October High Five nominations

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

Michelle is such a valuable member of our staff. She is always willing to help, offers new ideas of ways to support our students, and is a trusted team member within our math/science department. Michelle’s calm presence helps to make both students and staff feel comfortable coming to her for assistance. We are so glad to have Michelle at SSI! 

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

Sarah is an amazing addition to TMS. She consistently goes above and beyond with students’ best interests as her driving factor. Sarah is solution-oriented and a true team player. Her positive attitude and strong rapport with students is truly inspiring!

Amy Durham, Marcy Elementary School literacy interventionist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Amy is incredibly hard working and is always reflecting on how to best meet her students’ needs. She is innovative and thoughtful and a true collaborator. She has developed great relationships with students and staff and is a valued member of our Marcy community. We are lucky to have her on our team!

Beth Hess, Marcy Elementary School literacy interventionist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Beth is a thoughtful and reflective interventionist. She is always working to educate herself on different strategies and tools to, not only make herself a stronger interventionist, but also meet the diverse needs of her students. She is patient, kind, and supportive – both students and staff LOVE working with her. We are lucky to have her on our team!

Kathleen Nienow, Marcy Elementary School literacy interventionist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kathleen has a wealth of knowledge about our earliest learners. She is incredible at what she does and knows her readers well – she knows how to support and challenge her students to reach their highest abilities. We are lucky to have access to her knowledge and are lucky to have her at Marcy.

Erica Carlson, Marcy Elementary School fourth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

I very much appreciate how Erica is super organized AND super laid-back despite all the “craziness” of this year–she is a joy to work with!

Susan McMahon, Maple Avenue Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Susan has been extremely flexible with changing schedules and needs within the building. She is willing to take on small group and whole class instruction, learning new material and resources quickly to help her students learn and always does so in a positive supportive manner. Both the students and staff are very lucky to have her here at Maple!

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

Anne is a phenomenal teacher, coworker, and friend. No matter the task, she always goes above and beyond for all students and staff. She is a wonderful resource and fantastic problem solver. I know that I can go to her to help with any challenge that arises. Her positive attitude helps bring sunshine to my days!

Erin Ridosko, Maple Avenue fourth grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Erin goes above and beyond caring for her students and the people she works with. She listens with an empathetic ear, supports and guides decisions and shows genuine concern and care. She chooses to look at problems/concerns with a problem solving perspective, and keeps a positive attitude about any situation.

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

Anita adds so much value to our school community! Her passion around literacy translates to exciting book talks, digital resources for teachers, and organization of an amazing library system for our building. Anita has created a wonderful environment where the joy of reading is promoted and celebrated. She is a quiet leader that creates systems and resources for students and teachers before anyone even knows there is a need! We are SO lucky to have Anita on our team!

Dinah Krueger, Maple Avenue Elementary School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Mrs. Kreuger is amazing. She is so quick to perceive students’ needs and helps them have positive, productive experiences in my classroom. I am so very grateful that she is at our school!

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

Mindy is one of the strongest teachers I know. She expertly tailors her academic instruction to her students while also putting each child’s social emotional needs at the forefront of what she does. She advocates tirelessly for her students and is always willing to do what’s needed. Her passion and enthusiasm for teaching is evident to anyone who steps foot in her classroom.

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

Utilizing all resources to effectively execute learning styles and life lessons, Bots taught health/wellness outdoors and brought his A game. Teaching his students the impact on personal wellbeing by doing something for others, Bots and his students picked up trash around the trails in the backwoods. Thanks for the Outstanding Deed and Diligence!

Katie Cormican, Marcy Elementary School art teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Katie does an outstanding job with the art program at Marcy. Because she quietly goes about her day, she doesn’t get a lot of recognition, but she is a very dedicated, hardworking teacher who always comes up with fun, creative ways to share the joy of art with our students. The students really like her and look forward to going to art class.

Wendy Horsens, Marcy Elementary School technology integration resource teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Wendy does a great job as the technology integration teacher at Marcy. She is dedicated, organized and relates well to our students and staff. She is a valuable member of the Marcy team.

Kevin Schein, Hamilton School District custodian and grounds keeper, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kevin is nominated for his dedication and efforts to make the District Grounds look amazing.

Brian Sendzik, Hamilton School District custodian and grounds keeper, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Brian’s dedication to the District Grounds appearance shows; he has great pride in the facilities he takes care of.

Kathleen Nienow, Marcy Elementary School literacy interventionist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kathleen has taken on the challenges of providing intervention this school year with a positive attitude, open mind, and flexibility. She is an inspiring colleague!

Kristin Leaman, Willow Springs Learning Center K4 teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Mrs. Leaman is going above and beyond to keep the attention of the 4K students during virtual learning. Her enthusiasm during the live and recorded sessions are just what our little one needs to stay engaged. Thank you for your hard work!

Jana Julka, Marcy Elementary School second grade teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Mrs. Julka provides engaging, rigorous and fun activities for our 2nd grade student in a timely and easy to follow fashion. Each week we are impressed with the writing that our son is completing in class. Being able to deliver high level work in a virtual setting is not easy, and Mrs. Julka is going above and beyond. Thank you for your hard work!

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

Mrs. Fleisner has been consistently amazing, professional, and thorough in attending to our students health and well-being. She is such a natural. Templeton is so lucky to have her!

Michelle Trawicki, Marcy Elementary School principal, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Michele is one of a kind. She is reflective, supportive, thoughtful, and incredibly knowledgeable. She supports her families and staff like no other, putting them at the forefront of all of her decisions. I have never seen someone work as hard as she does. She is the bright light in this time of uncertainty and I am so thankful that she is our leader. Marcy and Hamilton are incredibly lucky to have her.

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

Not only is Bridget an amazing SPED teacher, but she is a great asset to our school. She takes charge at parent pick-up, knowing almost all parents and students names. She is a problem-solver and a wonderful person to work with.

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

Marie has taken the lead with many new initiatives during this year of COVID. She is a pioneer in meeting the needs of an in-person and virtual class. She problem-solves and always puts the needs of her students first. She is a great resource and someone I know I can go to to brainstorm and/or someone I can rely on if I need help with a challenge. We are lucky to have Marie at Marcy!

Theresa Aron, Marcy Elementary School associate kitchen employee, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Theresa has gone above and beyond in recognizing students’ individual needs. She has used visual choices and yes/no choices for one of my non verbal students after meeting him once. Thank you for being so observant and caring!

Moni Lichéy, Lannon Elementary School first grade teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

Mrs. Lichéy has gone above and beyond to provide learning materials, virtual lessons, and feedback for my daughter who missed weeks of school because of the need to quarantine. She also helped my daughter feel connected to her classmates during her absence. We are grateful for all the time and effort she has put into supporting our daughter academically and emotionally.

Barbara Larson, Silver Spring Intermediate School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Barb works very hard everyday helping students with significant needs. She gives 100% everyday. We really appreciate her commitment, positive attitude and willingness to do anything to help our students make progress.

Heather Waibel, Silver Spring Intermediate School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Heather always comes to work with a positive attitude. She is willing to help any of our students and has a wealth of skills that our students truly benefit from. Our special education department would not be as strong without her.

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

Brad has consistently stepped up as a leader during difficult circumstances the last few months and especially to start this school year, all while taking over many additional responsibilities in my absence.

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

Grace has impressively managed process and procedure changes to cafeteria servicing throughout the district. Time changes, staffing needs, and large increases in students taking hot lunch (due to federally funded free lunch for all) are just a few of the things she has helped our kitchen staff successfully navigate. She is appreciated and our students and schools have greatly benefited from the quality and consistency in our lunch program.

Kevin Richards, Lannon Elementary School custodian, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kevin’s addition to Lannon has helped maximize safety and cleanliness. He is hard-working and committed to quality work, in spite of the sometimes tedious nature of his work. Kevin’s work ethic and kindness are appreciated and contribute greatly to Lannon’s school culture.

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

Ann is the best. Literally. Her organization, ability to balance her ever-changing roles and responsibilities, and her office management and communication with stakeholders keeps Lannon afloat. She is confident and competent, yet understanding and compassionate. I appreciate all she does for Lannon as well as for the Hamilton School District. We are lucky to have her on our team!

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

Mr. Jones (Jonesy, Dr. J) does an outstanding job meeting the custodial needs of the students and staff at Marcy. He is an extremely hard worker, responsive, dependable and always has a smile for the students and staff.

Lester Nettesheim, Marcy Elementary School custodian, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Les is a very hardworking, dependable member of the custodial staff at Marcy. He is always quick to take care of whatever needs you have, he takes pride in his work, and he’s very dedicated to the Marcy staff.

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

Cathy has jumped into her new role with passion, determination, and aplomb. Her leadership as we have entered this “new way” of teaching this year has been admirable and much appreciated!

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

Ally is an integral part of the staff at Lannon. She is doing an amazing job working as a team member and collaborates closely with the staff. She is always willing to share her expertise and the students are her first priority. Her professionalism is a valuable asset to our Lannon family.

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

Corey has done an amazing job throughout the last couple of high stress weeks! I appreciate what he has done for me and for all of the students as well!

Denise McKennon, Templeton Middle School paraprofessional, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Her workload is extra tough this year, but she never complains. She gets it done & helps others when needed.

Jenny Galbavy, Hamilton High School health room paraprofessional, was nominated by a parent because:

I appreciate that Jenny goes the extra mile for my kids. I had to add a medication time for my child because of an after school activity and she made it really easy to figure it out and got it taken care of that day. She’s been very patient with my daughter, who is a new student, getting used to stopping in to take her medication. She is always courteous and respectful and gets the job done in a timely manner. Thank you Jenny!

Nikki Hammer, Hamilton High School special education teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

I didn’t know about this High Five service or I would have done this much sooner. Ms. Hammer was my son’s IEP teacher in Biology class 2nd semester 2019-2020 school year. When the COVID close down happened, my son was failing the class. She spent over 8 hours on a weekend to get my son caught up and helped him through the rest of the year on Zoom everyday, sometimes twice a day. He ended up with a C- and was on the honor roll for the first time. I will never be able to thank her enough!

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

Without Ms. O’Neil, I don’t know if my son would make it through and graduate. She keeps him up on his assignments and if they are missing, she helps him remember to catch up. She stays after school with him for an hour and has been doing this for the last 2 years. She gives him incentives he loves and wants to work for. She helps him stay organized with special folders that are labeled to help him. He respects her greatly as do I. Thank you so much Ms. O’Neil!

Justin Gumm, Hamilton High School fitness education teacher, was nominated by a parent because:

The coach has given my son an opportunity that I am so appreciative for. My son has some social issues, but his knowledge about football is crazy good. He saw past my son’s problems and saw the enthusiasm he has about football and has allowed him to be an equipment manager. This has and will make a huge difference in my son’s life. He is in the DVR program for helping kids with issues get jobs and they are super happy that he is getting an actual kind of job experience. Thank you coach!

Ann Tamblingson, Woodside Elementary School kindergarten teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Ann has gone above and beyond to help her families (and co-workers) navigate virtual learning opportunities through organized planning, clear communication, and a positive attitude.

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

Bobbie is the heart of Silver Spring. She shares warmth, patience, and kindness is every situation regardless of how busy she is and she is BUSY. Since we opened, she has consistently learned new skills and used her prior knowledge of working in a school to help better the lives of all who are a part of SSI. This summer, Bobbie worked diligently, well passed her normal hours, to help us reschedule kids and make sure all students had what they needed. We are grateful for her.

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

Katie teaches virtual Kindergarten with me and has been so helpful. I have never met her in person but feel like she is one of my best friends. She’s always there to listen, share ideas, and help out.

Tami Harpster, Maple Avenue Elementary School reading specialist, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Tami is always ready to help with a problem or concern. She always follows up to make sure that everything is working. She is always supportive and will always go the extra mile to make sure all of your questions have been answered. Tami is awesome at her job!

Kristy Laurich, Silver Spring Intermediate School math and science teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kristy has been an outstanding virtual teacher, who is building her students SEL as well as math skills. She is doing this under extreme pressure with an overload of students while recreating digital lessons and teaching her 4-7th grade virtual math students. She actually teaches dual grades in the same class period and works LONG hours putting in conscious effort to make her students’ lessons engaging and rigorous. An amazing amount of gratitude goes out to her!

Marquea Goike, Silver Spring Intermediate School math and science teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Marquea is an amazing virtual teacher! She is our Google expert and very knowledgeable in all areas of her expertise. She provides engaging lessons and helps our team run smoothly.

Dawn Haren, Silver Spring Intermediate School humanities teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Dawn has been a revered member of the 6th grade Humanities team! She is extremely thoughtful and is a deep thinker regarding creating lessons, building relationships with her teammates and students. Her expertise in several areas of academics, as well as SEL, makes her a teammate that I (and others) go to for support, ideas, collaboration and friendship. She deserves more than a high five!!!

Cathy Romanski, Maple Avenue second grade teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Cathy has always been a teammate who brings inventive and exciting ideas to the group (not just her school but districtwide). Her knowledge and background in district teams, also brings our thoughts to the district at large. Her kind, helpful, caring mannerisms with students, parents and staff has led her to be a teacher who is sought out for advice and friendship. She deserves more than a high five, but wanted to recognize her for being absolutely OUTSTANDING!

Joseph Sciortino, Hamilton High School math teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Joe always puts the students first. He does a great job communicating, making connections and building relationships with all of his students. He is also a team player that will do whatever it takes to improve the team.

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

John is one of the hardest workers I know. His positive outlook and attitude have a profound effect on the students and co-workers he comes in contact with. The relationships he builds, along with his knowledge on strength training, character development and nutrition, stay with students long after they graduate. Our district is blessed to have him!

Michelle Schultz, Silver Spring Intermediate School humanities teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Michelle is a knowledgeable, caring, and dedicated teacher. She puts students at the forefront of everything she does. Her lessons are well planned and the language that she uses to deliver her instruction is purposeful and done with intention. She is one of the most reflective teachers I know, making adjustments and modifying each lesson to fit the needs of learners from different classes. Michelle is a collaborative leader and her students are some of the luckiest at SSI.

Devon Hauser, Marcy Elementary School fitness education teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Devon consistently goes above and beyond when creating new innovative physical education activities and lessons. This year his positive attitude has been contagious.

Tyler Schoemann, Marcy Elementary School music teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Tyler consistently goes above and beyond when creating new innovative music education activities and lessons. He has been working closely with our physical education teacher to create meaningful lessons. This year his positive attitude has been contagious.

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

Dana has joined the CA Department this year as the 100% virtual teacher and is doing an amazing job with her students. She has made connections not only with the students but also with the department. She is enthusiastic and that shows in her conversations with teachers and students alike!

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

I appreciate Brian’s continual support and collaboration! He is always willing to problem solve through any topic. Brian digs in to help with planning, reports and answering questions for both parents and staff. The bonus is he always knows how to add humor and levity to any situation!

Amy Yellin, Marcy Elementary School reading specialist was nominated by a co-worker because:

Amy helps manage our days here at Marcy! She is willing to step in and help with anything. She always has a positive attitude and is a problem solver! I appreciate her willingness to support teachers and have crucial conversations. Everyone loves working with Amy!

Lori Schlapman, Marcy Elementary School guidance counselor, was nominated by a co-worker because:

There are so many reasons to nominate Lori! She keeps Marcy balanced! Lori is willing to jump in to help out in any situation! She has a can do attitude and is glad to support teachers and students. Anyone that works with Lori sings her praises!

Kelly Rouse, Marcy Elementary School administrative assistant, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Kelly has done an amazing job answering a million what if questions. She has guided both parents and staff through the countless questions that have popped up this year. She has done this with patience and grace! I appreciate her help in supporting our Marcy community.

Colleen LaBlanc, Hamilton High School family and consumer sciences teacher, was nominated by a co-worker because:

Ms. LaBlanc is so flexible and open to whatever gets thrown her way. We have had just a few things pop up and I so appreciate how willing she is to come to a solution and just let me do what I feel is best for myself and my student. THANK YOU COLLEEN!

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

Katie has adapted a rigorous math curriculum to meet the needs of 2020 students and continues to beautify TMS with her lovely and inspiring bulletin boards. She does it all!