Resources Navigation

Home  →  Hamilton High Five  →  January High Five Nominations

January High Five Nominations

Amy Hilgenberg, Woodside Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Amy loves her students! She is the nurturing, kind, patient, and loving teacher that every student deserves.

Courtney Klein, Woodside Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Courtney is one of the most patient and loving teachers I know. She sets high (but appropriate) expectations for her little learners, and does everything in her power to help them achieve their goals and love kindergarten. She makes everyone around her smile, just by being herself.

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

Penny Monroe has the title of an instructional paraprofessional, but she does so much more for the students and staff of Woodside on a daily basis. Penny helps with instruction, oversees our morning and afternoon bus system, runs the lunchroom every day, is the lead staff member on our Sunshine Committee, etc. The list goes on and on! Woodside is a great place to work and learn and Penny is a huge reason for our successes.

Margy Supa, Woodside Elementary School third grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker and a parent:

When I think of the person who best represents positivity on a daily basis as an educator at Woodside, Margy Supa is at the top of the list. Margy is someone I and her colleagues can count on to always have a smile on her face. She is a willing leader and contributor to building and District initiatives on a yearly basis. Margy Supa represents the best of what makes Hamilton great.

Mrs. Supa has inspired a love of learning, especially reading, in our daughter. This year has presented with unique challenges for students and teachers. Mrs. Supa navigated in person and emergency remote learning seamlessly and kept students connected to her and the class when they were at home. Audrey loves going to school every day, is sharing stories about all she is learning from Mrs. Supa and most importantly, feels loved by her amazing teacher. Thank you, Mrs. Supa!!

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

Aida is always stepping in to help in other classrooms. She helps cover our classes when we have other obligations or no sub. The best part is she is always cheerful about it and continues to offer to help!

Missy Heckman, Woodside Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Missy has been so helpful this year covering classrooms when teachers have other obligations or no sub. On top of that she has been coming in my room as another helping hand for some of my kids and the extra math support they need. She is always cheerful to top it off!

Julie Greenwald, Marcy Elementary School fourth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Julie has been a great coworker – I am thankful to have such a kind and supportive teammate 🙂

Aaron Greenwald, Woodside Elementary School fourth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Aaron has been such a great coworker – ready to share and support me with resources and new ideas!

Kerry Fischer, Lannon Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kerry has been such an amazing paraprofessional and friend while we are navigating all the ins and outs of virtual learning. I am so thankful to have your support – you have incredible patience!

Kristi Last, Marcy Elementary School media center paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kristi Last is the heart and soul of the Marcy Library. Kristi’s passion for everything library from creating spectacular fiction and nonfiction signage, to repairing damaged books, getting new books shelf ready, pulling books for teachers, shelving books, honoring book holds, communicating with staff, students, and their parents when necessary, and implementing daily COVID-19 safety procedures is second to none. Thank you Kristi!

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

Karen goes above and beyond for the students at Woodside. She makes lunch a special experience for everyone in her line. The serving window is always decorated for each season, which she does on her own time, using her own supplies. She is passionate about her job and makes lunch time the best part of the day for all students! Woodside staff and students are lucky to have Karen in their building.

John Chavie, Hamilton School District substitute cleaner, was nominated by a co-worker:

John is such a kind and dependable person. He works diligently at Silver Spring to help reduce the spread of COVID and other illness. I truly appreciate the added measure of protection he quietly provides every day for SSI students and all of us who work here.

Jen Knapp, Hamilton High School speech pathologist, was nominated by a parent:

I am so impressed with the dedication and caring Jen shows to her students! She has a genuine spirit to help all who are assigned to her and I would like everyone to know what an asset this teacher is in the Hamilton School District! Thank you for making a difference in my son. You are truly appreciated!

Joseph Schaeffler, Silver Spring Intermediate School head custodian, was nominated by a co-worker:

Joe is always ready and willing to help out in any situation that comes up! The students and staff count on him to keep Silver Spring a safe, clean, and POSITIVE school. His hard work and kindness are very appreciated.

John Schaeffler, Templeton Middle School custodial staff member, was nominated by a co-worker:

He was cleaning the floor in the lobby and shut the gym door so the kids doing yoga wouldn’t be distracted by the noise of the machine.

Susan Schramka, Woodside Elementary School math support, was nominated by a co-worker:

Susan Schramka is a dynamic educator and colleague on a daily basis at Woodside. While math support teacher is her “official” role, Susan takes it upon herself to be one of the biggest cheerleaders for her students and colleagues. Her sense of humor and enthusiasm for math are greatly appreciated by the families of Woodside.

Helen Geracie, Hamilton High School guidance counselor, was nominated by a co-worker:

Helen (and all of the guidance counselors at HHS) have had six-plus weeks of chaos—from trying to schedule students as they leave HHS face-to-face instruction and move to a virtual learning model (and vice versa), to balancing class sizes, to reworking students’ schedules due to failures or personal struggles. They have dealt with students, staff, and parents who did not always give them grace. In this world of craziness, they have maintained their sanity and guided MANY.

Tricia Rigg, Hamilton High School guidance counselor, was nominated by a co-worker:

Tricia (and all of the guidance counselors at HHS) have had six-plus weeks of chaos—from trying to schedule students as they leave HHS face-to-face instruction and move to a virtual learning model (and vice versa), to balancing class sizes, to reworking students’ schedules due to failures or personal struggles. They have dealt with students, staff, and parents who did not always give them grace. In this world of craziness, they have maintained their sanity and guided MANY.

David Johnson, Hamilton High School guidance counselor, was nominated by a co-worker:

Dave (and all of the guidance counselors at HHS) have had six-plus weeks of chaos—from trying to schedule students as they leave HHS face-to-face instruction and move to a virtual learning model (and vice versa), to balancing class sizes, to reworking students’ schedules due to failures or personal struggles. They have dealt with students, staff, and parents who did not always give them grace. In this world of craziness, they have maintained their sanity and guided MANY.

Kristin Hasbrook, Hamilton High School guidance and AODA counselor, was nominated by co-worker:

Kristin (and all of the guidance counselors at HHS) have had six-plus weeks of chaos—from trying to schedule students as they leave HHS face-to-face instruction and move to a virtual learning model (and vice versa), to balancing class sizes, to reworking students’ schedules due to failures or personal struggles. They have dealt with students, staff, and parents who did not always give them grace. In this world of craziness, they have maintained their sanity and guided MANY.

Kim Weber, Lannon Elementary School reading specialist, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kim’s advocacy for literacy learning brings great value to Lannon. She accounts for teacher needs in the classroom, interventionist needs for effective servicing, and her flexibility enables our team to provide our students with maximum support. Kim recognizes and celebrates growth yet is always thinking about next steps for learning. Beyond her literacy role Kim takes on any challenge presented to her.

Collen Engel, Willow Springs Learning Center administrative assistant, was nominated by a co-worker:

Willow Springs would be lost without Mrs. Engel! She is willing to drop anything to help, even if she’s in the middle of her own work. If she doesn’t know the answer, she will do the research to help in any situation. Colleen is consistent, reliable, honest, & unbelievably funny. I will seek her out when I need a smile. She is often the first point of contact for families who begin the Hamilton journey, and she handles this crucial job with the perfect mix of professionalism & warmth.

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

Katie Foy has consistently been the person I can count on to help bounce ideas off of and gives me pep talks when needed. She is always there looking out for the best interest of our students and staff. She thinks outside the box and I am looking forward to learning more from her.

Mary Zander, Hamilton High School Social Studies teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

In general, Mary is providing our students with authentic curriculum that presents complex content within a functional framework. Specifically, Mary maintained this high quality learning by utilizing staff support and student specific accommodations so that a student with language and learning deficits was able to successfully express an educated viewpoint during a debate about congressional oversight hearings. This type of insightful inclusion is what will help us close the gap!

Jenni Zuberbuehler, Hamilton High School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Jenni is one of the most intuitive people who not only understands what is needed for each student academically, but also emotionally. There have been countless times when I have had concerns alleviated singlehandedly by knowing that Jenni is supporting in the classroom. Despite her vast knowledge and experience, she still maintains a humble advocacy that makes it so easy to seek her out for feedback. I am beyond grateful for her help every day!

Jelena Kapetanovic, Hamilton High School English as a second language teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

I was in a significant rut towards the middle of first semester due to a variety of personal and professional reasons. Jelena began sharing ideas, new things she had learned and questions which rekindled some of my old goals. She is always so complimentary, but I need her to realize that it was HER passion that reignited my spark! I am grateful every day for her continual drive to foster self actualization in our students. Thank you for helping me remember what is most important!

Lisa Merritt, Silver Spring Intermediate School special education teacher, was nominated by two co-workers:

Lisa is an incredible member of our SSI community. She remains student-centered regardless of the stress and pressure of circumstances and is always willing to support teammates in need. Lisa is a positive member of every team she serves and communicates clearly with others. Lisa’s passion for student success is seen in everything she does. We are so grateful to have her on our team!

Lisa is committed, collaborative and a leader in our schools. She is a team player who is always willing to support those around her. Lisa has taken on and found solutions to difficult student situations all while maintaining a positive attitude and student-centered thinking. We are lucky to have Lisa in our district.

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

Callie’s big heart and generous spirit are such a gift to those around her. She consistently goes above and beyond to learn and grow while always looking for ways to support others. During this time when a teammate is experiencing a family crisis, Callie has rallied the troops and ensured that students experience high levels of learning while her teammate feels support and comfort knowing her students are taken care of. We are so lucky to have Callie on this team!

Cheryl Johnson, Silver Spring Intermediate School social worker, was nominated by a co-worker:

Cheryl consistently serves our SSI community with compassion and professionalism. She is a valued teammate to those around her and always remains hopeful and student-centered in each situation. Cheryl’s presence brings calmness and clarity to complex situations and she adds incredible value with each interaction. We are so lucky to have Cheryl on our team!

Kirsten Schlaman, Woodside Elementary School guidance counselor, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kirsten Schlaman is everything a school and its students could imagine in a guidance counselor. She is nurturing, student-centered, collaborative, relational, and willing to go the “extra mile” to support our school community. Not only that, but she has a great sense of humor! I am very thankful to have her a part of our Woodside leadership team!

Keith Griebler, Maple Avenue Elementary School head custodian, was nominated by a co-worker:

Keith has been a great addition to the Maple Avenue team. He is a very hard worker, conscientious, and always willing to take on any task in a timely manner.
Kris Scott, Woodside Elementary School administrative assistant, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kris Scott has been a valuable resource and office partner in helping staff, students, and parents at Woodside this year. Her interactions are positive, empathetic, and provide humor when it is needed. I am very thankful Kris Scott is a member of the Woodside office team. We meet the needs of of school community better because of her!

Tanya Simonis, Woodside Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Tanya Simonis has been willing to go above and beyond her job description to meet the needs of our school community this year. She is a positive voice and has a positive attitude on even the most stressful of days. Tanya has stepped in to help teachers in the classroom on a moment’s notice and has also been a daily support to our students with special needs. I am very grateful she is a member of our Woodside office team!

Marianne Baker, Lannon Elementary School fourth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Marianne is so supportive of her team and her students. She works hard to make sure all students are reaching their goals and seeing their growth!

Chris Hunkins, Lannon Elementary School fourth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Chris checks in with his team members every day to make sure we have the things we need as well as to make sure we are doing well. He supports us (team) by lending an ear, ideas, and help.

Briel Brugger, Lannon Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Briel works hard to make sure her students are getting what they need and more. She is attentive to colleague needs as well – she is a great resource and support system! Thanks Briel 🙂

Josh Neary, Hamilton High School fitness education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Josh is an exceptional teacher who is a pleasure to work alongside!! He has a very positive outlook on life and always seems to be in a great mood. Josh is easy to collaborate with and brings new ideas to the table on a regular basis. Watching him teach dance has been my favorite part of the school year:) Most importantly, Josh builds strong relationships with our students here at HHS even though he travels to 3 schools every day. His students & athletes (he coaches multiple sports) love him.

Ashley Pfeifer, Templeton Middle School seventh grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Ashley has gone above and beyond her role as a teacher this year (and in previous years) to provide technology to support to the teachers and students at Templeton. Her calm and positive demeanor as she demonstrates new technology tools, helps to troubleshoot technology issues, and willingness to plan and lead professional development around a variety of technology topics, makes her an invaluable asset to the TMS and district staff!

Becky Vaughn, Woodside Elementary School art teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Becky Vaughn took on the responsibility of mentoring a student teacher during the 2020-21 school year in addition to meeting the needs of her in-person students at Woodside and Lannon AND supporting virtual students as well! I am very appreciative of Becky’s efforts at Woodside and her support for future educators.

Rayelle Simonsen, Woodside Elementary School third grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Rayelle Simonsen has been a model of how to navigate emergency remote learning and in-person teaching during the 2020-21 school year. With great enthusiasm, she was the first teacher at Woodside to “livestream” her students into the classroom. Students at home were active, engaged daily and excited to continue to feel an important part of the class community. Parents were highly impressed with and thankful to Rayelle for going above and beyond for her students.

Kara Rosenthanl, Silver Spring Intermediate School media center paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kara is an exceptional employee, teammate, and person. Our library is a place students and staff love to come. The library space is inviting, organized, and vibrant thanks to the care the library team puts into their work. Kara treats each person she meets with warmth and kindness. No matter how busy she is with handling all the books and technology, she always puts people first. Her thoughtful nature and big heart are something we are grateful for at SSI!

Anita Paque, Silver Spring Intermediate School library media specialist, was nominated by a co-worker:

Anita is exceptional at being a library media specialist and truly one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I have ever met. Her empathy and consideration for what students and staff need is evident in every decision she makes. Anita adds an incredible amount of value to our building. She is very in tune with the media needs of our building and creates a library space, both physically and digitally, that is welcoming, user friendly, and inspiring. So grateful for her!

Katie Kasper, Woodside Elementary School English as a second language teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

I have the privilege of hearing Katie Kasper work with our English language learners on a weekly basis at Woodside. Katie has such enthusiasm for the work she does with her students. In addition, it is truly evident she cares for each of her students and shows through her kindness and patience how important relationships are to her in helping the students feel valued. Katie is great for kids!

Nikki Hammer, Hamilton High School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Nikki is a constant sounding board for best practices for all students in the classroom. She works endlessly to ensure that not only the special education students, but also my regular education students get extra support if they need it because she is a science specialist as well as a special education teacher. Her work is appreciated greatly.

Patrick Curtis, Hamilton High School custodial staff member, was nominated by a co-worker:

Patrick was not only a student at HHS but also is a current member of the HHS family. He is a friendly individual who takes pride in his work and is always willing to address the needs of the staff. Compassionate and caring, Patrick appreciates the role of education in the lives of students, and his contributions benefit the well-being of all who enter HHS.

Cheryl Schroeder, Hamilton High School publications paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Cheryl has been a dedicated member of the HHS family and an empathetic friend of many. She is always willing to help, and oftentimes, she goes above and beyond to demonstrate professionalism and pride in the final product. Her keen sense of humor and compassion are ingredients offered in every visit, making a regular day that much better!

Tracey Edmond, Woodside Elementary School speech-language pathologist, was nominated by a co-worker:

Tracey Edmond brings a very positive and child-centered approach to her role as a speech pathologist at Woodside. She treats every child with warmth and builds strong relationships with students and families. We are thankful she has been a member of our Woodside staff the past couple years.

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

Jen Butscher has stepped up this year to support her first grade team in a variety of ways. I am so thankful to her for the time and energy she has been willing to give daily above and beyond what is expected of her. When you look up the definition of a “team player” you would see a picture of Jen!

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

Kristin Enoch has stepped up this year to support her first grade team in a variety of ways. I am so thankful to her for the time and energy she has been willing to give daily above and beyond what is expected of her. In addition, Kristin has done an awesome job welcoming and supporting new students throughout the year!

Mandy Desmarais, Woodside Elementary School first grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Mandy Desmarais has stepped up this year to support her first grade team in a variety of ways. I am so thankful to her for the time and energy she has been willing to give daily above and beyond what is expected of her. I also appreciate Mandy’s positive energy and thoughtfulness as a professional!

Becky McGinley, Woodside Elementary School first grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Becky McGinley has stepped up this year to support her first grade team in a variety of ways. I am so thankful to her for the time and energy she has been willing to give daily above and beyond what is expected of her. In addition, Becky has received very positive feedback from parents who are SO thankful for all she does for the students. Great job, Becky!

Stephanie Donnelly, Silver Spring Intermediate School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Steph is a joy to work with and we are blessed to have her here at Sliver Spring Intermediate. She always comes in with a positive attitude that rubs off on the students she works with. Steph always gets the most out of the people she works with.

Cindy Stemper, Maple Avenue Elementary School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Cindy has been such a supportive co-worker since I came onto the Special Education Team this year. She is an excellent leader and helped our program get through a very difficult transition period. Cindy has been thoughtful with her advice and support. She’s a dedicated team player and I feel lucky to work with her.
Phyllis Frittitta, Lannon Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Phyllis is an integral part of our Lannon Family. All in one day, she is able to handle all of the office responsibilities, substitute in a classroom, and monitor the lunchroom and recess hours. Most important is her love for children. She is often sitting side by side with children helping them learn in a caring and nurturing manner. Lannon values her positivity that she brings to our learning environment.

Kevin Becker, Hamilton High School custodian night foreman, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kevin does whatever it takes to make sure the building is ready for students, teachers, and guests. He is our Head Night Custodian and not only exceeds expectations for his job responsibilities, but is someone I look forward to “bumping into” before I leave in the afternoon. Kevin always greets me with a smile, takes genuine interest in the community he serves, and has high professional standards. We are lucky to have him at HHS!

Whitney Roth, Hamilton School District curriculum specialist, was nominated by a parent because:

As a curriculum specialist for the virtual program she helped my daughter get set up for her Apex classes. She went above and beyond when my daughter was having issues by talking with me, guidance counselors and administrators to get our issues resolved. I can not thank her enough for all of her help and urgency when we needed advice and guidance!

Murrene Payton, Hamilton High School social worker, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Murrene consistently goes above and beyond for students in our district. She has partnered with food services to ensure that our students with the most severe needs are taken care of. She has personally delivered items to homes of students in our district, on her own time. Murrene is a very special person with a heart for others. Students and staff are lucky to have her in the Hamilton School District.

Caitlin Schiffer, Silver Spring Intermediate School sixth grade humanities teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

For her dedication to her students.

Liz Rose, Silver Spring Intermediate School administrative assistant, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Liz has been a tremendous help during this time and a point person for our contact tracing. She is efficient and quickly thinks through systems and processes in order to communicate with students, staff, and families. Liz has very strong skills in the area of digital organization and can quickly access information from multiple sources while integrating knowledge of our people & systems in the building. We are so grateful for her consistent hard work in our front office!

Sara Gale, Maple Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Mrs. Gale has been very welcoming to me as a new employee and has graciously shared so many of her personal resources. I know I can always go to Sara with any questions and concerns and she will go out of her way to help me. She is also an inspirational teacher and I have already learned so much from her.

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

We are so lucky to have Aaron here at Woodside. He is always willing to try and fill our requests and problem-solve to make things work better here. He is so friendly and does a great job of keeping this place going!

William Hahn, Woodside Elementary School custodial staff member, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Bill is just a great guy. He does his job with a smile on his face and never complains when we need to ask him for anything. He’s gone above and beyond to keep our rooms clean this year especially.

Teresa Karrels, Hamilton High School German teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Frau Karrels takes the time to get to know her students as individuals, uses keen observation skills to notice when something seems out of character for the individual, and communicates the concern with parents in a respectful, caring way. What a wonderful teacher!