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June & July 2022

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

Brian’s dedication to his school is impressive. He isn’t afraid to ‘roll up his sleeves’ and help whenever and wherever needed. He leads by example.

Kim Mechenich, Maple Avenue Elementary instructional coach, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kim is always in tune with ways we can celebrate and support members of our Maple family during the school year. I really appreciated the time she offered to me during the last week of school. She helped me make it through end of the school year work!

Laura Pape, Maple Avenue Elementary math interventionist, was nominated by a co-worker:

Laura is such a kind soul, always willing to help when she can. It is so nice to work with her! I really appreciated her extra help during the last week of school, making sure that student portfolios were ready to go home.

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

I feel so lucky to get to work with Nancy. I admire her efficiency and organization. I am also grateful that she is incredibly perceptive and caring. She is always willing to help me with special projects, including tasks to prepare for the coming school year.

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

John is a wonderful listener and advocate for what our staff needs! He was very supportive of the district training for co-plan to co-serve work and I’m feeling very hopeful and encouraged by the collaboration and conversations I participated in today! Thanks for making this happen, John!

Patty Sankey, Silver Spring Intermediate instructional coach, was nomianted by a co-worker:

Patty continues to bring energy, enthusiasm, and a genuine excitement for learning to our staff! She’s worked with numerous teams this summer and continues to model a love for learning in her own growth and development. Patty is a trusted thought partner and continues to make me better as a leader – you are appreciated, Patty!

Jackie Weiss, Silver Spring Intermediate grade 6 math and science teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Jackie is growing into an amazing leader in our building! She volunteered to present our building goals to the staff and did a great job. Jackie is hardworking, authentic, and genuinely shows a desire to grow. I am grateful for her leadership and commitment to our building!

Michelle Shultz, Silver Spring Intermediate grade 5 humanities teacher, was nominated by a co-worker

Michelle is such a wonderful teammate! She is a consistent source of calm and a reliable and supportive friend to those she works with. When a team member recently experienced an unexpected loss, Michelle quickly rallied support from others to coordinate meals and gift cards for her teammate. Michelle always maintains a ‘we can do this’ attitude and her compassion and care for others is so appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚

Tracy Baumann, Hamilton High administrative assistant, was nominated by a co-worker:

Tracy does so many wonderful things behind the scene for Hamilton High School staff, in addition to her regular office tasks. For example, recently she set up a breakfast buffet with a variety of items for the staff’s PD day. Tracy is super kind, and she provides needed support promptly. Tracy, thank you for ALL that you do for Hamilton High school staff. You are amazing!

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

Joe has done a great job leading our custodial team this summer! Our building looks amazing ๐Ÿ™‚ He is responsive, friendly, and cares about our students and staff. We are so lucky to have Joe here at SSI!

Leah Smith, Hamilton High clerical and student supervisor paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Leah is always open to helping in ANY way she is able; whether it be stepping in to learn a new program to sub when someone is out, or to take on additional responsibilities, or to adjust her schedule to support the needs of the school and students…she is a model of teamwork, flexibility, and willingness to grow. I appreciate her and we are lucky to have her.

Katie Ritchie, Maple Avenue Elementary principal, was nominated by a co-worker:

Katie is doing an amazing job at Maple with her positive mindset, and kind personality that helps each family feel welcomed when they enter the building. Katie is a leader who is so invested in her school community to ensure that ALL studentsยด learning needs are being met. I am so grateful for Katieยดs ability to problem solve promptly any situation that can help out ALL students, staff and parents. The Maple community is so fortunate to have Katie as their leader.

Heather Waibel, Silver Spring Intermediate special services paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Heather Waibel is a GIFT to our school! She is positive, flexible, hilarious, and serves our students each day with her whole heart. We appreciate you, Heather!

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

Kira is awesome to work with! Her leadership for the Wellness Committee has led to great opportunities for our staff. She has been here at SSI to help with our Willow student transfers in the morning. Kira is a great teammate and wonderful asset to our community ๐Ÿ™‚

Lisa Boucher, Silver Spring Intermediate special services paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Lisa is a wonderful human! She is flexible, kind, and always wants to do what is best for students. We are SO lucky to have Lisa here at SSI ๐Ÿ™‚

Susan Schramka, Silver Spring Intermediate associate principal, was nominated by a parent:

Susan did a book club with my daughter and one of her friends on her own time. She went above and beyond to continue to build a relationship with my daughter and her friend.

Jerad Perlberg, Hamilton High assistant grounds keeper, was nominated by a co-worker:

Great job mowing the lawn for us at TMS

Becky Newcomer, Hamilton High principal, was nomianted by a co-worker:

Having in mind all the challenges we all have had over the last few years, I wanted to recognize Becky’s continuous efforts to promote learning for ALL students, for delivering meaningful and relevant PDs, and for being actively engaged in understanding our specific teaching roles in order to offer positive solutions for all. In addition, Becky is super kind, and easy to talk to. Due to all this, I consider Becky a strong leader whom I completely trust to reach out to whenever I need her feedback.

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

On Monday, September 12th, when the power was out at TMS, Tim stood out in the rain for nearly an hour to give parents and students the news that there was no school that day.

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

On Monday, September 12th, when the power was out at TMS, Tim stood out in the rain for nearly an hour to give parents and students the news that there was no school that day.

Donelle Russell, Templeton Middle special services paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Donelle is a rockstar of a human being. She works so hard for all of our students and I’m so grateful to have her in my classes.
Kirstin Seizer, Templeton special education teacher, was nominated by co-workers:

Kirstin is the most positive person. She wants the best for everyone. She cares about her co-workers and puts the weight of the world on her shoulders. The students are her #1 priority and their well being. Kirstin I am beyond grateful to be on our team with you.

Kirstin always brings a positive attitude and a unique perspective to our BLT team! I’ve so enjoyed working closely with her this year and look forward to doing the same next year.

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

Kris is a wonderful mentor. I have learned so much from her. She will drop everything to help or cover a co-worker without question or complaint. She genuinely cares about the students and wants nothing more than to see them succeed. Kris I am extremely grateful to work side by side with you every day.

Christine Woywood Veettil, Maple Avenue art teacher, was nominated by a parent:

Mrs. Woywood has really helped my daughter blossom! Art has been such a great outlet for my child, and Mrs. Woywood continues to fuel that passion. She has shown kindness and care in her teaching, and clearly cares about the school community of Maple. I am so happy my daughter gets to learn from her! And she loves Mrs. Woywood’s class so much, she wants to be an art teacher when she grows up!

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

Molly has been a terrific co-advisor of the Future Educators Club this year. She has willingly facilitated collection of applications and the communication necessary to award two scholarships this May. She has independently secured and publicized the fundraising effort through ZUPAS in May and she is actively working to find ways to grow club membership and participation. Her actions in and out of the classroom testify to the importance of the teaching profession.

Shannon Becker, Templeton grade 7 teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Shannon works extremely hard to ensure all students feel welcome in her classroom. She shows care and support for students and for her colleagues and she puts a smile on my face every day!

Megan Karabon, Templeton grade 7 teacher, was nominated by co-workers:

Megan is a wonderful team player and I am truly grateful to be part of her team! She is a rock star teacher and I have learned so much from her as an educator.

Megan, your efforts, feedback, and ideas have provided the students we co-serve with many opportunities to learn and grow in ways that match individual styles and needs. It has been a great collaborative year! Thanks, Megan!

Tim Cunningham, Templeton grade 7 teacher, was nominated by co-workers:

Tim jumped right back into work, after being gone, without a hitch! He is always upbeat and brings a positive attitude to every meeting. Thanks for being a great colleague, Tim!

Tim’s efforts, feedback, and ideas have provided the students we co-serve with many opportunities to learn and grow. It has been a great collaborative year! Thanks, Tim!

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

Misty did another great job on this year’s junior prom. She makes it look effortless and smooth when it actually requires a lot of work and coordination. Creating the atmosphere and handling all of the details to allow over 200 students to have a great time off-grounds is no easy task, but Misty as always did a wonderful job and deserves our gratitude. Thank you, Misty!

Alyssa Knutson, Silver Spring grade 5 humanities teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Alyssa has been very helpful during my transition into the 5 Green humanities team!

Toni Hillman, Hamilton High business education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Toni was my Aspire proctoring partner this past week and she totally took charge so that I would have time to prep. She made sure to pick up all materials and guide her advisement students through the testing process, and I did not have to worry about a thing. This is characteristic of working with Toni; she always puts in the effort to help others!

Ann Kraemer, Templeton media center paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Ann is the front door greeter for students in the morning. She is one of the friendly faces in the IMC. She goes up and beyond to help staff find resources, recommends good books to read and helps with laminating things. Ann goes beyond her duties to help staff and students. Keep Rocking it Ann!!!

Gretchen Sciortino, Willow Springs instructional and supervision paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Gretchen has joined us and given all that she has to help everyone. She comes to work ready to begin her day with a smile and full of new ideas. I am so happy to have you on my team.

David Schiffer, District maintenance and custodial staff member, was nominated by co-workers:

David is a good guy.

Dave tackled a pretty hefty ‘to do’ list that included precision measuring for the installation of a very heavy (and very large) glass board within the HFAC. He did it with absolute perfection. I am so grateful to have such a talented and dedicated member on our district team to help out with some of the ‘big stuff!’

Teresa Karrells, Hamilton High German teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Teresa is a dedicated teacher who pours her heart and soul into making the German language and culture come alive in her classroom. I am very fortunate to have her as a colleague. Thank you for all that you do!

Kevin Becker, Hamilton High custodial night foreman, was nominated by a co-worker:

Kevin always goes out of his way to help others. He is a genuine guy that cares about how things are done. He also makes sure our school looks in tip-top shape.

Colleen Casper, Silver Spring school counselor, was nominated by a co-worker:

Colleen has taken the lead with our transition activities this year and she is doing an AMAZING job – thoughtful planning, great communication, and offering our students an active role in welcoming incoming 4th graders. We are so appreciative of all the work you’ve put into this, Colleen!

Rhonda Watton, Templeton grade 8 teacher, was nominated by co-workers:

Rhonda spent many hours planning a wonderful trip to Washington, DC for our 8th graders. Because of her, our trip ran smoothly and the kids made memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you for all of your hard work, Rhonda!

Your time committed, and effort towards helping the DC trip being a success is appreciated greatly! Like the Legends we learned about at DC, you are a Legend at TMS.

Rhonda successfully organized and led the 2022 spring trip to DC with 120 students, 12 chaperones and some parents. This is a huge undertaking and even more to manage while on tour with so many. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to chaperone. I learned so much as an adult – I can imagine what the students were able to take away. Super fun and memorable!

Anita Paque, Templeton library media specialist, was nominated by a co-worker:

Anita ‘took one for the team’ on our 8th grade field trip to Washington, DC. One of our students became ill and she volunteered to stay back from the day’s events to care for this student. She made sure she was well taken care of, both physically and emotionally. Anita has such a calm and caring personality. We were grateful to have her on our trip. Thanks, Anita!

Adriane Sendzik, Silver Spring special education teacher, was nominated by a parent:

Ms. Sendzik has gone above and beyond for my daughter. We appreciate her warm smile and positive energy when teaching our daughter. Thank you for all you do!

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

The HFAC has been plagued with a few IT issues this week. We depend so heavily on various forms of tech being in perfect working order…when our tech is down, WE are down and then we can’t provide the services our clients need. Jack took time on Tuesday morning assuring that our computer was back online and relevant programs were installed (or re-installed). He really takes the time to carefully and kindly answer questions and assure our needs are quickly handled. So appreciative of him!

Ryan Miller, District manager of IT, was nominated by a co-worker:

Over the last few weeks, Ryan has been POUNDED with questions regarding essential HFAC technical upgrades, technical upgrade estimates, unique client technical requests, and meetings upon meetings upon meetings. ๐Ÿ™‚ He handles every situation with absolute professionalism and takes the time to walk through every question. I am so grateful to have someone of his expertise on our team to tackle the ever-changing technical needs of our district.

Eddie Navarro, Hamilton High assistant manager of buildings and grounds, was nominated by a co-worker:

It is never easy starting a new position, and transferring from a smaller school to the big high school is a huge task…and he gets a bonus performing arts center! ๐Ÿ™‚ Eddie has stepped up to the plate and has been such a positive asset to the workings of the HFAC. He has assured his custodial team is informed of upcoming events, trained on the installation of large equipment, oversees the maintenance checks and responds in a timely manner. I really appreciate his kindness and responsiveness!

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

Patty was asked to help lead in a situation where a staff member took an unexpected leave. She immediately dove into the situation, has collaborated, celebrated her own learning, and made the very best of the situation while adding incredible value. Patty is a trusted member of our community and we are so grateful for the way she steps up anytime she is asked. THANK YOU PATTY!!

Michelle Prei, Silver Spring mathematics support teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Michelle has been incredibly helpful in drafting our master schedule. Her love of ‘puzzles’ and commitment to finding solutions shines in this challenge! Thank you so much, Michelle, for helping so much in this process! You are very appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚

Alex Chanto, Templeton music and instrumental teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Alex is such a wonderful addition to our staff this year! He is wonderful with students, he collaborates well with colleagues, and is willing to do just about anything to engage students in our band (like get in a dinosaur suit during a concert!) We appreciate you, Alex!

Angie Ullenberg, Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional, was nominated by a parent:

She has been an excellent support to my son this year as he transitioned to a new school. Thank you! We appreciate you!

Laura Watson, Silver Spring special services paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Laura is an absolutely amazing teacher. She believes every child can learn and because of this, each child she works with experiences success. She is dedicated, nurturing, and caring – making connections with lessons that go above and beyond. Laura is a strong advocate for kids and doing what is best for them. SSI is so lucky to have Laura on our team.

Shannon Canham, Silver Spring instructional and supervision paraprofessional, was nominated by co-worker:

Shannon is a positive presence in my classroom each day. She brings new insight to each lesson taught and is amazing at meeting kids where they are at. She always remains calm and patient and is trusted by our shared students. Her background and previous career/experiences has been invaluable in servicing students at SSI. We are lucky to have her here!

Trenette Fowler, Templeton grade 7 teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Thank you so much for being an amazing partner in our Unity Circle group. I appreciate working with you so much.

Beccah Derks, Templeton grade 8 teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Thank you for being such an amazing leader on the BLT! You have been so inspirational this year, I have just appreciated working with you so much.

Isabella LaSpisa, Templeton title I paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Thank you so much for jumping in at TMS and working so hard. I have appreciated what a go-getter you have been and how you have made connections with students.

Brianna Leinon, Templeton grade 7 teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Bri proactively and confidently planned, provided, and assessed learning opportunities for students we co-serve. Her feedback and ideas have not only supported student learning and growth, but mine, too. It has been a great collaborative year! Thanks, Bri!

Mary Caucutt, Templeton grade 7 teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Mary’s insights and ideas have impacted student performance academically, emotionally, and behaviorally. In particular, Mary created a weekly activity that is specific to some of our most unique learners. They loved it!

Terry Krause, Templeton school counselor, was nominated by a co-worker:

For an amazing career! It has been a pleasure working with you Terry!

Shannon Flaherty, Templeton applied engineering and technology teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

For collaboratively and creatively solving the scheduling process by suggesting and giving pros for dropping the House model and going with a Junior High model.

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

Katie has been putting in the WORK for Rockn’ Lockn’. The kids are going to love it.

Katie has been the best co-worker I could have asked for. She frequently goes above and beyond with little recognition. She is a rock star that holds Templeton together.

John Plese, Templeton fitness education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

For collaboratively and creatively solving the scheduling process by suggesting and giving pros for dropping the House model and going with a Junior High model.

Sara Lemke, Templeton French teacher, was nominated by co-workers:

Thank you for all of the professional collaboration you have done with me this year. We sure are growing. Thank you also for answering my call on a Sunday night!

She always makes time in her busy schedule to listen to department concerns, reflect, and explore options/solutions. Sara is a valued member of our department. Thank you!

Beth Buschmann, Templeton school counselor, was nominated by a co-worker:

Beth is so good at working with students and helping to restructure their thinking. Her care, concern, and patience are evident on a daily basis.

Cindy Dow, Templeton special services paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Cindy is always organized and going above and beyond to make sure our students are provided learning opportunities to practice skills prior to assessments. She is proactive and willing to problem solve!

Jay Bergemann, Templeton art teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

For collaboratively and creatively solving the scheduling process by suggesting and giving pros for dropping the House model and going with a Junior High model.

Ariane Fischer, Templeton special services paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker:

Ariane is always willing to take on responsibility and is always there for our students and me!

Brenda Peterson, Templeton grade 7 teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Brenda created hands-on math tools for students to use when they are in the resource room. This material is helping students, who are visual and tactile learners, grasp the equation concepts we are working on.

Susan Bruns, Hamilton High student services administrative assistant, was nominated by a co-worker:

Susan is always helpful. Even when she is trying to accomplish many things at once, she is kind to all who have some questions and will stop what she is doing to help and address your situation. Thank you so much; it doesn’t go unnoticed ๐Ÿ™‚

Rebecca Abler, Silver Spring health and wellness teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Becky has gone above and beyond coaching / mentoring me in Family and Consumer Science. She has shared her knowledge which has allowed me to grow as a teacher and for that I am extremely thankful.

Megan Sykes, Silver Spring applied engineering and technology teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Megan goes out of her way to encourage her co-workers. She is always the first one to ask how she can help or what do you need, which creates a positive work environment. I could not ask for a better co-worker.

Amber Skaros, Silver Spring art teacher, was nominated by a co-worker:

Amber is a creative, positive co-worker. From her I have learned so many positive techniques to inspire students.

Juliet Champion, Woodside grade 3 mathematics and science teacher, was nominated by a parent:

Our son has excelled in first grade thanks to Ms. Champion! She has not only supported his style of learning, but she has also gone above and beyond to support his emotional well-being. Our son is very sensitive and any time we had a concern, big or small, Ms. Champion was ready with a plan, while also incorporating our suggestions, to support him in the best way possible. She has been excellent at communicating with us and we are grateful that we could work with her as a team to help our son.

Derek Malcore, Hamilton High social studies teacher, was nominated by a parent:

Mr. Malcore goes above and beyond to show his students he cares about them both personally and as students. My daughter thrived in his art class and felt “seen” for her talents as well as her efforts which motivated her to work even harder. Thanks for being such an amazing mentor and role model for your students!

Matthew Dahnke, Hamilton High social studies teacher, was nominated by a parent:

Mr. Dahnke teaches history in an authentic and relevant way to his students, encouraging them to not just memorize facts, but to analyze and reflect on the impact of historical events. He provided my daughter with a variety of opportunities to demonstrate her knowledge and understanding which was highly motivating for her. He made her comfortable and allowed all students to express their own thoughts and ideas. Thank you for an amazing semester of learning!

John Schaeffler, Hamilton High custodial staff member, was nominated by a co-worker:

John continuously goes above and beyond in his work. He completes his daily tasks with enthusiasm and positivity and is ALWAYS willing to help out anyone in the building. He’s such an asset to the Hamilton team and to the district. We are so lucky to have such a devoted and kind person in our building.