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Hamilton High Five Past Recipients

HH5LogoHere are previous Hamilton High Five recipients nominated by colleagues, parents and students.

Lisa Benishek, Templeton grade 7 teacher, was nominated by a student:

Because she helped me with being successful.

Sarah Pichler, Templeton special education teacher, was nominated by a student:

Because she helped me with everything with clamming down and helping me on my homework and I think that she is a nominee.

Katie Bernard, Maple Avenue grade 4 teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Katie’s fourth grade classroom is such a special place. Over the course of a year, students can be intrigued by lifelike models of reptiles, witness root vegetables grow, and even watch baby quails and chicks hatch from eggs. I love peeking in! Our students are so lucky to learn from her.

Katie Wetzel, Templeton grade 7 teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Thank you so much Katie for asking hard, honest questions throughout the TMS schedule revision process. I appreciate it so much that we respect each other enough to be brave and not afraid to push one another. I welcome the push back, it helps me continue to think through things and continue to search for best practices for our students. I think you are amazing!

Deanna Budney, Hamilton High social studies teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Deanna is an amazing teacher in so many aspects: caring and patient interactions with students, staff, and parents; using various ways of teaching and content delivery; vulnerability to recognize when something is not going by the plan, and tweaking the lesson with flexibility to ensure success for all students; addressing students’ SEL needs, each student’s learning pace; and building up new learning concepts on students’ strengths etc.

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

Eileen is kind, easy to talk to, and always going the extra mile to help make special projects happen with our students. This year alone, she helped prepare hundreds of pieces of artwork for display in our Art Crawl and arranged for special artworks to be given to patients at the VA hospital in honor of Memorial Day. I feel so fortunate to work with her!

Jack McCaigue, District technology support specialist, was nominated by a co-worker:

Whenever I do anything dumb to my computer, or have a really uneducated question or problem, he always patiently leads me through the process or fixes my issue. Always patient, never short with me. I appreciate all of his IT knowledge.

Amanda Fields, Hamilton High business education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Amanda is a ‘Rock Star’ on multiple levels—the amazing amount of time she spends helping students achieve success in and out (DECA AWARDS—AMAZING) AND she gives up her own prep time to help ‘tech dinosaurs’. Her willingness to share websites, procedures, and insights—impressive.

Kristi DeJong, Silver Spring grade 6 humanities teacher, was nominated by a parent:

Ms. DeJong has made a huge impact in reading for my daughter. My daughter never really had a love for reading until she became Ms. DeJong’s student. She is now so excited to talk books with me and loves to tell me what books I should read next. I am so grateful that my daughter had you as a teacher this year. Thank you, Ms. DeJong!

Kristy Laurich, Silver Spring grade 6 mathematics & science teacher, was nominated by a parent:

Ms. Laurich has really helped my daughter gain confidence this year in math. She is always telling me what fun activities they are doing in math class. She says that Ms. Laurich is so helpful and encouraging. I am so grateful that my daughter had Ms. Laurich as a teacher this year. Thank you, Ms. Laurich!

Becky Buchholz, Woodside teacher, was nominated by a parent:

Mrs. Buchholz has gone above and beyond to help her students navigate the challenge of having a new teacher in the middle of the school year. She has been such a positive influence on my son. Her communication to parents has been wonderful! We are so fortunate that she stepped in and took on this challenge. Thank you, Mrs. Buchholz!

Martha Burns, District human resources generalist, was nominated by a co-worker:

Martha is simply amazing. She is responsive, helpful, forgiving, patient, and wonderful to work with. I never feel apprehensive or nervous to reach out with a question and Martha always seems to either have the answer or help guide me to find it. I appreciate all you do, Martha, to support our schools behind the scenes!

Susan Moll, District executive assistant to the superintendent and assistant board clerk, was nominated by a co-worker:

Sue willingly gave of her time as I looked for information. She asked critical questions which allowed me to determine a course of action. She is principled and understands the need for honest communication.

Kathy Rose, Hamilton High applied engineering and technology teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

I am super grateful for Kathy’s ability and flexibility to implement recommended strategies, and tools in order to ensure learning for our shared English learner (with an IEP also). Kathy has a big heart, and she always shows up ready to go the extra mile for all her students. Kathy is great for collaboration as well, because she does not wait for you to show up, she reaches out with any questions, and makes things tailored to student’s needs, so they can still thrive in a very tech environment.

David Dybdahl, Hamilton High special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

David actively includes all team members in IEP decisions, and he always puts our shared students’ best interests as priority. In addition, David is calm and super friendly, and acts with integrity. All these factors contribute to successful collaboration with David.

Jacque Gorski, Hamilton High library media specialist, was nominated by a co-worker:

Jacque is our staff member that works behind the scenes, and I wanted to recognize her, because she is super reliable with her tech knowledge, and she gets things done in no time. Jacque also assisted me in finding a NHS tutor who helped an EL student with geometry.

Jenifer Maier, Silver Spring grade 6 humanities teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

We all know that Jeni Maier has so many wonderful attributes, both as a person and teacher, but for this opportunity I would like to recognize her dedication and time-commitment for one-on-one support for students who struggle, or have missing homework. Jeni finds the way to connect with these students and ensure they get their homework done. Jeni communicates in a timely manner about missing work with support teachers, which makes collaboration more successful for the sake of the student.

Dawn Braun, Hamilton High special services paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Dawn is always willing to jump in to help students. She takes notes and does the assignment so that she is able to answer questions and lead groups. She provides copies of notes for ANY student who is absent and assists with modifying homework. Students are more successful because of her willingness to always give her all to help any student. Thank you for all your efforts in Algebra B!

Kristine Winters, Hamilton High mathematics teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Thank you so much for your tremendous work on the math boot camp this year. It is so exciting to see big change made that is so positive for the students. I appreciate it so much! Your team has done tremendous, hard work this year! Thank you!

Joe Sciortino, Hamilton High mathematics teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Thank you so much for your tremendous work on the math boot camp this year. It is so exciting to see big change made that is so positive for the students. I appreciate it so much! Your team has done tremendous, hard work this year! Thank you!

Kelly Meyer, Hamilton High mathematics teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Thank you so much for your tremendous work on the math boot camp this year. It is so exciting to see big change made that is so positive for the students. I appreciate it so much! Your team has done tremendous, hard work this year! I am really going to miss working with you. You are an amazing educator and advocate for the students.

John Damato, Hamilton High fitness education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

John has shown exceptional leadership, kindness, and empathy and sensitivity to all staff who are involved in the area of middle and high school athletics within the Hamilton School District.

Derek Malcore, Hamilton High art teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Mr. Malcore’s flexibility and support with our exceptional students is absolutely amazing. The culture of acceptance and inclusion in his class demonstrates the true values and beliefs of the school district. I cannot express how much I appreciate his kindness, knowledge, and involvement in the success of all students. Thank you!
Kelly Schroeder, District educational services administrative assistant, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kelly joined our Ed Services/HR Team less than a year ago and has made so many positive contributions to the way our department works and in building relationships with her new co-workers. Her thoughtfulness and kind nature is greatly appreciated by all she comes in contact with. Kelly also can see the ‘big picture’ and offers suggestions and solutions to help streamline our processes. I couldn’t ask for a better teammate.

Ann Wodarczak, Lannon Elementary administrative assistant, was nominated by a co-worker:

Ann is a positive force within our school. She is both cheerful and inviting. Students, families and staff are eagerly welcomed when passing by the office. Ann develops impactful connections with children. She is also professional and respectful of others. She is both skilled and efficient at her job. The Lannfam is lucky to have her as part of our team.

Rebecca Ribar, Templeton Middle psychologist, was nominated by a co-worker:

Dr. Ribar recently dealt with an issue and was able to clarify with parents what the child needed, and did so with ease. Thank you!

Tammy Ferrell, Templeton Middle bookkeeper and supervision paraprofessional, was nominated by co-workers:

Tammy’s ability to organize all of the budget forms and requests is amazing. She is a rock star! Thank you Tammy for all that you do for us.

Tammy has been working hard to make sure all teams and departments have everything they need this year. The last few weeks, she has been getting in supply orders, and organizing the MANY boxes full of orders to make sure all teachers have what they need. Thank you, Tammy!

Karen Zielinski, Templeton Middle grade 8 teacher, was nominated by a parent:

My son, who struggles with school, loves coming to Mrs. Zielinski’s math and advisement everyday. He comes home and talks about things he has learned or things she has said daily. Mrs. Zielinski is a very positive influence on my son. He looks up to her and respects her. She is the first teacher he has really been excited about! Wish we could bring her along to high school!

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

Brecken is a dedicated and passionate educator. She is highly collaborative and a great team player. Brecken is always willing to help out and is very dependable. She cares deeply about her students. I feel fortunate to work with such a talented, selfless, and kind colleague. Thank you for always going out of your way for your students and colleagues!

Denise McKennon, Templeton Middle clerical and guidance paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Denise went above and beyond to help me with a student project I have been working on. I appreciate her thoughtfulness and confidentiality in the matter. Her teamwork is so very appreciated. She is always going above and beyond to do what is right for students.

Tim Cunningham, Templeton Middle grade 7 teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Thank you Tim for helping out 7 White. We appreciate your favor!

Megan Karabon, Templeton Middle grade 7 teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Thank you Megan for helping out 7 White. We appreciate your favor!

Lauren Picado, Templeton Middle grade 7 teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Thank you Lauren for helping out 7 White. We appreciate your favor!

Lisa Benishek, Templeton Middle grade 7 teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Thank you Lisa for helping out 7 White. We appreciate your favor!

Eileen Swierczek, Maple Avenue Elementary clerical paraprofessional, was nominated by a parent:

Whenever I am at Maple to volunteer, pick up or drop off my child, Mrs. S. is always a welcoming, happy staff member who truly seems to love her job and the kiddos she works with. From helping open car doors in the pouring rain to helping put a Band-Aid on a scraped knee, she never misses a beat. We are so thankful to her for helping make everything run smoothly at Maple!

Katie Gliesner, Lannon Elementary K5 teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Katie has been an amazing co-worker to collaborate with this year! Whether it be connecting mindful activities to the gym or working together to help students in need. She rocks!

Callie Lauer, Silver Spring Intermediate grade 5 humanities teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Callie is an incredible educator. She gives 100% of herself each day and wants the very best for every student. Callie is committed to her own learning and demonstrates a genuine desire for continued growth for herself, her students, and the teams she serves with. We are fortunate to have Callie in our community at SSI!

Carrie Maxwell, Hamilton High science teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Carrie is an amazing, innovative teacher. She goes above and beyond in the classroom to get her students learning!

Leanne Wied, Hamilton High math teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Leanne is the consummate professional. She ALWAYS is on top of her game, no matter what is on her plate. When required to proctor standardized tests, she reads the associated manuals in advance to have questions ready/issues addressed. She thoughtfully approaches situations and is ALWAYS willing to offer advice as to how to word a response, craft a question, plan for an activity, or approach an individual. We are very fortunate to have her at HHS—especially in the math department.

Kristin Hasbrook, Hamilton High school and AODA counselor, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kristin willingly shares her time—she has spoken to our Future Educators Club Members as they look toward a career in education. She has allowed me to run ideas past her (and she’s even looked at documents) as I contemplate activities in my classroom. Kristin is positive and works to promote healthy and fun activities to promote “TEAM” among staff members.

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

Heather goes above and beyond to support students and fellow staff members on a daily basis.

Brianne Hill, Maple Avenue Elementary grade 1 teacher, was nominated by a parent:

Mrs. Hill goes above and beyond with providing her class unique learning experiences. After her class tried to prank her with fake cockroaches on April Fool’s Day, she brought in real cockroaches for the kids to learn about and study! The kids were in amazement! They had so much fun! She made it such an awesome, hands-on learning experience. The kids won’t soon forget this!

Lisa Strauss, Templeton Middle fitness education teacher, was nominated by co-workers:

Lisa has done a great job with coordinating Hoops for Heart and also the Ability Center. It is greatly appreciated and a wonderful way to engage students in different ways.

Lisa always makes me feel like a valued member of any team. She is helpful and thoughtful and keeps the best interests of students in mind.

Sara Lemke, Templeton Middle French teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Sara saved my sanity by going out of her way to help me out. She is the best!

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

Brian deserves MORE than a HIGH FIVE but he is too humble to believe so. He NEVER stops helping anyone and everyone inside AND outside this building. HE EVEN DRIVES A SCHOOL BUS!!! He has gone above and beyond his title.
Anita Paque, Silver Spring Intermediate library media specialist, was nominated by a co-worker:

Anita is a wonderful resource for our staff and students. She quietly supports and leads and always adds so much value to every project she is a part of. Teachers are always sharing ways that Anita has supported them in the classroom and her management of the library is amazing. We are so lucky to have Anita here in our community!

Karen Zielinski, Templeton Middle grade 8 teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

For doing a great job with organizing our field trip.

Lisa Benishek, Templeton Middle grade 7 teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Lisa is a fantastic team player and someone who is always willing to lend a hand. I have enjoyed our time collaborating and working together.

Cristina McCaffery, Templeton Middle administrative assistant, was nominated by a co-worker:

Cristina is so busy, but she goes out of her way to help staff, students, and parents. She has helped out with logistics for our house.

Mike Figueroa, Templeton Middle custodial night foreman, was nominated by a co-worker:

Mike is doing great work in his new role on day shift at TMS. The building looks great and he is quick to help whenever a student or staff member needs it.

Shannon Becker, Templeton Middle grade 7 teacher, was nominated by co-workers:

Shannon is extremely hard-working and helpful. She is a great team player and always willing to lend a helping hand.

Shannon has put a ton of work into ordering new books and weeding out old books in order to create an ample book room for TMS staff and students.

Kris Gardipee, Templeton Middle special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kris has coordinated several activities for students that have been super engaging and collaborative. Her door is always open to listen, provide honest feedback, and share her ideas and wealth of experience.

Brad Hoffmann, Templeton Middle principal, was nominated by a co-worker:

I appreciate the openness for teamwork when working on the TMS schedule. It is incredibly hard work. Thank you so much!

Niki O’Connor, Templeton Middle secondary instructional coach, was nominated by a co-worker:

Niki has done a phenomenal job this year with helping to lead our leadership team at TMS and work on being an active problem solver. She continues to help me grow as a leader, and I appreciate all she does to help us move forward as a building.

Janelle Fleisner, Templeton Middle health room paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Janelle keeps track of so many students’ health and medical needs. She encounters students when they are not feeling their best, leaving class for meds, and making bunches of phone calls a day. Thank you for all you do!

Tammy Ferrell, Templeton Middle bookkeeper and supervision paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Tammy has gone out of her way to make sure I get my checks for Forensics meets even if I give her the invoice late.

Misty Draeger, Hamilton High communication arts teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Misty went above and beyond to help me with ACT planning. She volunteered her own time to help me demo the online program. Testing went very well and she helped make that happen. She is a wonderful co-worker and I am grateful to work with her.

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

I could not have a better colleague to bounce ideas off, collaborate with, and prep with on a daily basis! Barb is highly professional and makes our field look good! I am very lucky to have her to work with and vent to, and knowing she ‘gets it’ makes her amazing. Because there are only two of us in the whole district, I sure am glad the other one is Barb!

Lauren Ullmann, Templeton Middle fitness education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Lauren was amazing and stepped in to help out with the 8th grade volleyball team this year. Your positive attitude, dedication, and willingness to be a team player are much appreciated! Thank you!