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February High Five Nominations

Janice Rush, Hamilton School District program support, was nominated by a co-worker:

Janice is someone you not only want on your team, but as your team captain. She leads by example and displays a wealth of knowledge in special education services. Janice is a quick problem solver who brings light and positivity wherever she goes. She is someone who you can depend on and trust. Thank you Janice for being a true educational rock star!

Theresa Craig, Hamilton High School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

She motivated a student to complete needed work. Thanks!

Caryn Deeken, Marcy Elementary School first grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Caryn is an incredible teacher and colleague. She knows her students well – she supports them where they are and works hard to get them to where they need to be. She is reflective and is always willing to problem solve and/or share an idea. I love collaborating with her! She is an asset to Marcy and to Hamilton!

Kristin Enoch, Woodside Elementary School first grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

She goes above and beyond in her class for all students. Each day I get to see how much she truly cares about all of her students. From the small activities in her class to the big Board and Brush projects the class has done this year. She always does everything with a smile on her face. Thank you for everything you do, and for making each day an adventure!

Nicole Welter, Woodside Elementary School fourth grade teacher, was nominated by a student:

You are an awesome teacher! You make learning fun. You are the best because you go above and beyond to make math fun on Fridays and all days. We love having hot chocolate and BINGO! You make reading fun when we act out a fairytale. I love being in your class!

Becky McGinley, Woodside Elementary School first grade teacher, was nominated by a student:

You are the nicest 1st grade teacher ever. I like everything in your class. Especially free choice. I like that you let us do fun things, and do fun math rotations. You always play with us, and make us happy. You are the best!

Michelle Mattheis, Templeton Middle School special services paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Michelle does an awesome job with all students she works with. Her commitment and dedication to students is overwhelming. She is a team member that communicates well with staff and students.

Nanette Kern, Templeton Middle School special services paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Nanette does an awesome job with all students she works with both virtually and in-person. Her commitment and dedication to students is overwhelming. She is a team member that communicates well with staff and students.

Kirstin Seizer, Templeton Middle School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kirstin’s positive attitude is contagious and inspiring. She always has a great attitude no matter what is going on. Kirstin is committed to students and staff both in-person and virtually. I am so glad I get to work with her once again. Go Team!!!

Molly Dederich, Hamilton High School mathematics teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Molly goes above and beyond expectations to ensure each student receives the assistance he or she needs to be successful both in and out of the classroom. Her passion, persistence, and commitment to this profession are unparalleled. I am so fortunate to learn from and work with such an exceptional educator.

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

For innovative and motivating ways she has created lessons for students through technology.

Jennifer Orlowski, Willow Springs Learning Center special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

For innovative and motivating ways she has created lessons for students through technology.

Kathryn Foy, Hamilton School District program support, was nominated by a co-worker:

Katie Foy took time out of her day to speak to my EC Careers students about inclusion and modifications for children with special needs. My students appreciated her depth of knowledge in the field. I appreciate Katie agreeing to talk with them, and more importantly, staying longer than anticipated to answer their questions.

Chuck DuFrane, Silver Spring Intermediate School sixth grade teacher, was nominated by a parent:

Mr. DuFrane has done an excellent job connecting with his students and embracing the additional tasks that the year has brought on to share work with parents. He acknowledges the successes and encourages the next step for future learning.

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

Kaitlin always goes the extra mile to enable success with grade level standards for our shared student with limited English proficiency. She implements scaffolding strategies such as: use of visual support, translation in home language, reduced language load, and reduced number of assignments in order to support learning for EL students. Kaitlin is open to new ideas, and she keeps support teachers in the loop. I love working with Kaitlin, and we are so fortunate to have her in our district.

Timothy Cunningham, Templeton Middle School seventh grade teacher, was nominated by a student:

Because he is a great teacher that keeps everybody happy while still teaching the lesson.

Lori Konshak, Willow Springs Learning Center kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Lori is a wonderful, caring teacher to her students. It is awesome how carefully she plans her lessons to help her students learn and grow. She is a wonderful team member that makes Willow Springs special. I was so blessed to be able to work with her.
John Roubik, Hamilton School District director of human resources and organizational development, was nominated by a co-worker:

John has been incredibly supportive during a very difficult time for our staff. He has reached out in numerous ways, asking how he can help, and then been present during a time that our staff needed it. John came and covered classrooms to ensure Katie and I could attend David’s funeral services and stepped in wherever he was needed. I am so grateful for the support!

John Peterson, Hamilton School District supervisor of special services, was nominated by a co-worker:

John has shown an incredible amount of compassion and support during a difficult time for our staff. I’m so grateful for the crisis leadership he provided with our district SST and thoughtful communication he supported during this very tragic situation. John showed up and helped with our staff and students and also covered classes to ensure that Katie and I were able to attend David’s services. I’m incredibly grateful for the guidance and support!

Patty Sankey, Silver Spring Intermediate School reading specialist, was nominated by a co-worker:

Patty is incredibly knowledgeable about literacy – every time I talk to her, I feel like I learn something new. I am inspired by her drive to always know more and learn more. She has a lot of knowledge to share and I appreciate her leadership!

Lisa Hauser, Marcy Elementary School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

The Marcy special ed team really appreciates Lisa’s sunny personality and amazing skill in working with our students with autism. She’s a wonderful addition to the team!

Ryan Miller, Hamilton School District manager of information technology, was nominated by a co-worker:

Ryan Miller is super kind, and highly professional, and he always responds promptly to all tech questions. Ryan and all his department team members are incredible support for the whole district. Thank you for all that you do!

Dolly Amoroso, Maple Avenue Elementary School media center paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Dolly completes all the daily myriad library tasks in an exemplary manner that makes the Maple Library a go-to destination for staff and students. Her familiarity with the collection enables her to find good books for staff curricular units of study and to recommend books for students that are of high interest and age and grade-appropriate. Dolly also coordinates the buses, helps out in classrooms, works with individual students, and monitors the lunchroom. Every student knows Mrs. A!

Kira King, Hamilton School District manager of food services, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kira does so much behind the scenes to help students, families, and myself get through this tough year and ensure students are getting what they need. Her positive spirit is contagious and much needed these days. I’m lucky to have her as my employer in my new position.

Stacy Stengel, Hamilton High School associate kitchen employee, was nominated by a co-worker:

Stacy has stepped up daily and helped out wherever we need her. Her hard work is noticed and truly appreciated. She is a great asset to our team.

Nancy Gin, Maple Avenue Elementary School administrative assistant, was nominated by a co-worker:

Nancy Gin is the heart and soul of Maple Avenue School. No one works harder than her to keep the school running smoothly and to keep the Maple community connected. She performs all the myriad school office daily activities in an exemplary manner with grace, enthusiasm, and compassion. Thank you, Nancy, for all that you do to make Maple a better place!

Eileen Swierczek, Maple Avenue Elementary School clerical paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Eileen is the heart and soul of Maple Avenue School. Her welcoming presence in the office, her willingness to do whatever it takes to get a job done, and her ever positive attitude combined with her kindness and compassion, helps her to make a real difference in the lives of staff, students, and the Maple community as a whole. Thank you Eileen for all that you do to make Maple a better place!

Brianne Hill, Maple Avenue Elementary School first grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Brianne is new to Maple and Hamilton District this year, but this veteran educator has already made such a positive impact with her students, their families, and her colleagues. She works extremely hard, is kind and compassionate, and motivated to be the very best she can be. Thank you, Brianne, for all that you do for your first grade learners, to help them continue to grow and thrive both academically and socially.

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

I am new to Marcy and third grade this year. Even though I am the virtual teacher, my third grade team has welcomed me, answered questions, and shared materials. I couldn’t do this job without them.

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

I am new to Marcy and third grade this year. Even though I am the virtual teacher, Marie has welcomed me, answered questions, and shared materials. I couldn’t do this job without her.

Dan Fasula, Marcy Elementary School third grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

I am new to Marcy and third grade this year. Even though I am the virtual teacher, Dan has welcomed me, answered questions, and shared materials. I couldn’t do this job without him.

Bridget Matthiesen, Marcy Elementary School third grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

I am new to Marcy and third grade this year. Even though I am the virtual teacher, Bridget has welcomed me, answered questions, and shared materials. I couldn’t do this job without her.

Celina Pauly, Maple Avenue Elementary School guidance counselor, was nominated by a co-worker:

Celina is Maple’s new Guidance Counselor. Now into her second year, we can’t think of anyone that has had a stronger influence on creating a positive school climate and culture. She immediately connected with Maple students and their families. She wants the very best for our students and her kindness, compassion, and empathetic nature helps to make a real difference in their lives. Celina is also a most trusted and valued colleague! Thank you Celina!

Sara Romant, Maple Avenue Elementary School speech pathologist, was nominated by a co-worker:

Sara is a skilled Speech and Language Pathologist who goes above and beyond her job duties. She is extremely thorough and plans for excellence. I have learned many early childhood best practices from Sara, she is a vital part of our team. Thanks for all you do, Sara, it is much appreciated!

Megan Karabon, Templeton Middle School seventh grade teacher, was nominated by a student:

Because they are a great teacher and very kind.

Aida Kozic, Woodside Elementary School media center paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Aida keeps Woodside Library running smoothly. I could not do my job of supporting three school libraries without her. Aida wears many hats throughout the day juggling different tasks. Besides maintaining the library by checking in and out and shelving thousands of books each week, she has recess, lunch, and bus duties every day. She also subs for classroom teachers. She does this all with kindness and grace and a smile on her face (even through those long, cold recess duties).

Melissa Harbort, Lannon Elementary School media center paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Melissa keeps Lannon Library running smoothly. I could not support three school libraries without her! She juggles many different tasks throughout the school day. Besides checking in and out and shelving thousands of books each week, she laminates, does recess, and bus duties every day. She makes copies for all my 800+ library learners and helps me be prepared for my lessons. Moreover, her creative and fun visual displays around the library keep the students excited and engaged in reading.

Brian Balfany, Lannon Elementary School principal, was nominated by a co-worker:

Brian works so hard and takes care of his #LannFam. He is kind, caring and understanding. I appreciate his flexibility and he is always pushing me to become better.

Kristy Cravillion, Willow Springs Learning Center kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kristy is the most hard-working teacher. She cares deeply about her students and their educational journey. She is a wonderful team member and has helped grow Willow into the program it is today. She is kind, thoughtful and supportive person to work with. I’ve been lucky to work with her for 22 years! She brings joy and sunshine to Willow Springs!

Nathan Klafke, Silver Spring Intermediate School night custodian foreman, was nominated by a co-worker:

Nate has filled in as our head day custodian for the last few months. He has done an amazing job! He stepped in and efficiently and effectively helped keep Marcy moving! He always pitches in to help with whatever is needed and does it with ease! He quickly became a valuable part of our staff. We will miss him when he leaves us this week!

Wendy Horsens, Marcy Elementary School technology integration resource teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

We recently had several pieces of tech equipment become obsolete. Wendy stepped in to help me figure out the equipment and how to continue to produce our Marcy Eagle News without the equipment. She was gracious when I asked for help in figuring out how to fix the equipment. I appreciate her help and expertise!

Elizabeth Sidders, Marcy Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

During the last several months Betsy stepped up to help produce our Marcy Eagle News. During her busy kindergarten days, she found time to help me and train me in how to take this job over. Her knowledge is amazing, but her patience in teaching me was even more amazing. She is committed to making Marcy great and it shows daily!

Laura Busch, Lannon Elementary School technology integration resource teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

During the last several months Betsy stepped up to help produce our Marcy Eagle News. During her busy kindergarten days, she found time to help me and train me in how to take this job over. Her knowledge is amazing, but her patience in teaching me was even more amazing. She is committed to making Marcy great and it shows daily!

Tim Kruschel, Templeton Middle School seventh grade teacher, was nominated by a student:

Really kind and good at math – also explains why things work.

Jenny Ryamn, Hamilton High School science teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Jennifer has been so supportive with one of my English learners, who is still developing English proficiency. Jennifer is attentive to the student’s need with the language, and therefore she suggests solutions such as limiting the number of classroom handouts, in order to ensure learning of the most important concepts without overwhelming the student. Jennifer is open to new ideas, and she is committed to learning of ALL students.

Theresa Craig, Hamilton High School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Theresa is an outstanding teacher, colleague, and mentor. There is so much that I have learned and can continue to learn from her. I am glad to have met her so early on in my career!

Ben Filzen, Templeton Middle School fitness education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Mr. Filzen is collegial, professional and full of positive energy. His commitment to his students and the greater school community is appreciated by all, and he is a valuable member of the Fitness Education department.

Katie Schmanski, Woodside Elementary School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Katie puts her whole soul into bringing out the best in her students. She has a great rapport with her families, and is always willing to try new things to reach her students.

Corey Schoonover, Woodside Elementary School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Corey has the patience of a saint. He sets attainable expectations for his students and encourages them to always do their very best. He tackles the toughest situations with humor, and stands firm when he knows his kids can do something. It is awesome to see the growth the students make under his care and direction.

Beth Lueck, Woodside Elementary School lunchroom supervisor, was nominated by a co-worker:

Beth is always upbeat and pleasant!! Beth is so helpful and goes above and beyond her job every day. I enjoy working with her and having her help getting the kids through the lunch line. Thank you Beth for all your help and being amazing to work with.

Karen Figarino, Woodside Elementary School associate kitchen employee, was nominated by a co-worker:

Karen is amazing and does so much for Woodside. Karen has shown me so much since we lost a kitchen staff member to pursue other job opportunities. She has let me grow and help more in the kitchen to help take care of the kids. Thank you so much Karen!! I look forward to working with you in the kitchen and learning more.

Aaron Dow, Woodside Elementary School head custodian, was nominated by a co-worker:

Aaron is amazing with the kiddos and a big help during lunchtime. Aaron makes work fun and works very hard to get everything done that needs to get done. Thank you so much Aaron.

Penny Monroe, Woodside Elementary School instructional and supervision paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Penny is amazing!!! She does a marvelous job with the kids in the lunch room and is a big help with getting the kids through the lunch line. We work together on helping one another during lunch. I love working with Penny. Thank you so much Penny!!

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

Lori is the epitome of “relational capacity”: Every “remind” she offers to get ready for the day, every “hi” in the work room, to every time a colleague goes to her with questions or concerns. I have had the pleasure of working with Lori in many capacities–as a “roomie,” a peer, and a traveler. I am always amazed at her heart efforts and genuine sincerity in seeing the good in others. My life is better because she is in it :).

Darcy Randall, Silver Spring Intermediate School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Darcy shows up everyday with a mind and heart ready to teach. Special Education has it’s own set of challenges this year and Darcy has handed them like the professional she is. I am lucky to work with and learn from her.
Kim Mechenich, Maple Avenue Elementary School math support, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kim is an extremely supportive and collaborative teacher. She is always willing to lend a helping hand whenever and wherever needed. She jumps in to provide classroom coverage to ensure that our students are provided with quality instruction and that their teachers do not miss their prep time. She has a strong desire to work collaboratively with teachers to help meet the diverse needs of our students. Her commitment to helping ALL students reach proficiency in mathematics is commendable.

Tami Harpster, Maple Avenue Elementary School reading specialist, was nominated by a co-worker:

Tami greets each day with a smile and WE-CAN-DO-IT attitude. She expresses a strong desire to grow people–both teachers and students. She willingly shares ideas and resources and jumps at every opportunity to support or coach a teacher. She is skilled at providing Tier 2 and 3 reading and writing support and is a cheerleader for all Maple Avenue students. Tami will do whatever it takes to help our readers blossom and our school run smoothly!

Barb Seefeldt, Hamilton High School interpreter, was nominated by a co-worker:

Working with you has been so awesome! It has made a such a difference being able to bounce ideas and questions off you related to our field. I will forever be thankful for this time I got to work so closely with you! You are an incredible interpreter and colleague but an even better friend.

Theresa Craig, Hamilton High School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

You rock so much. You stay calm, cool and collected in EVERY sitch! You are amazing with the students and take challenges like a boss. I wish every educator was like you. You truly are in the perfect job bc you are SO good at it.

Joseph Premo, Hamilton High School applied engineering and technology teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Thank you for stopping what you were doing to help me with the plexiglass! You rock and I so enjoyed working with you. You truly are in the perfect job because you are SO good at it!

Laurie Roth, Hamilton School District executive assistant to supervisor of instructional services, was nominated by a co-worker:

As new learning, technology, expectations and new everything else continue to present themselves in this tech-filled world, Laurie has been wonderful with providing triage support, troubleshooting, and providing guidance and workarounds for staff whenever possible. She is facing this newness herself, yet she responds to all situations promptly, and provides step-by-step support. If she doesn’t have an immediate answer she communicates accordingly and seeks support. Thank you, Laurie!

Tim Christman, Silver Spring Intermediate School fifth grade math and science teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Tim is an important asset and a great team player.

Katie Cormican, Marcy Elementary School art teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Katie creates awesome art lessons. My students are so excited about art and they can never wait until Wednesday. They are making connections to our work in class after every art lesson. My students are always excited to see a new art lesson. I always watch it too, and my students always share their art projects with me.

Deb Curtis, Lannon Elementary School custodial staff member, was nominated by a co-worker:

Deb is ALWAYS on her A-Game. I appreciate all the help she willingly offers. We are all so lucky to have her at Lannon! Thank you Deb for everything that you do, you are such a wonderful person inside and out!

Mark Otto, Hamilton High School associate principal and extended learning coordinator, was nominated by a co-worker:

Especially over the past few weeks, Mark has had to wear multiple hats. He’s had to tend to fires, calm storms, and provide guidance along cloudy paths as situations have arisen that were unforeseen. (And he correctly predicted the weather as we headed out for the required January fire drill.)

Kelly Zellner, Silver Spring Intermediate School fifth grade humanities teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kelly puts 110% into her job! She builds wonderful relationships with her students, and her students flourish as a result. Kelly is always willing to help others when they need her. During a time when a coworker is needing to care for her family, Kelly has pitched in to help with planning, grading, and running records. She has a heart that never stops giving. I’m proud to call Kelly my teammate and friend!

Audrey Gauthier, Lannon Elementary School instructional and supervision paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Audrey has done such a remarkable job teaching a second grade class and now a third grade class this school year. She transitions so seamlessly, sets high expectations and is so amazing with the kids. Lannon families and students are so lucky to have you and I am so lucky to work alongside of you! You were made to work with kids!

Jami Binder, Woodside Elementary School special services paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Jami is a master at her position. I always feel like we are working in a partnership when she is supporting students in my room. The kids respect her and work well for her. She pushed the kids to be they best they can be, and is always thinking of new “tricks of the trade” to help the kids get the most out of every activity we do. We are all blessed to have her support!

Sarah Kowalske, Hamilton High School communication arts teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Sarah’s dedication to ALL students is clearly evident through her thoughtfully planned lessons and activities as well as her naturally progressive and inclusive nature. Her flexiblity and willingness to collaborate in order to include students on the Essential Elements as a part of her classroom has made me feel welcome and optimistic about the impactful experiences all students will have this semester and in the future. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with her.

Summer McEvoy, Maple Avenue Elementary School special services paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Summer has established herself as a vital part of our special education team at Maple Avenue. She faces challenging students and situations with a positive attitude and has a very caring demeanor. Summer will take initiative during down time and will always help out where needed. Summer’s uplifting energy is evident and she has a bright future working with young people ahead of her. Thanks Summer!

Mary Caucutt, Templeton Middle School seventh grade teacher, was nominated by students:

She’s very enthusiastic about teaching science and social studies.

I nominated Mrs. Caucutt because she always makes learning more fun and happier. She always has a smile on her face and is always laughing. Especially with all this craziness that is happening right now she is the happiest person I have ever seen.

I am nominating Mrs. Caucutt for the Hamilton High Five for many reasons. For one she has one of the happiest spirits I know. Even if it is not the best day she is able to bring a smile to my face. She is also very hardworking, even while teaching during the week and I admire her perseverance in getting her doctorate and multitasking. But what I feel is the most important thing of all, is that she teaches us facts outside what the curriculum expects her to teach us. For these reasons and more.

She works very hard to teach the class and I. She is serious about teaching but also has time for some good jokes.

Because she is a really funny, super hardworking person.

Megan Karabon, Templeton Middle School seventh grade teacher, was nominated by students:

She is a fantastic teacher. She always helps you when you need it and she is not only a teacher but a friend. She always brings the best out of us all.

Mrs. Karabon is an amazing teacher. She makes us want to learn. She teaches so passionately that it makes us students enthusiastic about the subject. She also encourages us to be our best writers and our best selves.

Because she is a hardworking, optimistic person.

Timothy Kruschel, Templeton Middle School seventh grade teacher, was nominated by students:

I am nominating him because he is truly a great person. He knows what to say to brighten your day. Even though he is a teacher he is a great friend. He always makes us all laugh, especially with his cheesy dad jokes, and sometimes you need a cheesy dad joke to make your day just a lot better.

He is one of the nicest teachers that I have ever had, and he is really good at what he does. His lessons are not confusing, and he makes them fun. He tells lots of interesting stories and makes funny dad-jokes. They aren’t half bad, but we don’t often tell him. He is, all in all, a great teacher. I’ll be sad to leave his class at the end of the year.

I am nominating Mr. Kruschel because he puts maximum effort into everything he does and brings joy to virtual learning. He is always prepared and his classes are always fun, they have an amount of humor that doesn’t take away from the topic he is teaching. However, he also cares about each student of a personal level, and is always open to talk to during our personal conferences. He loves sharing stories, but also listening to them. Overall, he just makes me feel like I belong in his classes.

Because they work hard and clearly care about their students learning and improving. They always have a positive attitude and make class fun.

Because he is a fun-loving, helping person.

Kelly Flanagan, Marcy Elementary School third grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kelly helped me set up an online program for my virtual students. She did this in the middle of completing her report cards, which is a very busy time. She really knows how to put kids first.