstrom, Hamilton School District business services administrative assistant, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Cathy is ALWAYS so very helpful. She goes above and beyond to help me when I don’t know what to do.

Lori Hinytz, Hamilton High School social studies teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

“She has ALWAYS been a staff member who encourages the team…she SO recognizes others through her generosity” which has included outreach to an employee who is ill.

Melanie Vonachen, Willow Springs special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Melanie goes above and beyond each day not only for her students, but also the staff. She has been creating interactive videos and sharing them with all students and staff. She shares anything and everything that she does, which helps make for a happy workplace.

Jerad Perlberg, Templeton Middle School custodian, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Jerad works hard throughout the day. He does a job few would do while maintaining a positive attitude.

Tom Deshotels, Hamilton High School communication arts teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Tom went above and beyond during my leave to help my long-term substitute teach AP Language & Composition. He provided all of the videos and instruction to my class during my absence, ensuring that students have a strong knowledge base and didn’t fall behind in the class. He met with my sub on a daily basis to share materials and plans and even assessed some of the students’ work. He did all of the work behind the scenes to run my class in my absence.

Brecken Ashenbrenner, Maple Avenue special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Brecken joined our special education team during a transitional time. She has worked tirelessly to build relationships with her students, their families and the Maple Ave staff. She cares deeply about each student she works with and goes above and beyond to create an educational environment that is welcoming and meets the needs of all students. She is an amazing addition to our district. We are fortunate to have her as a part of our team!

Grace Norton, Silver Spring Intermediate School assistant manager of food and nutrition services, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Grace Norton and her staff have gone above and beyond this school year! From coming in early to make bistro boxes, to making lunches for ERL students, to taking care of the students here in our building. Grace makes sure our school and others run smoothly and that they all have what they need to run their kitchens. Our district is lucky to have such an amazing person on staff.

Karen Ullrick, Lannon Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Karen goes above and beyond working in the health room/office. She communicates well with our families and is very kind and nurturing to the students. She is a valuable asset to Lannon and I am so thankful that we work together.