June High Five Nominations

 

Michelle Prei, Silver Spring Intermediate School math support teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Michelle was a joy to work with this past school year. She has such a positive attitude and always wears a smile that helps put others at ease. Not only is she like that with coworkers, but with students as well. Michelle is kind, giving, and helpful, and I truly appreciate all that she does for SSI.

Diana Ruiz, Maple Avenue Elementary School third grade teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Mrs. Ruiz has worked tremendously hard to keep her students engaged during this virtual learning time in meaning activities. She’s had reasonable yet high expectations of her students to ensure they are still working hard and completing a manageable amount of work. Each time I’ve reached out to her, she has been very responsive, kind, and extremely helpful. I have always been impressed by her amazing work ethic, dedication to her job and students, and her ability to connect with her students.

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

We would like to nominate Darcy Randall! Darcy is a dedicated special ed teacher who goes beyond what is required of her. We see how much the kids enjoy working with her and this is due to her compassion, sense of humor, kindness, and passion to teach. She values her paras which in turn makes us want to better ourselves for her and the students. During virtual learning she has shown tireless dedication to everyone that she works with!!

Kristin Leaman, Willow Springs Learning Center kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kristin is always willing to share, help and/or listen and seems to know just when you need each one of those things. I am so grateful to be working alongside her and have learned so much from her.

Becky Newcomer, Hamilton High School principal, was nominated by two co-workers and a parent because:

For her time to meet weekly with departments during virtual school; for going the extra mile to ensure that learning is happening for ALL students at all times; For being super positive and kind with the staff, but at the same a strong advocate for teaching practices that will benefit ALL students; for being open to new ideas; for running engaging and productive staff meetings; In a nutshell – for a new energy that is so inspiring.

Becky has shown leadership in a transition time no one could have expected or anticipated. With all of the chaos, she continued to keep us together as a staff with regular check-ins, engaged as professionals by leveraging our content knowledge and our ability to adapt, and kept the HHS community informed in a virtual realm no one was prepared for. All in her first year with the district! Kudos Becky

Mrs. Newcomer goes above and beyond to ensure best practices are in place for students and that they feel valued and supported. She truly prioritizes social and emotional well being and knows that must be in place for students to achieve their highest potential. Her willingness to listen, problem solve, and look at students as individual learners is much appreciated. We are very thankful she has come to Hamilton High School!

Rebecca Cochran, Maple Avenue Elementary School first grade teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Mrs. Cochran has been the best, most vibrant, creative teacher for my son. I appreciate her support through the past few months, taking the time to call my son early on to support and build him up! AND spending time with me trying to figure out the new technology. Our favorites – B4 Covid – many Seesaw videos she posted, dressing up as her 100 yo Grannie, watching the Monarch grow and fly away, Flat Stanley. Covid posts keep me wanting to tune in each day! Mrs. Cochran has been a gift to us!

Amanda Rittich, Lannon Elementary School second grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

She is very patient and hard working. Always encouraging her students to be their best.

Kelly Zellner, Silver Spring Intermediate School fifth grade teacher, was nominated by a student because:

Ms. Zellner makes great video lessons. I really enjoyed the “hidden messages” every day too. Thank you for a great school year in Humanities!

Jennifer Johnson, Lannon Elementary School first grade teacher, was nominated by a student because:

Thanks for being such a great teacher. I really enjoyed saying the Pledge of Allegiance with Frankie. I miss you!

Kristin Koeper-Hamblin, Maple Avenue Elementary School principal, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Throughout the last few months of teaching from home Kristin has been very supportive, full of helpful ideas, empathetic to all of the craziness, helpful to solve problems, available 24 hours of the day, and a kind and good listener. I could not ask for an administrator who would be better to work for.

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

I nominate Jess for a high five because she is AWESOME! Jess gives it her all everyday for the students. She does a fantastic job communicating with her team and co-workers, she does a great job motivating her students and co-worker, and she goes above and beyond. Jess treats everyone as an equal and includes everyone. She is a great advocate and supporter for her students and will stand up for her students when needed. I cannot thank her enough for all her support during this school year.

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

Nanette has been a blessing! She was new this year but you would never have known it. Nanette goes above and beyond each and every day. She has built strong relationships with her students and co-workers. She does a fantastic job communicating, she stays calm during stressful situations, and is always encouraging her students and co-workers. Nanette is someone you can count on when you need help with something or just need someone to talk too. We are very grateful to have her here at TMS!

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

Mr. Balfany works tirelessly to support our students, parents, and staff at Lannon Elementary. His strong leadership skills and positive attitude (along with his sense of humor) is evident daily and makes the difficult days a little easier. Thank you Mr. Balfany for ALL you do for Lannon School and Summer Opportunities in the Hamilton School District.

Scott Singer, Hamilton School District technology support specialist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Scott has been incredibly helpful with every little IT issue I have, and some of them have been pure common sense lacking problems! He takes care of them and explains things and always gets back to me very quickly. So appreciated!

Jenny Berwanger, Woodside Elementary School third grade teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Mrs. Berwanger has the most amazingly calm, sweet & happy personality and has such a great connection with her students. She lets them know her expectations, holds them to high standards, and shows them such confidence that they can do anything… all while keeping such a casual, positive, fun learning environment going both in the classroom, as well as during this virtual class period. My son was very lucky to have her!

Deanna Wellens and Katie Ritchie, Silver Spring Intermediate School principal and associate principal, were nominated by a parent because:

Mrs. Ritchie and Mrs. Wellens sent a birthday card to my daughter – and all the kids who had birthdays – during virtual learning. What a thoughtful and wonderful gesture! For a child, not being able to have a birthday party, celebrate with friends, or hear your name on the morning birthday announcements is disappointing. These two caring administrators took the time to make sure the student’s special day was still acknowledged in a unique way. Thank you!

Rebeccah Derks, Templeton Middle School eighth grade teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Mrs. Derks was an amazing comm arts teacher this year and developed learning opportunities that were relevant and meaningful for her students. My daughter thrived in her class and felt valued, respected and supported all year!

Jerry Wetherall, Hamilton High School math teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Mr. Wetherall has been so accommodating and helpful during virtual learning. His love for teaching and the students came through as he helped them navigate and actually learn calc through this pandemic! Thank you!

Stephanie Christofferson, Willow Springs Learning Center paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Stephanie is always willing to help out anyone who needs help, staff or students. She goes above and beyond her job duties to put others’ needs first. She is creative and a hard worker each and every day. I am blessed to have her on my team and in my classroom.

Susan Moll, Hamilton School District executive assistant to the superintendent, was nominated by a co-worker because:

For going above and beyond in her responsibilities as Assistant Board Clerk – thanks for your extra effort in engaging with School Board members during this virtual environment!

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

Misty is truly an incredible teacher. Her ability to make her students and her co-workers a priority, even during the most chaotic times, is commendable. She is the master of a packed to-do list and still manages to go above and beyond in everything she does. From her amazing coordination of homecomings/pep rallies/senior balls/proms, to the teacher appreciation yard signs, to her willingness to always lend an ear and provide advice, she is one of the best!

Dan Krill, Hamilton High School math teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Mr. Krill has spent countless hours on video calls with both of my children helping them learn Advanced Algebra. His approach with them has been kind, patient, insightful and many times funny. Most importantly, he never made them feel inadequate for needing his help and always encouraged it.

Debbie Figueroa, Hamilton High School communication arts teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Deb has never lost hope that insightful learning in Comm Arts can exist online! Her video meetings were run very well and the conversation about the topics continued after the call was complete. She also cares deeply for students and does not hesitate to reach out to keep them engaged.

Cody Leland, Templeton Middle School associate principal, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Mr. Leland has been a rock of support for us teachers at TMS. He is timely with responses, and has been on the front lines along with us with contacting parents and students to keep them engaged during virtual learning. He also kept us informed and ultimately supported our decisions, even the tough ones, when it came to student progress. He has also been timely and fair with teacher evaluations during this unusual time of education. He is a true team leader.

Nicole O’Connor, Templeton Middle School flex math teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Nicole works so hard to make positive relationships with her students. We appreciate how hard she worked to get to know our son on a personal level but also academic level. She uses humor in a great way and we know our son loved that. Mrs. O’Connor pushes kids to their potential as well as holds them accountable! During the virtual learning, the combination of videos and messages really helped our son to keep going! This year was huge for our son’s confidence in math. Thank you.

Ellen Smith, Templeton Middle School speech pathologist, was nominated by a parent because:

Ellen was our son’s speech teacher. Throughout the entire school year we were impressed with how she included our son in his academic decision making. She always wanted him to have a say. Our son knew he could always count on Mrs. Smith when he had a question. We appreciated her communication all year. During distance learning, Mrs. Smith regularly met with our son to check in on work and to just talk! Our son will never admit this, but he did look forward to these conversations! Thank You!

Julie Datka, Silver Spring Intermediate School sixth grade teacher, was nominated by a student because:

Mrs. Datka is a wonderful math and science teacher. She helps everyone and takes her time to make sure that all kids understand what she is teaching. I liked playing the game Good Guess and it was fun to play with Mrs. Datka. She got to know each of us as kids, not just students.

Christina Garley, Silver Spring Intermediate fifth grade teacher, was nominated by a student because:

She is an amazing teacher and she is one of the first teachers that teaches in a way that is so easy to remember. Mrs. Garley helped us through virtual learning and she was always on top of things. If I asked her a question, she would respond right away. She is the best math teacher ever!

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

Liz was instrumental in helping to get our department up and running. She always found an answer to any question we had. It was all new to us and yet she was patient and always helpful!

Kaila Feudner, Hamilton High School Spanish teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kaila’s positive attitude makes her an absolute pleasure to work with. I also really appreciate how inclusive she is and how she is always willing to offer support and advice. She is always willing to go the extra mile for staff and students.

Alyssa Knuston, Silver Spring Intermediate School fifth grade humanities teacher, was nominated by a student because:

Mrs. Knutson was an amazing teacher! She did so much for us during virtual learning! She kept school fun and encouraged us to do our best! I loved being in her class this year! Thank you Mrs. Knutson!

Melanie Lawniczak, Silver Spring Intermediate School fifth grade math and science teacher, was nominated by a student because:

Mrs. Lawniczak was an amazing teacher! She was very caring and understanding. She was so fun! I had a great time in her class! She always pushed us to do our best and she did an awesome job at virtual learning! Thank you Mrs. Lawniczak!

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

He strives to make his students better people. He truly cares about everyone.

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

Amy put in so much extra time designing our TMS yearbook this past year. It is beyond awesome! If there was a yearbook competition, she and her students would have won it! Everyone needs to see it! Great job, Amy!

Mary O’Neil, Hamilton High School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Mary O’Neil is one of our best kept secrets. She works with particularly challenging students at Hamilton and is unflappable. She takes all of her students under her wing and truly cares about them. She has unfailing patience when working with her students and makes it her mission to help them learn what they need to become productive in life and good citizens.

Lanell Becker, Hamilton High School administrative assistant, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Lanell works with CONSTANT interruptions, yet can multi-task with the best. She always has a smile on her face and is always willing to help out.

Jami Binder, Woodside Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a parent because:

These ladies are our AWESOME special ed paras at Woodside. Not only do they do an excellent job with my students, but also my SON! What they do for our children with special needs on a daily basis is truly AMAZING! They LOVE them all, embrace their differences, do everything in their power to make sure that they are successful daily, ensure that they are being treated well by everyone, AND care for them with love and respect! DEFINITELY the FAB 4 PARAS! As a co-worker & MOM… THANK YOU!!

Rheann Jacobs, Willow Springs Learning Center kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Rheann is such a fantastic team member at Willow. She is continually positive and brings her excellent ideas, technology skills, and creativity to enhance our team. So grateful for Rheann and her amazing contributions to our Willow Springs family!

Stephanie Christofferson, Willow Springs Learning Center paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Stephanie has been an integral part of our Willow Springs team from its inception. She has been an incredible partner to me for over a decade, going above and beyond during our school closure to help with student work, organize teaching materials, and interact with students to help maximize her skills and time. She is a very special team member at Willow Springs and I am so grateful for her creative touches, passion, and super efforts to help our young learners grow and to support teachers.

Donelle Russell, Woodside Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a parent because:

These ladies are our AWESOME special ed paras at Woodside. Not only do they do an excellent job with my students, but also my SON! What they do for our children with special needs on a daily basis is truly AMAZING! They LOVE them all, embrace their differences, do everything in their power to make sure that they are successful daily, ensure that they are being treated well by everyone, AND care for them with love and respect! DEFINITELY the FAB 4 PARAS! As a co-worker & MOM… THANK YOU!!

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

Betsy has gone above and beyond as she is guiding our kindergarten team during virtual learning with her talents, commitment, and passion. Betsy is always willing to lend a helping hand and share innovative ideas. Thank you Betsy for being the amazing person that you are!!

Tracy Krenek, Maple Avenue Elementary School second grade teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Mrs. Krenek has been such a blessing to our family during this time. She has met with our daughter via Google Meet frequently and works with her while both of us are working from home. Without her help our home life would be harder. So thankful that she is a part of our village!!!!! The way that she loves on my daughter and fills her up makes my mom heart happy!!!!

Kelly Wood, Woodside Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a parent because:

These ladies are our AWESOME special ed paras at Woodside. Not only do they do an excellent job with my students, but also my SON! What they do for our children with special needs on a daily basis is truly AMAZING! They LOVE them all, embrace their differences, do everything in their power to make sure that they are successful daily, ensure that they are being treated well by everyone, AND care for them with love and respect! DEFINITELY the FAB 4 PARAS! As a co-worker & MOM… THANK YOU!!

Cheryl Leiden, Marcy Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a a co-worker because:

Cheryl not only calls every student in my class each week, but also the students in several other primary classrooms. She has embraced her new role as a “virtual reading coach” and listens to students read as long as they’d like – sometimes up to 30 minutes. She listens to books they’re reading and stories they’ve written themselves. She offers strategies and feedback, encourages them, and communicates their progress every day. We are so lucky to have her!

Lanell Becker, Hamilton High School administrative assistant, was nominated by a co-worker because:

We are so thankful for Lanell’s willingness and ability to help during this time! She has stepped up to lend her expertise in accounting not only for HHS, but for all of the schools as we worked to process thousands of student refunds. We are so lucky to have Lanell on our team!!

Peggy Wrobleski,Woodside Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a parent because:

These ladies are our AWESOME special ed paras at Woodside. Not only do they do an excellent job with my students, but also my SON! What they do for our children with special needs on a daily basis is truly AMAZING! They LOVE them all, embrace their differences, do everything in their power to make sure that they are successful daily, ensure that they are being treated well by everyone, AND care for them with love and respect! DEFINITELY the FAB 4 PARAS! As a co-worker & MOM… THANK YOU!!

David Neubauer, Templeton Middle School music teacher, was nominated by two co-workers because:

For his outstanding effort to keep kids engaged and modeling this through his virtual band project.

Dave Neubauer puts kids first. He went above and beyond in creating a virtual performance for his 8th Grade Band students. Without a final concert, these students lost their last chance in Middle School to share years worth of hard work. Dave took it upon himself to help students record their individual parts in order to create a virtual performance. I know that this took nearly 40 hours of “above and beyond” work to complete in the editing process. What dedication to our students.

Courtney Klein, Woodside Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Courtney has created such a wonderful bond with her kindergarten students, and it’s easy to see how much my son loves having her as his teacher. Despite the challenges of the past few months, Mrs Klein has kept that close connection, excitement for learning and genuine care for each of the kids as strong as ever…even in the midst of switching to a virtual environment. She is a wonderful person and a priceless teacher!

Amy Chavie, Lannon Elementary School speech pathologist, was nominated by a parent because:

She made virtual learning (speech therapy) with Finn so much easier by having very clear instructions in her emails as to what he needed to work on and where to focus our valuable time.

Andrea Tarantino, Lannon Elementary School second grade teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Mrs. Tarantino went out of her way to make sure we were able to be successful with virtual learning. She met with us on Facetime at a time that was convenient for our family but might not have been for her. We appreciate her flexibility through all this.

Zachary Welch, Silver Spring Intermediate School fifth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Zach is an amazing teacher. He honestly cares about his students. He is willing to work with each one and help them become better students and human beings. During this situation he has been such a support for me. He has been so patient with my lack of tech skill and has always been willing to help me. Zach is wonderful to work with!
 Ann Brezenski, Templeton Middle School eighth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Ann is the most patient person I have ever met! She is such a kind teacher-our students are lucky to have her teach math. The 8 Blue team could not function without her! Thank you for helping with our weekly deliveries!

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

Kelly is such a compassionate teacher. She is always there for students and willing to lend an ear to them. Thank you for being part of our weekly deliveries, creating games, and making our 8 Blue videos for students!

Sara Gale, Maple Avenue Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Mrs. Gale has gone above and beyond for all of her students this year. When face-to-face in the classroom, my daughter loved school and had such an easy transition at Maple. When school could no longer be held face-to-face, Mrs. Gale has provided so many engaging lessons, videos, and class meetings for students. Mrs. Gale is such an amazing teacher and we are so lucky to have her in Hamilton!

Michael Fraundorf, Maple Avenue Elementary School third grade teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

3rd grade has been such a special year for my son because of Mr. Fraundorf. Mr. Fraundorf challenged and engaged my son. He also has helped my son so much with organization and has taught him how to be a successful student. The Fraundorf Feast, charving, and all of his stories will be remembered by my son and his classmates. Thanks for making learning fun for your students!

Christine Woywod Veettil, Maple Avenue Elementary School art teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Both of my children awaited their art specials each week and came home with big smiles and fun projects to share. Mrs. Woywod Veettil also helped Maple put on a fantastic family art night and showcased each students’ artwork; making them all feel special. With the shift to virtual learning, she has provided great lessons and encouraged students to share their work with her. Each time that my students have shared, she provided great feedback and additional learning extensions for them.

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

These words come to mind when I hear the name Jay Bergemann: Honest, caring, loyal, hardworking and servant leadership. Jay is a selfless individual who strives to make everyone he comes in contact with a better person. We are blessed to have him working with the students/parents/faculty in the Hamilton School District.

Deanna Wellens, Silver Spring Intermediate School principal, was nominated by a co-worker because:

D has been a fantastic addition to Silver Spring Intermediate and the Hamilton School District. Her positive attitude, communication skills and servant leadership style can be felt throughout Panther Nation. She’s a willing listener and always wanting to hear her colleagues input. We are lucky to have her leading the way!

Katie Ritchie, Silver Spring Intermediate School associate principal, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Katie’s positive energy, attitude and leadership is contagious to the students, parents and faculty she comes in contact with on a daily basis. She is always looking for ways to improve student learning and teacher effectiveness. Her knowledge, honesty and outside the box thinking make Silver Spring Intermediate a fantastic school to learn and grow at. The leadership team at “The Springs” is the new Dynamic Duo!

Megan Sykes, Silver Spring Intermediate School technology teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Megan is a selfless individual who is constantly wanting to improve the learning of her students. Her patience and caring go beyond her students, as she is always willing to help and share teaching ideas with her fellow teammates. You win with people like Sykes on your team.

Margy Supa, Woodside Elementary School third grade teacher, was nominated by a student because:

I am nominating Mrs. Supa because she is doing an awesome job teaching online. She is a great teacher because she does stuff that she doesn’t have to do for us. She is nice, sweet, and kind. She is AWESOME!

Amy Hilgenberg, Woodside Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a student because:

I am nominating Mrs. Hilgenberg because I love her. She always says hello, gives me hugs, and makes me happy. I miss her sooooooo much.

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

Helen is always willing to help in any situation! She goes above and beyond for teachers, students and parents. She will go the extra mile to provide support and find the best solution for everyone involved.

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

One of the students I support was not responding to any requests from teachers, administrators nor members of our special services team once virtual school began. At the start of May he was failing nearly all 4 classes. Kaitlin continued to put out requests every other day and did not give up until she finally got him to respond. Her dedication started a chain reaction of support and now this student will be able to pass 3/4 classes!! Thank you, Kaitlin!!!

Julie Pettit, Woodside Elementary School fourth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Julie took the time to help create a wonderful way to recognize our 4th graders leaving Woodside this year. She and two teammates created signs with all the kids pictures on them, they will be displayed in front of Woodside. She wanted to do something special for the kids and the families, as this is a milestone year. I also appreciate it for us teachers who had this class of kids in previous years. We all need a little extra something of a goodbye this year.

Nicole Welter, Woodside Elementary School fourth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Nicole created the idea and collaborated with her team to create a wonderful way to recognize our 4th graders leaving Woodside this year. She and two teammates created signs with all the kids pictures on them, they will be displayed in front of Woodside. She wanted to do something special for the kids and the families, as this is a milestone year. I also appreciate it for us teachers who had this class of kids in previous years. We all need a little extra something of a goodbye this year.

Barbara Leach, Woodside Elementary School fourth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Barb took the time to help create a wonderful way to recognize our 4th graders leaving Woodside this year. She and two teammates created signs with all the kids pictures on them, they will be displayed in front of Woodside. She wanted to do something special for the kids and the families, as this is a milestone year. I also appreciate it for us teachers who had this class of kids in previous years. We all need a little extra something of a goodbye this year.

Alan Schneider, Templeton Middle School seventh grade teacher, was nominated by two parents because:

Mr. Schneider continues to go above & beyond during this virtual learning time. His social studies zoom lessons are full of creative ways to engage his students and simulate experiences of WWII. He shows himself in a closet with flashlights and explosions going off to simulate war bombing. He shows the students photos of famous WWII posters & teaches them their significance. He has really made it interesting for his class to learn about this important time period other than just reading it.

Mr. Schneider is one of the most engaging, knowledgeable, passionate, dedicated, and entertaining euro history (social studies) teachers. My son, Matthew, shares what he has been learning in his class daily with enthusiasm. Alan gets to know his students and allows the students to get to know him. His passion for his subject shows through in each lesson he teaches. My son has studied harder and worked more diligently because of Mr. Schneider. Thank you 🙂

Beth Buschmann, Silver Spring Intermediate School guidance counselor, was nominated by a parent because:

Beth has been so amazing this past semester. She has provided guidance, encouragement and support above the call of duty. She was so much help during a very difficult time for our family.

Kathy Jensen, Hamilton High School math teacher, was nominated by a student because:

Ms. Jensen was willing to take calls outside of her office hours during online learning, asked for feedback on her lessons and adjusted accordingly, and was accommodating to a unique circumstance. She has been working hard for her students.

Lisa Benishek, Templeton Middle School seventh grade teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

I would like to thank Lisa for being an incredible teacher both this year and last for my son. She is kind, compassionate and so understanding. She has spent a great amount of her own time making sure my son had a successful school day. The TMS school is blessed to have her as a teacher.

Jess Foderaro, Templeton Middle School special education teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Our family has been so blessed to have Jessica as one of my son’s teachers. She is caring, compassionate and incredibly understanding. She has been so understanding during a very difficult family time. TMS is blessed to have her as a teacher.

Jeannette Smith, Silver Spring Intermediate sixth grade humanities teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

She is doing a great job of helping my learner navigate e-learning as well as making any needed modifications on her on the fly.

Marie Palmer, Marcy Elementary School third grade teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

I am so grateful for her patience, understanding and communication with my daughter as well as our family. This has been such a difficult transition to virtual learning for my family and we truly appreciate all of her efforts in educating our daughter.

Amy Hilgenberg, Woodside Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Mrs. Hilgenberg is amazing because not only did she do an amazing job of getting my daughter closer to being caught up with her classmates academically; she makes sure that throughout this whole new experience of learning that her students know that she really cares about them. She goes the extra mile by making sure that students, parents and families are doing good in general. She is always available for help and answers promptly. Thank you for being an amazing teacher and person.

Ann Flynn, Silver Spring Intermediate paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Annie is OUTSTANDING. She is dedicated, committed and extremely focused on doing whatever it takes to help our students succeed. As we’ve transitioned to virtual learning she has maintained her positive energy, strong work ethic and dedication to our students. She has been persistent in connecting with students even if they don’t respond the first 3, 4, 5, times. And because of that persistence, the student responded and is receiving the help she needs. Thank you Annie.

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

Addie is working 1-on-1 with students in our house to help them prioritize their work, keep them motivated, and provide help wherever needed. She is one piece of this puzzle that is virtual learning that makes it come together! Without her we could not do what we do!

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

Hope is always there to help problem solve, lend an ear when someone needs to talk, a (virtual) shoulder to cry on in a tough time, and uplift when someone is down. She is working above and beyond for her students in class! She is always willing to try new ideas that might be a lot of work… but they sure are a lot of fun! Thank you for putting together the prize bags for our students each week!

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

Angie is always there for whomever needs help. She has a kind heart and makes every day at work fun. For virtual schooling she will ask to chat on google hangouts just so she can see me and I will tell you that makes my day so much happier! Her smiles brighten the day! She works so hard to make sure the students get the support they need. Both the students and staff appreciate her hard work sending missing assignments reports weekly! She is the best!!

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

During online learning, Mr. K was helpful and made assignments easy to understand.

Toni Lynn Wainio, Hamilton High School science teacher, was nominated by a student because:

She finds ways to reach out, check in with me, and offers extra help for tests.

Allyson Billings, Maple Avenue Elementary School psychologist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Ally has done a phenomenal job navigating the variety of roles and situations that arose during her first year as a school psychologist at Hamilton. She shows a natural dedication to meeting students’ needs and navigating complex situations to provide the best supports for kids. Her calm, positive energy is a wonderful attribute to our team.

Peggy Bingen, Lannon Elementary School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Peggy has the heart of a true educator. She engages students to actively participate in virtual learning opportunities. While working with children, she has a positive outlook and innovative lessons. She welcomes collaboration and is consistent with her communication among staff and families. I have always known Peggy to be an incredible teacher. Virtual learning has shed another light on how wonderful she is and how dedicated she is to student success.

Cathy Hagstrom, Hamilton School District administrative assistant, was nominated by a co-worker because:

With the changes in submitting pay sheets Cathy has been extremely helpful. She responds very quickly to any question I may have when navigating the new excel spreadsheets. I have always been very forgetful when it comes to turning in my time sheet and even submit with the wrong information at times. She is always so sweet and helpful when she reaches out to me with a reminder or correction. She’s always making sure I get my paycheck 🙂 . 

Brownwyn Phillips, Woodside Elementary School second grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Bronwyn is an AMAZING co-teacher! She is very supportive, kind-hearted and always positive. Bronwyn includes every student and makes them feel valued. She believes ALL her students are capable of great accomplishments.

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

It is hard to believe that this is Nanette’s first year at Templeton. She has brought so much joy, innovation, leadership, and empathy into the classrooms at TMS. Her student centered approach can be seen, heard, and felt every day. Nanette consistently goes above and beyond in all that she does. We are very lucky to have such a strong educator on our team. Thank you for all that you do, Nanette!

Kathryn Lenz, Hamilton School District teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing, was nominated by a parent because:

Mrs. Lenz has been working with my son JJ for 7 years! She has been an advocate for his ability to hear properly in the classroom and virtually through the use of FM systems, computer attachments and collaboration with his teachers. She has attended every parent-teacher conference with us to encourage him to be his best and cheer him on when he is doing well! She genuinely cares and follows up with him on a regular basis! Thank you!

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

Michelle’s dedication to her job is unmatched. Michelle has been committed to her students. She approaches every day with a smile and a positive attitude no matter what. Michelle goes above and beyond to assist and care for all students. Michelle is a fantastic teammate and leader. She truly is an inspiration to all!

Nicole O’Connor, Templeton Middle School flex math teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Niki builds strong relationships with her students and goes the extra mile for them. That has been very evident to me during virtual learning. Thanks for your dedication!

Amanda Rittich, Lannon Elementary School second grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Amanda is such a hard worker and always makes sure her students have what they need. She is an amazing co-worker and teacher, and she is one of the most friendly people I’ve ever met!

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

Carli is a very dedicated and hardworking teacher. She has a huge heart and cares about her students so much. She goes out of her way to make sure they get what they need. Carli is a great friend and co-worker!

Jay Orlowski, Lannon Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Jay has taken on distance learning head first and jumped into a new world with a positive attitude and determination. Jay always does what is best for his students, and he always has a helping hand for his Kindergarten team and LannFam!

Ann Tamblingson, Woodside Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Thank you Mrs. Tamblingson for all your support. I appreciate how well organized your weekly schedules and zoom calls are. My daughter lights up when she sees your story time videos and when you comment on her school work. Thank you again so much!

Joseph Sciortino, Hamilton High School math teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

I am so impressed with the teaching, feedback, and communication that Mr. Sciortino has provided his math students and parents this semester. He goes above and beyond to make sure everyone is informed. He sets the bar high and his students want to work hard for him. I appreciate that as a high school teacher, Mr. Sciortino realizes that we as parents still want/need to be informed about our child’s academics. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed. We are grateful.

Jennifer Johnson, Lannon Elementary School first grade teacher was nominated by a co-worker because:

She’s an incredible teammate to work beside and collaborate with (even virtually). Her dedication to the success of her students and their well being is honorable and definitely noteworthy! She is prepared for each day, highly respected among colleagues, models strong teaching and effective learning practices. I am blessed to work with her and continue to learn from her myself, in addition to calling her a dear friend.

Barb Seefeldt, Templeton Middle School interpreter, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Barb is so amazing at her job as interpreter! Her on the spot ideas and modifications make life so much happier for all!! With virtual teaching Barb is always there to help and answer questions on how to best support our hearing impaired student. She offers support for all our students with special needs, which is greatly appreciated!! The students and staff just love everything she does for our school. She is the best!!

Lynn Richmond, Willow Springs Learning Center kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Lynn is always an amazing teacher who works tirelessly for her students. In the time of Covid-19, she has gone above and beyond her usual excellence to find new and fun ways to teach our 4Kers. Her ability to learn new ways to teach virtually has been impressive!

Amber Schroeder, Silver Spring Intermediate School psychologist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

She went above and beyond as my first year mentor, always there to answer questions via phone or email or in person to walk me through a new situation. I so appreciate her and her expertise.

Brian Balfany, Lannon Elementary School principal, and Ann Wodarczak, Lannon Elementary School administrative assistant, were nominated by a co-worker because:

They are awesome!

Brian Balfany was also nominated individually by co-workers because:

He has gone above and beyond his duties as a principal. He has checked in with every family and teacher, we have had many conversations via video chat or the phone. Brian also checks in with us on a personal level to make sure our mental health is in a good place. This is MUCH appreciated and makes me feel important and a sense of belonging.

He has been an outstanding leader and I appreciate all his guidance, effort, understanding and humor during this difficult time.

Ann Wodarczak was also nominated individually by co-workers because:

She works so hard and is always willing to help out. Love her positive energy!

She had an awesome cardinal bird on top of her head during our Zoom staff meeting this afternoon (it was crazy hair day)! It’s hard to share these compliments aloud while we listen intently to our boss share important school and district updates!

Julie Ann Kliest, Lannon Elementary School technology teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

She’s always trying to help solve tech problems that I am experiencing, or one of my families :). She follows up too!

Jean Fero, Lannon Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-workers because:

She has helped me out in so many ways….running summer packets…and running back and forth to school to get materials ready for me.

Jean knows when students, co-workers, and parents need a smile, a hug, or some tough love. She sees a need and fills it without complaining or needing acknowledgment. We are so lucky to have her at Lannon.

Dr. Rebecca Ribar, Templeton Middle School psychologist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Becki was one of my first year mentors and was always more than willing to answer questions or help with new situations that came up. Her opinions and expertise were so helpful to me.

Katie Gleisner, Lannon Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

She has gone above and beyond for her students both in the classroom and during distance learning. She dedicated to helping her students be mindful and enjoy learning. She also makes sure her teammates get what they need and she is there to help in any way even with two kiddos at home! Keep up the amazing work, Katie! 🙂 You are incredible!

Michael Fraundorf, Maple Elementary School third grade teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Mike has gone above and beyond to connect with his students during this very challenging time of virtual teaching and learning. He has continued to provide meaningful instruction for the students and support for families as needed. He has been a wonderful communicator, and his class meetings are so fun that I wish I was in his class myself listening in. Thanks for all your hard work. We’re so appreciative of your commitment to helping kids learn and grow.

Deena AL-Wathiqui, Lannon Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

She is a hard worker and helps around the entire school. I appreciate her humor and dedication to the Lannon staff and kids.

Kim Weber, Lannon Elementary School reading specialist, was nominated co-workers because:

She has worked so hard on intervention lessons for my kiddos during distance learning and I appreciate her time, effort and expertise. My kids and I are so lucky!

Kim is always so helpful and supportive to all. She will provide honest and open feedback in a kind and caring way, helping us to improve and grow. Thank you for being amazing, Kim! I feel so lucky to have you as a teammate!

Jeff Jones, Marcy Elementary School head custodian, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Jeff always has a smile on his face and works hard to help everyone. He keeps Marcy clean and is a pleasure to work with everyday!

Audrey Gauthier, Lannon Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

She is so passionate about helping others and always presenting her best in every situation!

Sherri Morrill, Woodside and Lannon Elementary School library media specialist, was nominated by co-workers because:

Sherri has been such an amazing resource for our Lannon Staff during this time of virtual teaching and learning. She has gone above and beyond to connect with students and families and provided countless resources for staff to utilize during this time. We appreciate you Sherri!

Sherri has been amazing at answering a variety of questions, some which are not even in her job description, to help parents, students, and other staff members. She has put together amazing resources for all of us to use with quick and easy access. Her quality work, fast response to questions, and amazing lessons are greatly appreciated and enjoyed!

Sherri has been amazing at sharing various resources, her technological expertise and curriculum ideas that have been so engaging for all! She is ALWAYS so willing to help anyone – kids, teachers/staff – and with enthusiasm! We are so fortunate to have her at Lannon!

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

Kristy virtually meets with her 3rd grade class every morning and provides a wonderful opportunity for the students to connect and to answer any of their questions. Kristy has wonderful patience at these meetings and it is obvious that the kids benefit greatly from this interaction.

Lianna Brice, Lannon Elementary School music teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

She has been so kind to join and lead in SINGING “Happy Birthday” to many first grade birthday children in my classroom. She even led them in one of their concert songs once and it was fabulous to hear the children singing along with her!

Rheann Jacobs, Willow Springs Learning Center kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Rheann has been such an amazing K4 teacher for our daughter this year both before and during virtual teaching and learning. Her passion for teaching and helping kids learn and grow is evident in her communication with families and her videos for the students during this time. We miss you so much and are so appreciative of all your efforts!

Michelle Schultz, Silver Spring Intermediate School fifth grade humanities teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Michelle has gone above and beyond to keep students involved and motivated to learn during this challenging time! My son is not the easiest to motivate and yet he is always looking forward to connecting with his class and teacher!

Debbie Grove, Maple Avenue Elementary School grade third teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Debbie Grove has always been super supportive and patient with ALL students. She welcomes everyone with a smile. This year we have shared a student, and Debbie kept members of the team regularly informed about this student’s progress, concerns etc., which has been very helpful for the student’s academic performance.

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

Patty is truly dedicated to the art of reading. She is inspiring staff and students to find the love and joy of reading. Patty has her own book mobile, and it might be the coolest idea I have ever seen.

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

Amazing effort, above and beyond with our new online format. Helps students learn, comprehend and extend their thinking with our daily math postings in 4th grade.

Kim Power, Marcy Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Meeting with Mrs. Power over video is the highlight of my kindergartner’s school week. Mrs. Power has gone out of her way to make my child feel special and help keep her confidence up!

Taylor Dietz, Marcy Elementary School second grade teacher, was nominated by a parent and a co-worker because:

Taylor has gone above and beyond with the virtual learning experience! She has embraced this time of ‘safer at home’ and educated other staff and parents on ways to improve online learning for everyone. She has accepted the challenge of implementing the best resources available and transferring her knowledge of learning platforms on to the families at home to make our new norms more meaningful and less frustrating. She’s a gem!

Taylor goes above and beyond to teach and assist us in learning new technology platforms for virtual learning and always with a smile. I’m not sure how I would have survived this technology overload without her! She is a great collaborator and teammate!

Lisa Weckwerth, Marcy Elementary School special education teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Mrs. Weckwerth consistently goes above and beyond for her students. Whether it is an extra check-in just to chat during this virtual time or additional help with school work, she is always available. Her deep connection to her students is obvious. She is a wonderful resource – Hamilton District is lucky to have her!

Kaye Hunt, Marcy Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

I am beyond impressed with the material that Mrs. Hunt has provided her children with during this unprecedented time. She easily transitioned my son to online learning and has provided him with a variety of fun activities that keep his focus and allow him to grow. Mrs. Hunt is a wonderful example of a teacher that can adapt to change and continue to grow her students. She is a wonderful teacher and an all-star educator!

Jana Julka, Marcy Elementary School second grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Jana is an amazing teacher with great lesson ideas, is always willing to plan and collaborate and has helped make my transition back into the classroom smooth.

Tiffany Campbell, Marcy Elementary School second grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Tiffany’s energy and enthusiasm is contagious. She has great teaching ideas and knows how to make teaching fun! Her wealth of knowledge, friendly demeanor and sense of humor add a great dynamic to our team! She has helped to make my transition back to full-time teaching go smoothly.

Kathleen Mueller, Marcy Elementary School second grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kathi’s patience and kindness are remarkable. She loves to collaborate and share ideas. She is a team player who has the kids’ best interests at heart. Having her as a teammate has helped make my transition back into the classroom full time much easier!

Kathy Meyer, Hamilton High School math teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kelly has single-handedly changed the trajectory of success for my student!!! At the beginning of quarantine, my student was disengaged and struggling to complete basic tasks. Kelly met with him on a near daily basis and she has created beautiful reference tools to support his learning. This morning, he was able to complete his assessment independently, and, from what I could tell, near 90% accuracy. We are incredibly grateful to Kelly for her support!

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

Cannot think of a better word to describe Lori than “awesome!” She is patient, flexible, approachable and the best part is HILARIOUS. I feel very lucky to get to work with her and hope I do again in the future!

Marie Palmer, Marcy Elementary School third grade teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

I am so grateful for her patience, understanding and communication with my daughter as well as our family. This has been such a difficult transition to virtual learning for my family and we truly appreciate all of her efforts in educating our daughter.

Julie Karnthaler, Silver Spring Intermediate School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Julie is a special education paraprofessional who goes above and beyond to help her students. She is relentless in her dedication to connect with her students. She is persistent and gives over 100% when working with the students. She is kind, caring, hard-working and determined to help our students succeed.

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

Stephanie is a special education paraprofessional who works with kids with intellectual disabilities. Stephanie has such great passion for her job and students. It comes through every time she talks about the students and works with them. She consistently reaches out to teachers to collaborate to find ways to meet our students’ needs. Stephanie is positive, energetic, kind, caring, and dedicated to our students.

Tanya Selestow, Silver Spring Intermediate School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Tanya is very dedicated and committed to helping our students succeed. She looks at the whole child and puts her care, passion, and focus in helping the students succeed both in school and socially. She has great expectations for her students. I admire her determination and consistency, she doesn’t miss a beat.

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

Callie is FANTASTIC. I don’t think she ever stops working. Callie is so dedicated to delivering amazing class instruction. She connects with her students, collaborates with teachers and support staff to ensure that everyone is learning what they need to learn. Callie is organized, hard-working, and a passionate teacher.

Callie goes above and beyond for her students always. She makes deep, personal connections with her students and has terrific judgement on whether the student needs more of a nurturing, gentle or a structured, straight-up approach. I’m not sure how she’s managing to do everything she is doing during virtual learning while also juggling the needs of her own four children. Callie is MORE than just a rock star…she is a LEGEND!!

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

Cheryl is one of the most caring, compassionate, and kind individuals that I have the pleasure of knowing. She has this amazing gift of making others feel good both staff and students. She is an amazing listener. Cheryl works extremely hard to ensure that our students are getting what they need in and out of school. She’s committed to the social and emotional well being of our students and staff too.

Cynthia Dow, Templeton Middle School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

She is an amazing support to students. She is always willing to conference with them and help 1-on-1 to support their learning. I could not do what I do without her!

Julie Greenwald, Marcy Elementary School fourth grade teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Julie is a phenomenal teacher. She has engaged our daughter since day one and creates an excitement around learning that is truly amazing, both in a face-to-face environment as well as a virtual world. Her care and compassion combined with her witty sense of humor has made 4th grade an incredible experience for Eva. It is clear that Julie was made to teach and we are so grateful that Eva has had the opportunity to learn from her.

Debbie Figueroa, Hamilton High School communication arts teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Thank you for always being supportive of our daughter Katie. You were so positive during parent teacher conferences and gave great parenting advice too! Since school has been closed Mrs. Figueroa has done a great job with online learning. Thank you for encouraging Katie to be a class facilitator. Katie has said that you have given her confidence and helped with time management as well. Thank you for everything you do!

Kelly Jurasovich, Templeton Middle School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kelly is a paraprofessional who goes up and beyond what her job is. She is hardworking, kind and you have got to love the smile. She spends hours beyond her “normal” hours to make sure every student has what they need. Kelly is an awesome advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves.

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

Kelly has a great relationship with all students. She is kind and you have to love the smile. She is interactive with students and goes up and beyond what is needed to help students succeed.

Rebecca Abler, Templeton Middle School family and consumer sciences teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Becky is amazing at making modifications for students with special needs. Her heart is always there for making sure all her students are included in everything she teaches. She is great with communicating with her paraprofessionals, even when it is at 8:30 at night! She is so creative, helpful, and kind. I just love working with her and in her classroom.

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

For all of her help and countless hours she has spent working one on one with our students that are falling behind or struggling with virtual learning. She is going above and beyond and it is befitting those students and also helps us out a ton!

Tiffany Wolf, Hamilton High School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Tiffany has worked tirelessly to help make sure that our students with disabilities have adjusted to distance learning in general. Specifically she has helped me with lesson planning for a student, and work one on one with a few of our senior students who need that extra push to get through a class in order to graduate. She does all this with grace and good humor while also managing her own little ones at home. She’s making a BIG impact on our students.

Briel Bugger, Lannon Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by two co-workers because:

I have seen her go above and beyond just teaching and making this virtual learning fun!

She has really amazing and creative activities for her students. They keep her students involved and excited about school!

Jean Fero, Lannon Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

She is always willing to help! Goes above and beyond her job.

Peggy Bingen, Lannon Elementary School special education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

For being a rock star and doing a phenomenal job making contact with her students at Lannon.

Sarah Cromos, Lannon Elementary School second grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

She is a team player that works hard to make sure the needs of all her students are being met.

Molly Schapals, Lannon Elementary School fitness education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

She is building a school community through her school-wide fitness challenge and keeping it fun for students and staff during the school shutdown.

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

Amazing effort, above and beyond with our new online format. Helps students learn, comprehend and extend their thinking with our daily math postings in 4th grade.

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

She is super helpful and positive and always has a smile. Super professional!