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November High Five Nominations

Hope Onysio, Templeton Middle School eighth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

She has put so much effort and time into creating an awesome virtual experience for students! The students love having her as a teacher and I appreciate all she brings to our team!

Rebecca Schlieder, Templeton Middle School eighth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Rebecca has successfully managed joining our virtual learning team last minute and has developed some great connections with our students. She has been an important member of the team since day 1 and I appreciate all the hard work she has put in to make this year work for our students.

Kristy Hecker, Lannon Elementary School third grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

She goes above and beyond for her learners. She has great instruction for her learners.

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

Kristin is a total team player. She keeps our team running by staying 10 steps ahead of the game. She has jumped into supporting substitute teachers on our team by devoting time and energy to helping them out in any way that she can. She spearheads committees and creates files that the whole team greatly appreciates.

Julie Odefey, Silver Spring Intermediate School substitute teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Julie is doing an outstanding job teaching math and science as a long-term guest teacher. She is extremely hard-working, dependable and a very collaborative teammate.

Kristin Mandella, Marcy Elementary School psychologist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kristin goes out of her way to meet the needs of one of my students who is struggling academically and emotionally. She is a good communicator and problem solver. Kristin is always willing to try new ideas as well as give helpful suggestions.

Brad Hoffman, Templeton Middle School principal, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Brad works tirelessly, going above and beyond, to support the staff and families at TMS. His leadership, sensitivity and compassion to the diverse needs we are all encountering during these uncertain times, are truly phenomenal. Thank you Brad for leading our team with understanding, positivity, and humor!!!

Jaclyn Weiss, Silver Spring Intermediate School sixth grade math and science teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

I have been out on maternity leave since August and am now just returning. Jackie did a phenomenal job getting the school year started with our kiddos and my sub. With all the new COVID and virtual learning procedures in place, I have had a lot of questions upon returning. She makes herself available to me any time to provide answers and support. Without having her as my teammate, my transition back into the classroom would not have been nearly as smooth as it was. You rock Jackie!

Angie Kolesari, Templeton Middle School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Angie goes above and beyond daily when working with students, families, and staff. Her positive and proactive approach has been invaluable during this unpredictable school year. Honestly, I can’t imagine tackling this school year without her. Angie provides consistent and reliable support for the students she works with. They know she holds them to high expectations, and will be there to support their efforts. Everyone should be so lucky to have an Angie!

Ellen Smith, Templeton Middle School speech pathologist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Ellen is someone who works magic behind the scenes. She has great ideas and resources that positively impact all whom she works with -students, families, and staff alike. Ellen creates meaningful experiences and opportunities that leave you knowing you are valued. Working with Ellen brings out your best self in a safe and and nurturing way. Thank you, Ellen, for being you!

Rebeccah Derks, Templeton Middle School eighth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Beccah is not only an amazing Comm Arts teacher, but a wonderful teammate! She is always willing to stop what she is doing to help me with my latest idea or when I need some technology guidance! She is excellent to collaborate with and she is always very supportive of me. I feel so lucky to have her as a teammate and I appreciate her very much!

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

Jennie works tirelessly to meet the unique, individual needs of every one of her students. She is incredibly creative and tailors her lessons to include the special interests of her young learners. She creates tasks and activities that are engaging, motivating, and accessible to students with a wide range of abilities.

Addie Starrett, Templeton Middle School reading specialist, was nominated by co-workers because:

Addie is such an excellent teammate. She is excellent to collaborate with and she is always very supportive of me. I appreciate her very much!

Addie is working so hard to make sure that reading interventions run smoothly this year even with student absences and limited time frames. She always has a positive attitude and is a great person to work with everyday.

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

Kim is not only a great person but an amazing reading specialist. She is the first to say good morning to anyone she walks by and is always willing to go the extra mile to support students- even when she is home and not feeling well. I feel so lucky to work with you, Kim. Thank you for being a friend.

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

Mandy is our virtual first grade teacher at Woodside. Over the last month she has taken on far more responsibilities than her job requires. When a coworker was out for an extended illness, she took on the duties and responsibilities of not only her virtual class but that of her co-worker’s class. Countless hours spent making sure ALL needs were taken care of her own class PLUS countless hours making sure her co-worker’s class’s needs were taken care of during this extended absence.

Mindy Steigner, Woodside Elementary School substitute teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Mindy has stepped in this year to do a long term sub position for a teacher who has taken a leave. She has made an extraordinary effort to learn and care for her new students taking on ALL of the responsibilities of a regular teacher even though she is a substitute. She is going above and beyond expectations and her students and families are exceptionally grateful for it.

Becky Buchholz, Woodside Elementary School substitute teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Becky has stepped in this year to do a long term sub position for a teacher who has taken a leave (job sharing with Mindy Steigner). She has made an extraordinary effort to learn and care for her new students taking on ALL of the responsibilities of a regular teacher even though she is a substitute. She is going above and beyond expectations and her students and families are exceptionally grateful for it.

Kristin Netzel-Muehlenbach, Silver Spring Intermediate school speech pathologist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kristin is a fabulous leader among our staff. She maintains a positive attitude, builds up those around her, and keeps students at the center of each decision she makes. Kristin is professional yet warm with parents and shares her knowledge and expertise of speech and language development while offering practical strategies and solutions. We are so grateful to have Kristin on our team!

Andy Fox, Silver Spring Intermediate School fitness education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

For all his hard work and dedication to teaching – Thank You!

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

Hunter works hard every day to keep our school as clean as possible, every time I see him he is at it again. He is always polite and when I have had questions he finds the answer for me right away.

Trenette Fowler, Templeton Middle School seventh grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Trenette has been an incredible teammate this year. I have appreciated collaborating with Trenette, she has been such a supportive help and friend.

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

Brad has been a tremendous leader. He has been extremely positive, supportive and generous. He has been there for me when I have been stressed out, he was supportive when I was sick and he has been compassionate in administrative issues. I appreciate sharing with him my successes, I can tell he sincerely cares about what we do and how we are. I appreciate having Brad as a boss very much!

Ann Brezenski, Templeton Middle School eighth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

For always being my go-to person the last 5 years. Your collaboration and friendship is irreplaceable!

Nancy Lorenz, Lannon Elementary School math support teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Nancy is an amazing math specialist- seeking out additional data to assist in her teaching, going the extra mile for our virtual students and so much more. More importantly- Nancy takes a genuine interest in all she meets- students and staff- and cares about them as people. I so appreciate you and our conversations. 🙂

Gayle Ruplinger, Lannon Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Gayle has gone above and beyond for students who need extra love while also supporting a long term sub in the classroom. She is such an amazing asset to the Lannon family and I am so thankful to work with her.

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

Nanette has been holding the fort down in 8W and has gone above and beyond her role and duties to support our students and give them the best educational experience possible. We’re beyond lucky to have her this year.

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

Michelle has been holding the fort down in 8W and has gone above and beyond her role and duties to support our students and give them the best educational experience possible. We’re beyond lucky to have her this year.

Sara Grunzel, Woodside Elementary School reading specialist, was nominated by co-workers because:

Sara is incredibly reflective, which is why she is so great at her job. She considers issues/recommendations/initiatives from all viewpoints and advocates for what’s best for students and teachers. She is an amazing person to work with, and she (unknowingly) challenges me to be better! I am lucky that I get to work with her!

Not only is Sara a master Reading Specialist– she is an amazing colleague. She steps up to help with any need. Whether it is giving input on how to help a student, offering to cover door-duty, or just by being an occasional shoulder to cry on, she is simply the best example of “kindness” there is!

Anne Hatfield, Woodside Elementary School reading specialist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Anne is incredibly knowledgeable and is the model of hard work. If she is going to do something, she is going to do it well…and then some! 🙂 Anne is consistently two steps ahead and is always ready to take on the next challenge (and/or change!). I consider myself lucky that I get to learn from her! She is an amazing support.

Cathy Drago, Hamilton School District supervisor of instructional services, was nominated by co-workers because:

I am grateful for the leadership Cathy is providing. She has helped clarify our direction and been a great co-planner as we develop professional development for buildings. I appreciate her work ethic and vision!

Cathy organized professional development for our staff (K-6) today that was AMAZING. She is thoughtful, organized, mission-driven, student-centered, and asks the right questions at the right time. I’m so grateful for the ways Cathy is growing my own leadership as well as the teaching and learning throughout our district.

Whitney Roth, Hamilton School District curriculum specialist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Whitney has done a great job partnering with Cathy and building administrators to help guide our work this fall. She digs in and helps find answers to questions. She is reflective about her practice and offers great reflective input to teachers and fellow administrators!

Debbi Curtis, Lannon Elementary School custodian, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Debbi Curtis is my friend and colleague. She brings joy and positivity to everything she does. I have watched over the years the strong relationship she forms with students, families and staff. Debbie puts her whole heart into everything she does. It brings me great joy to know that our paths in lives have crossed and that we will always be friends. Debbie is a Hamilton School District “Diamond.” Thank you Debbie for everything that you do for all of us. YOU ARE THE BEST!!

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

Kelly is a wonderful leader within our Humanities team. She is focused on continual improvement and growth for all learners and has a way of unifying team members that is humble yet clear. We are so lucky to have Kelly on our SSI team!

Denice Giovan, Hamilton High School associate kitchen employee, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Denice has been working extremely hard, especially as we have transitioned to all virtual learning for HHS and TMS. We needed to navigate producing thousands of meals in a week, and Denice kept a positive attitude, helped problem solve, and really took on a leadership role to complete the task at hand. She is a strong member of our team and we appreciate all that she brings to our program! Thank you Denice!

Capri Krieger, Hamilton High School associate kitchen employee, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Capri did a great job during our intense meal prep for virtual learners at HHS and TMS. She independently assembled our most complicated bistro boxes and was extremely efficient. We can always count on Capri to work hard and complete challenging tasks, and her efforts are truly appreciated!

Tim Kruschel, Templeton Middle School eighth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Tim has very clearly spent many, many hours on a top-notch Veteran’s Day video to show to the staff and students. He has meticulously created a detailed video that honors Veterans. What a masterpiece to show staff, students, and families. Thank you Tim.

Kathleen Block, Hamilton High School fitness education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kathy has always done a phenomenal job with our students over her career. She works tirelessly on her classes and will always provide her students with the best opportunities to grow and learn. This has never been more apparent then in our current situation as a district. She has gone above and beyond the call of duty to support and care for her students. Her compassion and professionalism to her job is second to none. Thanks for inspiring your students and peers on a daily basis. Awesome Job!

Jennifer Matson, Maple Avenue Elementary School substitute teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Jenny has done a wonderful job as our long term guidance counselor at Maple where she has taken a genuine interest in our students and their needs. She has offered great support and insight for some of our most challenging students. Thank you, Jenny. I have really enjoyed working with you!

Julie Odefey, Silver Spring Intermediate School substitute teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Julie has been a phenomenal long term substitute in our building. She came in and hit the ground running. Her colleagues report how amazing she has been to work with and that she functions like a veteran member of our staff. Julie digs in and gets great work done on behalf of students. We are SO grateful for the time and energy Julie is adding to our 5th grade team!

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

Kirstin is a compassionate teacher. Her students love her and know that she is always there for her. She is open to new ideas and willing to try new things to see if they work. I am glad I am a part of her team at TMS.

Karen Zielinski, Templeton Middle School eighth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Karen has been a light in this pandemic teaching experience. She has found a way to teach face-to-face and virtually simultaneously as the majority of our students have moved into and out of (and back into) quarantine again and again. She has continued to teach with rigor and is always continuing to grow as a teacher as she has embraced new technology head on.

James Hilgenberg, Templeton Middle School eighth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Jim has been able to keep our students engaged in their learning even as the majority of our students have moved into and out of (and back into) quarantine again and again. His pragmatic yet positive response to teaching during a pandemic has been so beneficial to our whole team.

Amy Baranowski, Templeton Middle School eighth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Amy has been a leader in figuring out how to teach in-person and virtually simultaneously even as the majority of our students have moved into and out of (and back into) quarantine again and again. She has continued to teach with rigor and is always continuing to grow as a teacher as she has embraced new technology head on. We have been very lucky that she joined our 8 White team this year!

Anne Hayden, Marcy Elementary School speech pathologist, was nominated by co-workers because:

Anne is a very rare kind of person who makes anyone she interacts with feel like s/he is the most important contact of her day. There is no one like her. Adults and students are lucky if they get to cross her path during the day. Her dedication to making each interaction encouraging and supportive is admirable. As one of our student greeters, she makes sure to look every student in the eye as she says good morning and I know students (and staff) walk away with the seed to a happy day at Marcy.

Anne and the entire special education team at Marcy have been incredibly welcoming. They truly understand what it means to be a team. Anne is a wealth of knowledge and always available to bounce ideas off of. I feel so lucky to have her as a co-worker!

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

I have worked a long time with John and admire his strong commitment to all of our students. When a need arises for a student, John is one of the first to quietly step up with a meaningful solution. JOHN MAKES A DIFFERENCE!! Thanks for all that you do John. I am honored to work with you.

Rheamarie Fiorita, Woodside Elementary School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Rhea works tirelessly during the school day and after hours to provide for her students, and she is always willing to help co-workers in need.

Christina White, Lannon Elementary School literacy interventionist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Christina is a valuable member of the reading team at Lannon. Her willingness and positivity to learn technology to teach the students has been greatly appreciated. She provides effective reading instruction to her students in a caring and nurturing environment.

Heidi Vorndran, Lannon Elementary School literacy interventionist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Heidi is a valuable member of the reading team. She provides individualized and differentiated instruction for her students. Her students are receptive to her kind and caring demeanor. Her willingness to learn technology has been greatly appreciated.

Kaye Hunt, Marcy Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Not only is Kaye a master teacher – she is an amazing colleague. She steps up to help with any need- whether it is helping to figure out substitute plans, giving input on a curriculum question or rearranging the furniture! I enjoy her humor and her wisdom. She makes each day a little brighter!

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

Betsy is simply fabulous. I am continually impressed with her ability to guide our youngest learners. She is responsive to their needs and helps them to gain independence. As a colleague she is always ready to help out- she is one of our key technology people. She can make the most difficult things easy for the rest of us!

Jen Emory, Marcy Elementary School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Jen and the entire special education team at Marcy have been incredibly welcoming. They truly understand what it means to be a team. Jen specifically assists me daily with the ins and outs of the building. I feel so lucky to have her as a team mate!

Bridget Jimmerson, Marcy Elementary School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Bridget and the entire special education team at Marcy have been incredibly welcoming to me as a new teacher in their building. They truly understand what it means to be a team. Bridget is always there to bounce ideas off of and share her expertise. I feel so lucky to be a part of this team!

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

Lisa and the entire special education team at Marcy have been incredibly welcoming to me as a new teacher in the building. They truly understand what it means to be a team. Lisa is always there to share ideas and resources. She makes coming to work a fun place to be. This Marcy special education department is amazing!

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

She has done an amazing job for my daughter’s accelerated math class to have fun with a variety of activities that make it exciting to do math. Thank you for going above and beyond for her learning.

Martha Burns, Hamilton School District executive assistant to director of H.R., was nominated by a co-worker because:

The true answer to “what job does your nominee do” is… everything. A faster question would be what job doesn’t your nominee do… Martha is simply amazing. Her attitude and work ethic, combined with her institutional knowledge, are an unbelievable value to our district. She follows through with every task, big or small, responds to questions that definitely should have been directed to someone else (sorry Martha) and can be counted on for guidance and direction from the onset of situations.

Kelly Supercynski, Lannon Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

She comes to work with great ideas to keep her students included and engaged. She takes great care of her students and she has fun!

Nancy Lorenz, Lannon Elementary School math support teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

In her role as Math Support, Nancy works tirelessly assessing, grouping and serving children of all ages and levels at Lannon School. She not only supports the students, but works well with teachers and staff providing strategies and problem solving. Her kindness, flexibility and willingness to help in other roles within our school is appreciated by all. Nancy is a dedicated teacher who works extra hard to meet the math needs of our students.

Tim Kruschel, Templeton Middle School eighth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Tim is an amazing team member. He works long hours and is always going above and beyond in his lessons. He volunteers for schoolwide activities on top of all the additional curriculum planning he does.

Megan Karabon, Templeton Middle School eighth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Megan is a caring and compassionate teacher. She takes the time to learn about each student and connect with them through a virtual teaching environment. Megan spends countless hours planning and perfecting lessons that engage and challenge her students.

Jess Foderaro, Templeton Middle School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Jess is always there for her co-workers and students when they need to talk. She shows how much she cares every day by putting others before herself by making sure those around her are okay. Staff and students adore her and I am so happy to work alongside her.

Calli Buchholz, Hamilton High School assistant manager of food & nutrition services, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Calli has stepped into her new role with an abundance of organization, leadership and awesome new ideas. She has adapted to the many challenges and changes within the department, and is a huge asset to our program. We are so glad she joined our team and so lucky to have her!

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

Grace has handled the many changes and challenges of this school year with great leadership and organization. Grace and her team at SSI have seamlessly coordinated the virtual meal pickups for our families learning remotely. Many families have voiced that this option has been so valuable to their virtual learning days. Grace and her team are working extremely hard this year and they are very appreciated!

Kevin Kempen, Hamilton High School fitness education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Taking great care to make sure disinfectant bottles are filled and in good shape in weight room area.

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

Kelly always has the students’ best interest in mind while teaching in her new virtual world. She is a great communicator with the special education team about what our shared students might need in order to work up to their full potential. Kelly will accommodate tests and assignments to make sure the students can showcase their knowledge at their ability level. I am so thankful she is at Marcy this year and that I get to work with her.