Celebration of Excellence Awards
Kimberly Hendrickson-Knipp, HealthPlace 101
Nomination submitted by Robin Jackson , Carolyn Walborn, Arbie Brown, Peggy Galimberti
"Recently the Southeast Alliance schools (Bryant, Pattengill, Allen, Mitchell, Pittsfield and Carpenter) along with HealthPlace 101 sponsored a SAFE Kids Summer Event. Well, more accurately, HealthPlace 101 developed, coordinated and produced this event with the encouragement and support of the schools. Kimberly Hendrickson-Knipp of HealthPlace 101 was the moving force behind this most successful occasion. She put in untold hours planning, making contacts with outside agencies, developing the logistics, providing the materials, reminding us of meetings and duties, prodding us most tactfully and diplomatically, and just plain laboring to birth a wonderful family happening that was both well attended and well appreciated by all. Anyone who has ever worked on an event of this size and scope knows the many obstacles and pitfalls that must be negotiated along the way. Kim was the lever that made things happen. She had a lot of help, yes, but not near as much as she would have liked, we're sure. She did not give up on those of us who offered the least would have liked, we're sure. She did not give up on those of us who offered the least but instead remained optimistic and found other ways to get the job done. For her hard work, her commitment, her enthusiasm, and her acceptance of the circumstances with which she had to work - for all that and the excellence of her vision, process, and product - we nominate Kim Knipp for the Celebration of Excellence award."
Penny Cianciola, Teacher, King Elementary
Nomination submitted by Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Weiss
"Our daughter, Alexa entered Mrs. Cianciola's third grade class this year with a medical condition associated with a 10% mortality rate. Through Mrs. Cianciola's consistent kindness and compassion toward her class, Alexa has not only excelled academically but also socially. Despite Alexa's childhood struggles, her hours spent in Mrs. Cianciola's classroom have been happy and secure times. Mrs. Cianciola's professional integrity and personal commitment to providing exceptional education to all students defines her teaching career and has been previously recognized in a letter to Superintendent Dr. John Simpson on February 12, 1998."
Dan Ezekiel, Teacher, Forsythe Middle School
Nomination submitted by Noel Ann Winkler and Catherine Shaw
"I would like to nominate Dan Ezekiel, sixth grade science teacher at Forsythe Middle School, for a Celebrating the Excellence award. There is such an excellent teaching staff at Forsythe that it is difficult to single out one staff member, but the proximity of Dan's room to the Media Center has allowed me almost daily observation of his classroom and teaching style for the past 12 years. Dan creates an innovative learning environment where students are active participants. With a mixture of technology, hands-on, and cooperative learning, Dan manages to instill energy and excitement into his classroom. Dan often keeps the door between his classroom and the Media Center open, and we observe the focused bustle of excited students engaged in various activities.
Although I have never heard Dan raise his voice, he quietly projects his enthusiasm for his subject into everything he does. Dan's dedication to teaching is apparent in the hours of work he puts into the Forsythe Science Fair each year and in his continued coaching of the Forsythe Knowledge Master Open teams, which receive top rankings year after year. It is truly an inspiration to have Dan on our team!"
"Dan believes every moment is a teachable moment and every student is an able learner. This is demonstrated daily in his classroom teaching, which is inclusive, challenging, purposeful and fun. It is also shown through his extra-curricular work, coaching Knowledge Master Open, developing and leading the 6th grade ropes course field trip, regular attendance at after-school and evening activities, and organization of the Forsythe Science Fair."
George Settles, Mechanical Maintenance, Balas I
Nomination submitted by Sheri Judkins
"I oversee the Community Ed and Rec instructional swim programs and water aerobics. We have a lot of pool use and also problems (chemical, water temperature, closings). George always goes the extra mile to get the pools in proper working condition, in a short amount of time, working late, and driving out of his way to "check on things." He is committed to insuring a good experience and knows how critical the pools are. He has helped me out more times than I can count and therefore stopped a pool from being closed and our classes from being cancelled. We should all thank him for a job well done!"
Karen Aungst, Teacher, Northside
Nomination submitted by Anne Subotic
"I am nominating Mrs. Aungst for exceptional recognition because I feel she displays great patience, understanding, discipline and inspiration. She has the unique ability of patiently responding to a dozen children's needs at once. She displays great acceptance and understanding in recognizing each child's unique behavior and abilities. Mrs. Aungst exercises a 'quiet' form of discipline in which she doesn't raise her voice. I believe a true testament of how inspiring a teacher can be is when most of the children in her classes tell you they want to be a teacher when they grow up - just like Mrs. Aungst."
Jeff Willets, Teacher, Ann Arbor Open @ Mack
Nomination submitted by Susan D. Hartman
"For several years, Jeff has been dedicated above and beyond his regular duties to prepare and produce amazing performances and concerts. This year, he devoted 2 months of Saturday mornings to rehearsals of Pirates of Penzance. He worked with two separate choirs (5-6 and 7-8) to prepare this marvelous production and put it all together with costumes, props, dancing, singing and amazing passion. Last year he led the 6-7 choir in HMS
Pinafore and the year before, the 6th graders in Trial by Jury - all with double leads, to give more people an opportunity. This is in addition to 'regular' choral work and the end-of-the-year (grades K-8) concert in West Park on June 13th."
Nomination submitted by Tom Jensen
"Mrs. O'Connor will do anything for all of the students in the Class of 2002. She goes far beyond the duties of the job to do anything she can for us. She truly cares about us - whether she's helping Student Council members plan a community service project or taking the initiative to buy a backpack for a low-income student. She helps everyone with a friendly smile. Noone else makes everyone feel so welcome, and she is a tremendous asset to the Junior class."
Mary Wigton, Teacher, Ann Arbor Open
Nomination submitted by Jo and Doug Julius
"Mary is the Curriculum Leader for Social Studies at Open, and she has led the middle school students to their first award-winning placements in statewide competitions, including Future Cities and Robofest 2001. She is untiring in her dedication, giving up free time and weekends, inspiring her students to that level of commitment to a project. Mary's passion for her work is exceeded only by her humility and her love for the students."
Jody Linn, Food Service Volunteer, Thurston
Nomination submitted by Ron Collins
"Jody Linn has been a parent volunteer, PTO participant, School Improvement member and chairperson. In every role, she has had the welfare of children as her primary concern. Jody sees a need and works tirelessly to solve the problem. She is an invaluable member of our school family."
Wendi Parks, Secretary, Ann Arbor Abbot
Nomination submitted by Monica Harrold
"If you look under the word secretary in the dictionary, with a picture, it will say "see Wendi." Ms. Parks is the personification of all that each of us would want in a school secretary. As the first person to meet and greet parents, students and staff, Wendi sets an incredibly consistent, positive mood in our building. She is familiar with all of the Abbot community, and will often be the person we all rely upon to make sure of names of children and parents. In addition to creating a welcoming front office atmosphere, Wendi works closely with me and the staff on everything from budget and ordering to copying and 'icing' children's pains away. We all appreciate Wendi and believe she exemplifies what you want to celebrate with the Only in Ann Arbor award."
Joyce Followell, Media Specialist, Pittsfield
Nomination submitted by Marisa Lagrange
"Mrs. Followell consistently goes out of her way to teach and enrich the lives of her students. Not only does Mrs. Followell maintain an extraordinarily well-stocked media center, she also teaches the computer classes to most of the school. She continuously supplements classroom curriculum. Her dedication to her students is commendable."
Jeff Ford, Turf Manager, Buildings and Grounds
Nomination submitted by Jane Bennett
"Jeff is the turf manager for both Huron and Pioneer High Schools. He is one of the hardest working guys in the District. He takes a lot of professional pride in his work. Jeff makes an effort to keep abreast of the latest techniques in turf management. He uses his ingenuity to find good solutions to problems that are cost effective for the District. He is friendly and easy to get along with. He is also creative, energetic and dedicated. Every single day he stives to make our District’s athletic fields safer for the kids to play on. Our coaches respect and appreciate his efforts. Jeff sets the standard for others. To use athletic jargon, I think Jeff Ford is one of the District’s ‘Most Valuable Players’ and one of our unsung heroes. He deserves to be recognized."
Adrienne Garner, Teacher of Hearing Impaired, Forsythe
Nomination submitted by Barbara Stark-Nemon
"I have mentored Adrienne Garner, teacher of the hearing impaired at Forsythe Middle School, for the last three years. She is not only an outstanding teacher, but a valued colleague with an unerring sense of respect, humanity and understanding for both children and the adults with whom she works. Her knowledge of deafness and skills as an educator are rare indeed in a teacher so young. She meets the considerable challenges that are a part of her job with grace and a positive outlook.”
Karen Schulte, Professional Growth & Development, Balas II
Nomination submitted by Carol Baliff
"Karen Schulte is one of the most knowledgeable (yet ‘learning-daily’) staff members of AAPS. Other staff, parents and students are drawn to her quiet, sincere nature and high ethics. She has always been someone to count on! Working with her means getting the job done in a timely and equitable manner. Her skills and assets are her first draw; but her compassion and honesty keep your friendship or working relationship with her continuing on a high note!”
Cindy Wise-Johengen, Teacher, Allen
Nomination submitted by Barbara Loomis
Mrs. J, as she is affectionately called by her students, is truly an outstanding teacher. If you enter her classroom you will be greeted by a student who politely asks to take your coat. You note immediately that the students in her large class are respectful toward each other,k their teacher and all other adults. But these are just a few of the visible signs of Mrs. J’s personal work with each one of her students, work which bolsters self-esteem and stimulates each to become the best person he or she can be. She is continually challenging her students in every possible way: to score 100% on the spelling test, to make an outstanding ‘teaching’ cover for a unit folder, to read books and make reports with wonderful visual displays, to write and illustrate their own books, to THINK and ‘make connections’ between all areas of learning. She carries her students along with her in her vivid re-telling of historical events, making those events come alive in the imagination. She challenges them to do their best on the MEAP, while bolstering their confidence in themselves to do so. She lets them know in no uncertain terms that she is proud of them, and recognizes the achievements of each. She has earned the trust and respect of students and parents alike. She is a wonderful teacher.”
Rory Calhoun, Assistant Food Service Director, Pioneer
Nomination submitted by Nancy Boykin
“Rory has been the Assistant Food Service Director for Ann Arbor Public Schools for five years. As Assistant Director, he has been responsible for overseeing the catering program throughout the district. In this capacity, he has touched the lives of many people. Rory strives to be helpful to his customers and goes out of his way to ensure that their functions are successful. He always has a spirit of willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Because of his personality and easy-going attitude, Rory is fun to be around and easy to work with. His dedication to the District should be commended.”
Sally Freeman, Third Grade Teacher, Angell
Nomination submitted by Sue Bright
“I would like to submit Sally Freeman, third grade teacher at Angell School for an Achievement in Excellence Award. Sally not only is an award-winning teacher; always up-to-date on current methods and research, but also has been involved with a multitude of projects and units across the district. Sally has the rare ability to link subjects across the curriculum in a meaningful way and then share her expertise with others. Students and teachers all over Ann Arbor have benefited by Sally’s knowledge, dedication and generous spirit. She is not only a wonderful educator but a lifelong learner. I have learned a great deal from her!”
Michael Grace, Director of Jazz Program, Community
Nomination submitted by John B. Boshoven
“Recently, the Ann Arbor Community Foundation honored Mike Grace in their ‘Spotlight for Community Service’ for his ‘dedication to making Washtenaw County a better place to live.’ Mike and the Community High Jazz program are no strangers to honors. This National Disney Teacher of the Year has lead these great Ann Arbor kids to win or take top honors at every competitive festival they have entered, including Western Michigan University, Aquinas College, Cincinnati and MusicFest Canada as well as the Ann Arbor 'Annie Award’ in the Performing Arts. Community High’s Jazz Ensembles have traveled throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and the former Soviet Union. They open up for great visiting jazz artists, and recently preceded Pioneer High Alumna Ken Burns in a local appearance. The CHS Jazz Bands are synonymous with the quality and creativity of the Ann Arbor Public Schools. I join with the many before me to salute and appreciate Ann Arbor’s Jazz Ambassador, Michael Grace.”
Bill Harris, Teacher/Planning Center, Scarlett Middle School
Nomination submitted by Susan Buchan
“Bill Harris’ patience, humor and sincerity keep Scarlett students and staff willing to make our school a better place. Bill works tirelessly helping students make decisions that will improve their academic opportunities and lead to smoother living in all aspects of school life.”
Ruth Williams, Principal, Lawton
Nomination submitted by Lawton Staff
"We would like to recommend that Mrs. Ruth Williams receive the Award for Excellence. She exemplifies teamwork and collaboration as she tirelessly makes sure that schools work for students and teachers. Most of all, we value her integrity and commitment to open communication which demonstrates her sincere respect for the intelligence and competence of the teaching staff and the Lawton community. Her candor in communicating openly and honestly, combined with her efforts to acquire the information teachers need to make thoughtful, informed decisions is unique and much appreciated by the teachers who work with her."
Betty Kirksey, Student Support Services, Huron
Nomination submitted by Oinda Lutzeier
"Betty Kirksey's extensive knowledge of special education law, programs, and services has made her an essential member of Student Support Services for the past 11 years. She is widely respected by both staff and parents as she advocates for special education students and facilitates placement of the individual student in the most appropriate setting. She makes herself available to both parents and staff outside of the formal IEPC process and responds to requests for information in an extremely timely and efficient manner."
Cheryl R. Jones
Nomination submitted by Phyllis M. Greenley
"Cheryl Jones has taught my two daughters when they were in second grade at King School. (Sarah is now in 8th grade and Anna is in 4th grade). Mrs. Jones is a teacher who brings her love and enthusiasm for learning and sharing knowledge to her students. She has an ability to really get to know each child and discover something special about them. Then she manages to help nurture that talent and make every child feel talented and special in their own way. For example, my youngest daughter became quite the creative writer under Mrs. Jones' tutelage. Mrs. Jones made sure that Anna knew she had a gift for creative writing and spurred Ann on to greater efforts in this endeavor. While Anna was having difficulty with Math that year, she knew that she was excelling in another area with her writing. To this day, Anna writes a vacation letter to Mrs. Jones each summer and Anna looks forward to Mrs. Jones' lengthy response. This is a teacher who has touched the lives of many children during her teaching career and is certainly worthy of this award."
Mary Ellen Wible, Teacher, Clague
Nomination submitted by Michelle Machiele
"As part of the Clague Middle School Year 2000 Beautification Project, Mrs. Wible organized her Advisory class to brainstorm solutions. The students measured the courtyard, selected tables and benches, wrote successful fundraising letters and applied for 2 grants. Mrs. Wible demonstrated leadership and school spirit, modeling to the students and encouraging them to make a difference during their 8th grade year at Clague School. Clague received a $2000 grant from the Ann Arbor Area Foundation."
Lynda Berg, Fine Arts Coordinator (Dicken Music Teacher at time of nomination)
Nomination submitted by Steve Coron
“Lynda Berg has consistently exhibited the highest standard in teaching vocal music and performance at our school. The level of excellence in her students is exemplary! She integrates all curricula and multicultural lessons in her program, as well as serving as curriculum coordinator for the district! She is the ‘Grande Dame’ of music education in Ann Arbor.”
Shirley Martin, Huron, Head Cashier
Nomination submitted by Pat Bisgaier
“Shirley has been a Food Service employee at Huron for over 22 years. I see her as the ‘backbone’ of the Huron kitchen. She upholds high standards in her daily work. She’ll work as hard and long as it takes to get the job done correctly. She’s always willing to lend a helping hand to others as well as an ear to anyone who needs someone to listen. She is well-liked by staff and students.”
Maria Prince-Montri, Pioneer, Teacher
Nomination submitted by Lyn Rein, Wendy Day, and Sunnie Korzdorfer
“We would like to take this opportunity to tell you about the qualities and dedication of Ms. Maria Prince-Montri. She is a teacher at Pioneer High School, and has been for the past 6 years. During her tenure at this school, she has endeared herself to students and staff. Ms. Prince is one of the most compassionate teachers I know, and her students feel comfortable and at ease with her. They frequently solicit her help and advice with both personal and academic problems. She is tremendously dedicated to her students and spends quality time preparing lessons and developing activities to encourage and interest her students in the literature she is teaching. She is continually working to expand and revise the lessons she already has, and always has activities planned well in advance. In a department with seven new teachers, she is unfailingly generous with her materials, and is always willing to share in lessons of her experience. Both her professional and personal attention to the new staff has made their transition into this enormous high school more comfortable and successful. We would like to see her hard work and compassionate nature recognized and made public. She definitely deserves this recognition.”
Deborah Smith, Pattengill, Media Specialist
Nomination submitted by Nannette Kwiatek
“Deborah is very responsive to building needs. Her follow-through is consistent and equitable to all staff. She helps bring literature alive through a variety of activities, including an annual Book Character Day. She works tirelessly on our school newspaper, The Pattengill Puma Press. Deborah exemplifies the consummate professional, balancing a variety of roles and challenging students. She makes it look easy, when in fact her job involves constant 'juggling'.”
Deborah Foster, Abbot, Teacher Clerk
Nomination submitted by Monica Harrold
“Debbie has served the Abbot community in a number of capacities. Currently she is our Teacher Clerk. Often this position’s responsibility is nebulous and many people ask her to do things that don’t fall under her ‘job description.’ Debbie’s most endearing quality is that whatever she’s asked to do, she does it willingly and with a smile. Somehow still, she manages not to allow herself to be overly taxed. I look forward to Debbie’s presence each morning and the pleasant greeting I receive each day. Debbie is a big part of the reason the Abbot office is such a genial place for students, parents and staff.”
Christy Schneemilch, Scarlett, 8th Grade Advisor & Science
Nomination submitted by Maggie Hansma
“Ms. Schneemilch and her 8th grade students offer up breakfast almost every Friday for the Scarlett staff. The proceeds go to various charities such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Humane Society and Red Cross for flood relief. At Christmastime, they donated over $400.00 for some of Scarlett’s needy families. The students are so enthusiastic and love working together to benefit others. Originally, Ms. Schneemilch offered breakfast every other Friday, but so many students wanted to participate that she started doing it every Friday so that all the students could have the opportunity to participate. In addition to all these extra-curricular activities, Ms. Schneemilch is also an excellent Physical Science teacher who offers many ‘hands-on’ labs to enhance their learning experiences.”
Dave Szczygiel, Coordinator – Balas II, Environmental Education
Nomination submitted by Kelly McGowan
“Dave Szczygiel is inspirational and very knowledgeable. He is able to reach students with his passion for the environment.”
Terra Webster, Angell, Teacher
Nomination submitted by Dr. Stephen Uche
“Ms. Terra Webster is an exceptional teacher who has exhibited in some special and unique ways, a penchant for students’ excellence and parental participation. She has an inexhaustive commitment to finding solutions for students’ improvement – in and outside the classroom. She has no limits to what she can give to make a student better, happier and successful.
My daughter who is currently a 6th grader at Tappan was in Ms. Webster’s class two years ago. She (my daughter) still sings her praises and in her small mind, uses Ms. Webster as a rod for measuring other teachers’ abilities. However, I came to observe Ms. Webster closely when we worked as a team in an after-school program called ‘Parents Partnering for Excellence’ at Angell Elementary School. It was, in fact, Ms. Webster who hatched this idea when she alerted some parents to the fact that the 1998/99 MEAP performance of African-American children at Angell was far below those of their Asian, Caucasian and Hispanic counterparts in all the tested subject areas. Some concerned parents took up the challenge and worked with Ms. Webster and a few other teachers on this project for two academic sessions, meeting twice every week to help the children, and to demonstrate our parental support in their academic pursuit. There was a marked improvement in not only the academics of the children but also in their personal social self-esteem.
Based on these and more, I highly recommend Ms. Terra Webster to the Ann Arbor Board of Education for recognition in its staff recognition program.”
Joseph DeMarsh, Tappan, Orchestra Director
Nomination submitted by Kathleen Ford
“Joe directs the orchestras at Tappan with a combination of firmness, humor and caring. He sets high standards and the students meet them. Tappan Cadet and Concert Orchestras recently attended Festival, and came away with straight ones, the highest score. He goes above and beyond the call of duty in many ways, large and small. It is my pleasure to have him as a colleague.”
Gennifer Lawson, Balas I, Custodian
Nomination submitted by Judy Franklin, Valeda Lee, Karen Mimikos
“Gennifer is one of those people who enjoys being of service to others. She always goes above and beyond the call of duty and does whatever it takes to get the job done. Besides accomplishing the task at hand, Gennifer manages to do it with a smile. Her kind ways, willingness to help and her gentle demeanor make her so pleasant to work with. When she is given an assignment, you have full knowledge that it will be done to completion and perfection. We appreciate Gennifer’s hard work and wonderful personality in and around our office. Thanks, Gennifer!”
Jane Rossi, Dicken, Media Specialist
Nomination submitted by Michael D. McIntosh
“Mrs. Jane Rossi exemplifies excellence in education in her role as media specialist at Dicken Elementary. She operates a media center, which strives and succeeds to meet the many divergent needs of both staff and students. Her creation of Reading Night six years ago, and now a Dicken tradition, is an example of her dedication to create lifelong learners by engendering students with a love of reading. She arranges for a storyteller to be present at each of these nights who enlightens children of the further possibilities of reading and its importance. Given the recent rise of technology it is not surprising to note that Mrs. Rossi has been instrumental in its application within the Dicken community. By establishing contact with Mr. Jeff Kupperman from the University of Michigan, Mrs. Rossi has made possible unique learning opportunities for the children of Dicken through their involvement in ‘Common Place,’ a web based interactive project. Mrs. Rossi is presently working with Ms. Levine, 1st grade at Dicken, in a successful effort to enhance the learning possibilities for the children of Ms. Levine’s class through this project. Another of these unique opportunities: ‘Young Researches,’ which is indirectly connected to the Interactive Communications & Simulations program from the University of Michigan, resulted in Mrs. Rossi and Mrs. Carol DeKeyzer, a Dicken colleague, presenting from their project last year at the MACUL Conference where their work was well received. Mrs. Rossi and Mrs. DeKeyzer continue, now in their fifth year, of making technology-related research available to the children of Dicken. These are just two examples of how Mrs. Rossi has brought Dicken to the forefront of integrating technology into the curriculum in a meaningful way. Recently having the opportunity to attend I3 training with Mrs. Rossi, her commitment to opening as many avenues as possible for applying the training to the delivery of curriculum was abundantly clear. One of the trainers Mr. Floyd Braid commented on the outstanding use of technology when he discovered the above mentioned ongoing projects and the students use of the internet to advance their educational goals. All team members of the I3 training called upon Mrs. Rossi for assistance during this training and she responded with insightful and helpful comments.
I’ve personally experienced her willingness to assist in the presentation of classroom curriculum when we worked together on a scaffolded lesson centering on students using technology to web/map stories. Mrs. Rossi gave up her planning time to team teach in the lab. The student benefit was clear. She also employed the use of media center time for portions of the scaffolded lesson.
Mrs. Patty Hendricks was introduced to the Dicken staff last year to assist us with technology related issues as a result of Mrs. Rossi’s ongoing efforts to seek out additional support for staff and students.
Having attended the Wallon Institute last year, Mrs. Rossi returned and immediately began to implement the knowledge she gained there. She has been using strategies from Strategies That Work despite the fact that she has not yet had the chance to undergo the district Literacy training. She is already presenting elements of this district effort to the students through her own initiative and study. Along with other media specialists, she is helping to form a book club to assist the spread of literacy throughout the district using Strategies That Work.
Mrs. Rossi has served on numerous building committees during her tenure at Dicken, always adding valuable insights to any given objective. This nomination would be incomplete without mention of how Mrs. Rossi mentors other educators. She often gives her planning time to aid developing teachers with areas of concern. Having an experienced educator share insights is invaluable when the task facing teachers grows more complex each day. Mrs. Rossi is a team player in every true sense of the word. All of us at Dicken benefit from having this talented and dedicated individual present in the lives of both children and staff.
There is no doubt that I have left out some of the many qualities that make Mrs. Jane Rossi an outstanding candidate to receive one of these awards. She aids any teacher in the building needing assistance in whatever manner she can. I sincerely hope that you will consider Mrs. Jane Rossi for recognition of her many contributions to the district. She signifies the words professional excellence!”
Carolyn Thompson, Pioneer, Secretary
Nomination submitted by Henry Caudle
“I have been an educator for over 30 years. I have been a school administrator for over twenty of these years. I have had the opportunity and pleasure to work with many competent and caring staff members down through the years, and I have worked with at least ten different secretaries as an administrator during these years. I have been a part of the Ann Arbor Public School system and Pioneer High School since August 2000. I am quite pleased with our district, and in particular Pioneer High School. I am also very pleased to know and work with my secretary, Carolyn Thompson.
Mrs. Thompson has been with the Ann Arbor Public Schools since 1983, and has been a vital part of Pioneer High School since 1989. Her dedication, knowledge, unselfish loyalty to Pioneer High School and the District, are beyond compare. As a new administrator in the district, I am most fortunate to have an assistant as informed, competent, courteous, and efficient as Mrs. Thompson. She works very well with students, staff, and parents in a variety of circumstances. Her knowledge of school and district procedures and policies is a tremendous help to all. Her honest and caring personality is a joy to all with whom she works. I have worked with many excellent administrative assistants down through the years. Mrs. Thompson is at the top of my list. Our District is most fortunate to have loyal, dedicated, and competent employees as I find in her. For these and many more reasons, I without hesitation and with great pleasure nominate Mrs. Carolyn Thompson for recognition in the ‘Celebrating the Excellence Only In Ann Arbor Public Schools’ recognition program. She is most deserving of recognition from out Board of Education!”
Sandy Kreger, Burns Park, Teacher
Nomination submitted by Cynthia Page-Bogen
“Sandy is an outstanding teacher who adores teaching and is extremely skilled at and dedicated to her craft. She has a very content student body because they know the depth of how much she cares about them and because they respect her. She dedicates countless extra hours planning for her creative classroom. Her parent body agitates for her to loop with her class because they are so impressed by her as a teacher. She is extremely supportive of other teachers and works well with all. She is a master teacher to be proud of.”
Joseph W. Riley, Ph. D., Balas II, Science Coordinator
Nomination submitted by Janet Kahan
“Joseph W. Riley, Science Coordinator, exemplifies excellence in his service to the Ann Arbor Public Schools. For more than a decade, he has demonstrated remarkable focus on creating an exemplary science program. This program has succeeded in offering every student multiple opportunities to behave and think like scientists, as they learn from a rich array of experiences. Joe has created a strong sense of community among teachers of science as evidenced by the numerous teachers who contributed to the start-up of the program, and those who continue to offer time and advice. A long collaboration with the Language Arts Department has resulted in a strong sequence of informational reading and writing opportunities in science. And he has been on-time and on-budget for every project, every year!”
Jane Taylor, Logan, Teacher
Nomination submitted by Ann Taylor-Pratt
“Each year, Jane organizes the International Festival in March. This event requires much organization and planning on Jane’s part. The festival includes food from around the world, art activities and demonstrations reflecting the many different cultures. This event draws the Logan population as well as others from the Ann Arbor community. It shows the unique diversity of the Ann Arbor schools.”
Lori Wojtowicz, Huron, Teacher/Peer Facilitator
Nomination submitted by Rich Ballard
“Ms. Wojtowicz is an incredible classroom teacher. She teaches African-American Literature, English AC, and Peer Facilitating. Her classrooms are models of involved students actively engaged in learning. In spite of the wide academic range of students, she provides exciting, innovative classroom experiences for her students. She was a founder of the Peer Facilitating program and has helped create a program that not only has provided invaluable service to Huron, but also has been a model for other programs. In addition to her classroom experience, she was also a founder of the widely acclaimed US Peer Program at Huron.”
Arbedella Brown, Title I Teacher, Carpenter
Nomination submitted by Terry McViccar
“Mrs. Brown is respected by everyone in the Carpenter community. Each year she develops and orchestrates parent programs which bring the whole learning community together. Her zeal for her work is inspirational. To name a few of her accomplishments, she has developed a parent lending library and has been integral to Carpenter’s after school and summer programs. She is always on the lookout for ways to bring the larger community to Carpenter through assemblies and special events. She is a member and chair of several committees, the SIT, and as a member of the student study team, she can always be relied upon to bring her expertise in developing plans for students. Mrs. Brown is a highly skillful teacher who continues to enhance her teaching and reflects best practices through professional development. It has been an honor to work with a teacher of the caliber of Mrs. Brown. She sets her standards high and then reaches just a little higher.”
Julie DeGraffenreid, Library Clerk, Allen, King, Logan and Thurston
Nomination submitted by Lydia Trachet, Regina Howard, Terry Madden, and Marge Rutila
“Julie is the library clerk for four elementary schools, Allen, King, Logan and Thurston. In each school, Julie is dealing with different personnel and performing various library tasks. She is a self-motivated individual who is constant in her performance of high quality work. In each school, she has earned the respect and praise of the school library media specialist. We are proud to honor her with the Celebration of Excellence award.”
Jeff Gaynor, Teacher, Clague
Nomination submitted by Michelle Machiele
“Mr. Gaynor’s web site is considered a jewel of the school! He includes a wealth of information in an easily accessible format. Graphics, school newsletters, and daily announcements…individual locations for teachers, updates on sports, and information on the Clague Year 2000 Beautification Project…student book reports, links to AAPS District sites – what a marvelous project. He has encouraged students and parents to participate in the web site and utilize it as a community resource.”
Lisa Kelley, Student Center Coordinator, Community High School
Nomination submitted by Cheryl Grace
“Lisa joined our staff four years ago and has increased the quality of our student support services immeasurably. As coordinator of our Student Center, Lisa worked with students one on one, helping them stay organized and on task, facilitates 504 planning and execution, facilitates the Project Volunteer tutors from the University of Michigan, and was the faculty advisor for the school’s Activities Committee. Lisa has helped our students plan numerous parties, town meetings and other school-wide events. An all of this as a part-time employee! Lisa’s energy, caring sensitivity and sunny personality have made her much loved by all members of our school community. She is sorely missed since her position has been phased out, but we were so lucky to have her for four years!”
Charlie Bugg, Bus Driver, Transportation
Nomination submitted by Camille Hudson
“Charlie is the driver for bus 114 here at Bryant School. He goes out of his way to make all children, including special needs students, feel important and safe. He always has a laugh and a smile for both students and staff.”
Kit Flynn, Media Specialist, Ann Arbor Open at Mack
Nomination submitted by Jane Levy for the entire staff at AAOM
“We would like to nominate Kit for an excellence award because over the last three years she has creatively worked to bring about a wonderful change in our program that we call ‘Focus Studies.’ Not only did Kit originate the idea of ‘Focus Studies,’ she has spent many hours figuring out the logistics of registering and scheduling every child in the school into their choices of focused studies. Because of Kit’s serious dedication to the ideals and philosophy of an open, progressive education, the students and the staff at Ann Arbor Open are truly experiencing lifelong learning in a community.”
David Seybold, Teacher, Pioneer
Nomination submitted by Stella Pang
“I strongly recommend Mr. David Seybold, math teacher at Pioneer High School, for the Celebration of Excellence award. Mr. Seybold is an excellent teacher. He knows his subjects well and is able to explain difficult and abstract concepts to his students very clearly. This exceptional teaching skill really helps the students to develop a strong interest and in-depth understanding of Math. Instead of just thinking of math as a group of equations, Mr. Seybold teaches the students to understand the concepts and relate them to real applications. Students in his class stay focused and are encouraged to do their best. The end results of Mr. Seybold’s excellent teaching speak for themselves. The students enjoy Mr. Seybold’s classes and respect him. They did well in math as well as in other classes. Many of his students receive math awards and score top prizes in national competitions and examinations. Year after year, Pioneer High School has been the top school in math among all other schools in Michigan. Most importantly, Mr. Seybold really cares about his students. He recognizes that there will be many students (>20) from Pioneer High School that are ready for second year college level math classes beyond AP Calculus. He understands that having students take college classes outside Pioneer will make the scheduling really difficult for the students and create a lot of pressure for them. Instead, he proposed to have a college professor teach the second-year college math classes at Pioneer that can be counted as college credits. It took a lot of delegations and creativity to work out all the details. Out of Mr. Seybold’s concern for the students’ wellbeing, Pioneer is one of the very few high schools in the nation that offers college level math classes on site. It is a major breakthrough and the students greatly benefit from this special, innovative arrangement initiated by Mr. Seybold. Mr. Seybold is an outstanding teacher and he deserves the Celebration of Excellence award.”
Virginia Hawkins, Teacher, Clague
Nomination submitted by Michelle Machiele
“In the two school years that encompassed the Clague Middle School Year 2000 Beautification Project, Mrs. Hawkins has led students in successful projects. Last school year, she worked with a group of students and received a grant from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation’s Youth Council. This year, the students are seeking knowledge about native plants, contacting master gardeners, and applying for another grant to support their plantings in the remodeled courtyard at Clague Middle School.”
Karen Eisley, Teacher, Huron
Nomination submitted by Norma McCuiston
“Karen has been the sole coordinator for the Huron High/Pfizer Global Research and Development (formerly Parke-Davis) Partnership for twelve years. She has kept the partnership going through many changes at Huron and the purchase of Parke-Davis by Pfizer. No other teacher has served in this volunteer capacity for as long. Because of Karen’s love of students and her desire to provide additional opportunities for them, hundreds of students have been exposed to careers in science.”
Debbie Palmer, Custodian, Abbot
Nomination submitted by Mindy Fetters
“Deb is always willing to step in and help whenever and wherever there is a need. She will drop whatever she is doing to help anyone. Deb has a genuine concern for ensuring that her school runs at its peak effectiveness. She also takes a real interest in all the students here at Abbot.”
Lisa Rombes, Teacher, Clague
Nomination submitted by Elaine Kuperman
“I feel Ms. Rombes is not only an excellent math teacher but instills confidence in her 8th grade students. My son is in her math class and math lab. She makes sure he understands the assignments and helps him to stay organized. She agreed to keep him in her math lab even though his grade had improved. She realized he needs that extra attention she gives him to help him stay on task. She also stays in touch with us via e-mail to inform us of any major assignments, test, problems, and progress. My son thrives on her praise and understanding. I truly believe she has made a positive impact on our son and has made his last year at Clague a success. I have the highest respect for Ms. Rombes and my only regret is that she will not follow my son to 9th grade.”
Kirsten Workman, Teacher, Slauson
Nomination submitted by Patti Striho-Trombley
“Mrs. Workman is such a positive force in my pre-teen’s life! Aside from being a great math and science teacher, my daughter looks forward to these classes with Mrs. Workman everyday! According to her, the rest of the class does too. It’s very important for my daughter, and I believe most girls, to excel in math and science, and not shy away from these subjects! We need more like Mrs. Workman in the Ann Arbor Public Schools!”
Neil Duggins, Teacher, Wines
Nomination submitted by Diane McCowan
“As a fairly new parent to Ann Arbor Public Schools, this teacher's recognition has primarily come to my attention based on the enthusiasm of his students. They say 'He is the teacher that you must get for 4th grade because he makes learning fun.' His classroom is filled with crayfish to hedgehogs, and of course, parent volunteers. Even the kids who don't get into his classroom are impacted by his positive demeanor and conscientiousness. I applaud his unique organization and attentive teaching strategies that motivate and hone responsibility in his students. Two words come to mind in nominating Mr. Duggins: professionalism and dedication.”
Laurie Williams, Teacher, Clague
Nomination submitted by Elaine Kuperman
“Mrs. Williams has supported the Clague Middle School Year 2000 Beautification Project by including students in 'making a difference.' Her class amended the soil at the front of the school, utilizing hands-on experiences. Last spring, her class planted several trees: funding for the trees came from two grants that Mrs. Williams received. Her motivation to improve the school by including the students in tangible experiences is commendable.”
Don Packard, Teacher, Pioneer High School
Nomination submitted by the Optimist Editorial Board, Pioneer High School's Newspaper
“Mr. Packard puts in huge numbers of hours of his own time without compensation to make our paper the best that it can possibly be. The year before Don took over the paper it came out six times. This year it will come out eighteen. This is because he has been willing to be at school with us until 10:00 at night time and time again to make it happen. He has also helped us to make a format change that has resulted in a considerable reduction in operating costs while also making the paper more attractive. We couldn't have done it without him. He's been extremely committed to the water polo team for years, and is a phenomenal English teacher for his freshman and junior students. He also takes the time to write letters of recommendation for dozens of students whose lives he has touched, a testament both to his popularity and giving nature. Pioneer High School would not be what it is if not for Don Packard.”
Donna Kolokithas, Teacher/Consultant, Haisley
Nomination submitted by Haisley Staff Members
“The search for excellence is a short path. It lies in the resource room with Donna Kolokithas! Mrs. K. provides the direction for special education services at Haisley Elementary School. Because of her vast knowledge of both speech education and special education, she is a reliable source when teachers, paraprofessionals and parents need help serving a child. Mrs. K. consistently offers her expertise and her moral support to all paraprofessionals who work in the special education program, putting their questions and needs high on her crowded list of duties. When staff receives support from Donna, the special needs students directly benefit from her efforts. She often goes beyond her regular caseload, to help classroom teachers and their children in need. Her most valuable assets are her willingness to work cooperatively, be flexible, and work resourcefully. Her students' goals are always her first priority. Mrs. K. has made such a positive impact on student performance and staff morale that she exemplifies the model of excellence for the school and the district. It is common knowledge among all Haisley staff that the greatest resource in our Resource Room is truly Donna Kolokithas.”
Helen Oliver, Teacher, Clague
Nomination submitted by Jowanda Gore, Elaine Richmond, Abiola Akinwomi, and William Ratcliff
“Mrs. Oliver's dedication to her profession is evident in the number of roles she plays - veteran teacher, longtime AAEA representative, seasoned bargaining team member, constant volunteer. At Clague, she has headed our after-school homework program, chaired our Martin Luther King and graduation celebrations, and supervised the Academy. She constantly encourages students to their highest level of achievement and she is equally encouraging and cheerful with her colleagues..”
Vickie Malcolm, Community Education Coordinator, Forsythe
Nomination submitted by Sally Searls
"Vickie Malcolm is an outstanding associate, friend and teammate. Everyone who works with Vickie appreciates her hard work, fairness, and calmness. I trust Vickie to be level-headed, get the work done efficiently, and keep us moving forward. We are fortunate to have Micki Malcolm as a colleague.
Sara Aeschbach, Director of Community Education and Recreation writes: Vicki exemplifies integrity, commitment and teamwork. She is a staff person who does what she says she is going to do, and is always willing to go above and beyond her responsibilities. Whenever a colleague needs assistance, Vickie is right there offering help. She contributes immeasurably to school improvements in the Forsythe cluster.
Mike Madison, Forsythe Principal states: In her role as Community Education Coordinator, Vickie has made Forsythe Middle School a truly community based facility. She has touched the lives of many children and is respected throughout the community for her hard work and dedication to keeping Forsythe accessible to all."
Debbie Puente, Teacher, Tappan
Nomination submitted by Beth Dwoskin
"My daughter had real difficulty making the transition to middle school. Mrs. Puente has done everything she possibly can to help. She e-mails me weekly with reports on Judy's progress and any issues that have arisen. In addition, she seems to put extra effort into making Judy feel safe, welcome, and comfortable. She is the de facto leader of the team of teachers and counselor who have all made extraordinary efforts on behalf of my child."
Waleed Samaha, Assistant Principal, Huron High School
Nomination submitted by Mary Cullen Guttman
"When Mr. Walheed Samaha first welcomed the parents, guardians, and students of the Class of 2003, he recalled for us a story from his childhood. His mother once collected sticks from a number of Popsicle's the family had just finished. She gathered her children around, took one of those sticks, and demonstrated how easy it was to break it in half. Stacking the remaining sticks side-by-side, she then showed her children how impossible it was to break them as long as they were held together. She was then able to explain the strength a family has by working together as one team. Of course, Mr. Samaha, tells this story much more eloquently! In any case, he asked the Class of 2003 to move forward through the high schools years with a similar philosophy. Mr. Samaha knows that when parents, guardians, teachers, staff, and students work together -- as a team -- success and excellence is within everyone's reach. Considering the size of the Class of 2003, it's not always easy keeping this group of Popsicle sticks together. Still, Mr. Samaha has done a splendid job. The students of the Class of 2003 know they are not alone in pursuing their dreams and academic goals. They are members of a true team working together to achieve academic excellence. Mr. Samaha -- a former Huron High School graduate -- enjoys sharing the following quote - 'kids don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care!' Mr. Samaha cares. He has demonstrated great kindness, wisdom, and leadership and he is most deserving of the "AAPS Excellence Award!"
Patty Tracey, Teacher, Angell
Nomination submitted by the Angell Community
"We, the Angell School community, wish to bring to your attention the extraordinary dedication and service of a particular teacher in our school. Not only does she provide an excellent program for her current students and contributes so much to our adult community, but Patty Tracey has done so for the past thirty years, all of which have taken place at Angell School. Patty Tracey consistently goes above and beyond to provide a loving and academically exciting environment for her first grade students. She is warm and nurturing, exuding concern and patience for all students. Students who are currently achieving find challenges and a creative outlet in Mrs. Tracey's room. Students needing extra support have a teacher who is always striving to find new ways to meet his or her special needs. Besides her dedication in the classroom, Mrs. Tracey consistently contributes positively to the entire Angell adult community. Mrs. Tracey maintains friendly communication and positive interactions with all of the parents in our building, whether or not they have a child in her class. For these reasons, we the Angell School community, recognized this outstanding educator in a community celebration of her remarkable dedication to our school. We would like to see you also recognize her as a teacher that embodies the AAPS slogan, for Patty Tracey simply is "All of the Best."
Nancy Clark, Teacher, Wines
Nomination submitted by Beth Anderson and Jane Thompson
"Mrs. Clark is known to all students, past and present, as Mrs. 'Art' Clark. She has taught in Ann Arbor Public Schools for 36 years and at Wines for 17 of them! Her 3-dimensional art program is outstanding - candlesticks in 1st grade; fruit wreaths by the 2nd graders; tapestry pillows in 3rd grade; the most wonderful gingerbread village made in the 4th grade and the wax ice cream sundaes made by 5th grade students look almost good enough to eat. In addition, we see African masks, ghostly candles, huge paper mache letters and toys all made during the year."
Linell Ransom, Teacher, Clague
Nomination submitted by Jack Custer
"Please accept my nomination of Ms. Linell Ransom, 8th grade Social Studies Teacher at Clague Middle School. Ms. Ransom's creativity in the classroom, such as making soap as did pioneers, and then marketing the soap, has earned her the interest, attention and affection of her students. Her efforts out of the classroom are tireless. Arranging field trips to Chicago for the entire 8th grade class (without missing a detail), having a professional photographer take a picture from the roof of the school of the entire 8th grade class in a heart-shaped formation saluting the students and workers in New York City after the 9/11 tragedy, planning and organizing 8th grade graduations and school-wide talent shows for many years are but a few of the tasks she has undertaken. She is always one of the first to volunteer to take on demanding, challenging, and time consuming projects on behalf of students. Despite this, she never fails to be pleasant and have a smile for students and staff alike. Her energy, enthusiasm, and the quality of her work have earned her the respect of the entire staff. I can think of no one more deserving of the Celebration of Excellence award."
Susan Sabota, Teacher, Clague
Nomination submitted by Marcia Dresch
"I am nominating Susan Sobota for the Celebration of Excellence award. Susan teaches Language Arts to Clague Middle School students. She teachers her students with passion, knowledge and a high level of skill in technical, as well as creative writing and poetry. She also sponsors an after-school activity for all students called the Plant Club. I nominate Susan also because of her devotion and service to our school. She has
served on the Building Advisory Team and the School Improvement Team for many years and currently sits on the Middle School Review Committee. Through the School Improvement Team, Susan became interested in promoting our school in the community. She organized willing 8th graders as volunteers to run booths for a 'welcome back to school event' for our students and their families called The Family Fun Test. In addition, she
accompanied some 8th grade students to our feeder schools to invite students from those schools as well as their families to come to the event. This would allow those elementary students and families to get a feel for our students and our school. The event was very successful as a fund-raiser and also to promote public relations. I am indeed proud to teach with a person who is so dedicated to our profession."
Joyce Williams, Teacher Assistant, Pioneer
Nomination submitted by Victor Kennerly
"Joyce's presence at our parent discussions has greatly contributed to the success of these meetings. Her knowledge of career options, financial aid, school policies, questions about occupations, colleges, vocational schools, ACT, SAT, etc., has been invaluable to both parents and counselors. Not only does she host representatives from colleges and the Armed Forces, but her rapport and work with the students is positive and encouraging. She is the point person for scholarships and a host of other valuable career information. We, the Counselors at Pioneer, would like to surround her with a warm and hardy thanks. Thank you, Joyce, for being a valuable and crucial part of our team."
Susan Flynn, Teacher, Forsythe
Nomination submitted by Jennifer Walsh, Angela Newing, and Jeffrey Lawther
"Sue Flynn has been a cornerstone at Forsythe Middle School for many years. Her constant support of students and staff allows her to be a pillar in our building. Students enjoy the exciting way in which she presents American History, but they also love to be around her for her 'motherly qualities.' Today and yesterday students danced their way into learning how to do the Virginia Reel - in real life. Students are engaged in projects to further their understanding of American History, and Mrs. Flynn goes the extra mile to help all students achieve. We would like to nominate her for the above reasons, but also because she receives little public recognition for all the work she does. The reason for that is because she's too modest to accept awards for a job well done; instead, she claims, 'That's my job.' Sue Flynn is an amazing contributor to the 8th grade Team A at Forsythe Middle School and we all appreciate all she does for us and for kids."
Diane Rosenblum, Teacher Consultant, Huron High School
Nomination submitted by Robert Kokoszka and Betty Kirskey
"Diane Rosenblum should be a recipient of the Celebration of Excellence Award. Diane is a teacher consultant at Huron High School. For the past twelve years she has tirelessly worked with students, staff and parents to help students achieve at their highest level. She is ceaseless in her efforts at encouraging students to put forth their best effort. She works closely with all the teachers to keep their expectations high for the students while at the same time modifying their approach to provide an environment where this could happen. Diane constantly is in communication with parents to keep them aware of the progress of their students. Diane Rosenblum does this all in a quiet, supportive, professional manner that elicits respect from all with whom she comes in contact. Any district would be proud to have her as one of their teachers. Ann Arbor is lucky to be the district to have Diane Rosenblum."
Diane Stocker-Bendersky, Teacher, Huron High School
Nomination submitted by Karen Eisley
"I would like to nominate Diane Stocker-Bendersky, business teacher at Huron High School for the Celebration of Excellence Award for her work as an advisor for the Business Professionals of America Chapter at Huron High School. Huron has had a BPA chapter for over 20 years, but with Diane's dedication to the club its membership has grown enormously over the last few years (74 members in 2002). This January Huron hosted the Regional Competition for Region 6 at WCC. Forty-six Huron students qualified at Regionals for the State Leadership Conference on March 22-24, 2002 at the Detroit Ren Cen. Diane also was our Region 6 advisor for the last two years which requires hours and hours of coordination with WCC to organize an event for over 500 students to compete in one day in their various competitions. Coordinating, attending, judging all of these activities/competitions are done on a volunteer basis by the chapter advisors at Huron. Her dedication to the student members of the Business Professionals of America Huron Chapter is to be commended."
Becky Stauffer, Secretary, Northside
Nomination submitted by Rick Dekeon
"Becky Stauffer is a kind and friendly face to everyone at our school, Students,Parents,and staff alike. She is the first person who people see coming to our school, and she is always ready to help. Have a skinned knee? No problem. Need to call Mom or dad? No problem. Need copies made? No problem. Waiting to see someone? No problem. Answering the telephone? Need a shoe tied? Temperature taken? Again, no problem. These are all a part of Mrs. Stauffer's busy and hectic and chaotic day. But through all of this Mrs. Stauffer greets everyone the same way: with courtesy, a big smile, and a sense of welcome. For these reasons I nominate Becky Stauffer for a Celebrating the Excellence Award."
Sandra Bromley, School Psychologist, Clague, Thurston and Logan
Nomination submitted by Marg Pollock
"In my fifteen years of teaching, I have never had the opportunity to work with such a dedicated, conscientious, competent school psychologist, until now. Sandy works tirelessly with staff on re-evaluations, behavior plans, 504 plans, crisis situations and all else that is requested of her. She produces exceptionally thorough, professional reports that provide staff with useful recommendations for helping our students to succeed. Sandy is an exceptional educator and an asset to our building. I don't know what we'd do without her. Thanks Sandy, for all your hard work!"
Tim Gruszczynski, Balas I, Crew Chief of Environmental & Utilities
Nomination submitted by Clague Teachers
"Tim Gruszczynski, Crew Chief of Environmental and Utilities, has been working with the Clean Air Committee at Clague Middle School for over two years. It has been through Tim's hard work and dedication that the mechanical rooms and the ventilation system at Clague have been cleaned and repaired. His continuing dedication to the health of the students, staff and teachers has enabled the Clean Air Committee to monitor the airflow and filtering system at Clague. Tim has spent many hours doing work outside of his job description to upgrade the air quality in the building. He has paved the way for the inspection of the fan systems, the repair of the exhaust fans in the bathrooms, the installation of exhaust fans in the Family Ecology room, and the balancing of the supply fans to ensure the correct amount of fresh air at Clague. During the summer of 2001, Tim encapsulated the insulation in the duct work throughout the building to help alleviate the upper respiratory symptoms of the staff and students. He has been inspecting the mold and mildew spots that are found throughout the building. Tim is one of the few people that understands that having quality air in a school building produces a quality learning environment where students and faculty can excel It is for all the above reasons that we, the staff at Clague Middle School, nominate Tim Gruszczynski for an Award of Excellence."
Margaret McClamroch, Media Specialist, Abbot
Nomination submitted by Monica Harrold
"Margaret McClamroch exemplifies what excellence in education is all about. As a Media Specialist, she helps to educate not just one classroom of children, but all of the children in our school, everyday. Margaret is kind, thoughtful and considerate. She is knowledgeable about things in her field. It is impressive to watch several children come up to her simultaneously and ask where to find books, and to see her seemingly simultaneously, send each of them to the correct place in the library. When Margaret has been faced with the changing role of the school librarian to the school media specialist, she intentionally set aside time to work with the technical assistant and others in order to learn, improve and enhance the skills necessary to stay on top of her game. She is often called upon to assist other teachers with students who are particularly 'behaviorally challenged.' She has an uncanny way of interacting with these students so that they feel respected and valued, and they leave the unwanted behavior behind when they go to work and learn with her. Margaret has always displayed a willingness to assist others, work collaboratively with her peers, and provide a resting place for many wounded spirits. One of Margaret's former students summed her up well when he wrote:
'From kindergarten all the way to fifth grade, I just wanted to say than you for all the things you've done for me…like telling me I can do it, and how you were always there for me, and all the times you told me that I could…and how you told me that I was a good library helper…and how you always cheered me up when I was down…and how you helped me deal with friends when I was having problems with them. It really helped me out.'
Out of the mouths of babes comes a great explanation for why Margaret McClamroch should receive the distinguished Ann Arbor Public Schools Excellence Award."
Susan Stacy, Cafeteria Assistant, Mitchell
Nomination submitted by the 2nd Grade Class of Ms. Babock
"Mrs. Stacy is a very nice person. She likes kids. That is why we want to tell you about her:
Mrs. Stacy is polite to us everyday!
Mrs. Stacy is the best because she never yells at us!
Mrs. Stacy is a very loving person. She likes everybody.
Mrs. Stacy is loving to us because she is kind and funny all day. I love her.
Mrs. Stacy serves good stuff everyday!
I love her because she lets us be lunch servers.
I like her food!
Mrs. Stacy, your food is delicious!
I like Mrs. Stacy because she lets us pick the food we like. Thank you.
Mrs. Stacy is very good to us and she likes the kids too! And she is the best and I like when she lets us work for lunch servers.
Mrs. Stacy is nice every time I come to eat hot lunch. She is nice to me.
Mrs. Stacey loves kids - I can tell. Let her win!"
Ron Jaworowski, Geography Teacher, Slauson
Nomination submitted by Peggy Leonard
"Ron Jaworowski has been an employee of this district for many years. He will be retiring in June. He is truly a teacher dedicated to his profession. My two boys, J.R. and Patrick, have both had the privilege of having him as a geography teacher. He remains one of their favorite and most memorable teachers. He possesses that skill for teaching that conveys information in both a relevant and yet fun format. I nominate Ron and celebrate his excellence within the Ann Arbor Public Schools."
Janet Kahan, Science Consultant, Balas II
Nomination submitted by Sandy Kreger
"This is a group nomination for our super human colleague, Janet Kahan.:
"Janet Kahan is an absolutely superlative leader. She listens. She cares. She is a wonderful teacher and mentor. She is efficient. She puts her heart and soul into her work. If the award is to reward excellence, Janet is the perfect candidate. I especially love how Janet is out there for her love of science and the children. Thank you, Janet, for teaching me how to strive to be in your league of excellence." - Sandy Kreger
"Janet Kahan has always been a wonderful colleague. From the time that she began in the Science Department, I have always been confident that she would keep inservices informative and to the point, bring healthy animals for my students to study, and answer any questions regarding science curriculum that I could possibly have. Janet always took just enough time to spark the interest of my Kindergartners when she would stop in for a brief visit. I cannot imagine the Science Department without her at the helm." - Kathie Weinmann
"Janet Kahan has been an invaluable resource to us as teachers in the district. She continually works with teachers to update and improve a wonderful science curriculum that is a pleasure to teach. It also makes science a subject our kids love while giving them a broad content base. It trains them to think as scientists through the science process sk8ills. She is always a willing mentor and someone we greatly respect because of all her hard work and integrity. In turn, she is respectful of teachers and is always ready to compliment us on our hard work and successes. We can't imagine the science program without her!"
Brit Satchwell, Teacher, Forsythe
Nomination submitted by a Parent of a 6th Grade Student at Forsythe
"My daughter has multiple learning problems and math is especially difficult. Mr. Satchwell has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help her learn math. He actually has a plan to help her be successful which he communicated as 'my goal is to build her confidence one question at a time…get her to the point where it's okay to make an error in front of other students. Along the way, I want her to surprise herself with how much she does really know.' I have never seen a teacher care so much about helping one student who struggles with just about everything."
Kathleen Thompson, Clerk, Balas II
Nomination submitted by Linda Prieskorn
"In grades K, 1 and 2, the Social Studies Country kits are an important part of the learning experience as well as a valued tradition. These kits are packed with books and realia that allow students to experience Australia, Japan, Mexico, China, Guatemala, Kenya, Ghana, Korea, Puerto Rico, Russia, American pioneer children and Pueblo Indians. The rotation of the kits was nearly lost in last year's cut of IMTC. Fortunately, Kathy volunteered to care for the inventory of the kits and check them in and out if a rotation was set up. Thanks to Kathy's watchful eye, kits continue to circulate and students continue to experience other cultures."
Nancy Ambrosino, Kindergarten Teacher, Abbot
Nomination submitted by Deb Palmer
"Nancy is a wonderful teacher, she is loved by students, parents and staff. You could have a rough day and she is a positive and uplifting, supportive person. Nancy brightens everyone's day. All of Abbot's teachers are wonderful, but Nancy has touched so many people's lives. Thank you!"
Holly Harrell, Teacher, Forsythe
Nomination submitted by Pat Carson, Mark O'Boyle, Jacquelyn Stouppe
"Holly Harrell is the Forsythe Middle School reading specialist and reading teacher. She is a seasoned professional devoted to her teaching. She developed a reading program at Forsythe that is appropriate for all abilities of students and includes multiple activities, incentives, and reinforcements. Holly works hard to plan interesting and motivating lessons and is always willing to share what works well. Holly takes time to check with the Language Arts teachers to provide suggestions and resources. Also, she regularly seeks input and offers ideas on how to reach the students who are achieving below grade level. She is insightful on the needs of students and receptive to students' concerns. Students enjoy her classes, many times wanting to take them again and again. Parents are appreciative of the feedback they receive from her on their child's progress, needs, and strengths. It is a pleasure working with Holly."
Terry McViccar, Teacher Consultant, Carpenter
Nomination submitted by Nancy Slezak
"When I was a new staff member at Carpenter, Terry went out of her way to make me feel welcome. She answered all my questions about building procedures in a helpful, patient manner. She was wonderful about sharing both instructional materials and classroom space. Terry interacts with children, teachers and parents in a kind and encouraging manner. She is deeply committed to all of our building literacy projects, such as, organizing our school's guided reading bookroom and ensuring that our teachers are trained in MLPP. Terry believes that ALL students can learn. She respects the abilities and personalities of each of her students. Finally, it is a joy to be Terry's colleague because of her ability to infuse humor into a variety of situations."
Laura Delgado, Teacher, Angell
Nomination submitted by Susan Karp
"Mrs. Delgado is an exceptional teacher - she is exciting and encouraging and is not afraid to challenge her students to be their best. She is warm and caring and is lots of fun. Mrs. Delgado is also very organized and sends home a regular newsletter to keep parents informed of curriculum and current topics of study. Mrs. Delgado is obviously enthusiastic about her teaching and that enthusiasm is contagious to her students. We are so glad our daughter is in Mrs. Delgado's class and hope that our younger son will be able to experience her as a teacher, too. We consider Laura Delgado to be a great choice because she is an excellent teacher!"
Marilyn Stanger, Title 1 Teacher Assistant, Carpenter
Nomination submitted by Arbie Brown
"Marilyn is the Title 1 Teacher Assistant at Carpenter Elementary. Her job description may say assistant, but she truly does more than assist. She genuinely cares about students and tries to make a difference in their academic growth. Marilyn, enthusiastically, works with a large number of students on any and every thing that they may need help with. Students always look forward to going to Mrs. Marilyn's room because they know that she makes learning enjoyable. Marilyn works well with teachers and parents. She is frequently involved with after school programs and activities. We at Carpenter sincerely appreciate her dedication."
Kyle Varney, Technical Assistant, Tappan
Nomination submitted by Linda Prieskorn
"The entire Tech staff is an amazing group to those of us who are 'technology challenged.' Kyle has been very generous in his support of Social Studies presentations. He connects equipment, completes internet connections and generally guides speakers to a technological comfort zone. Several times he has done these things beyond his scheduled time. Kyle Varney is very deserving of the Celebration of Excellence Award."
Mary Jo Zynda, Teacher, Haisley
Nomination submitted by Cheryl White
"I strongly recommend Ms. Mary Jo Zynda, teacher at Haisley Elementary School, for the Celebration of Excellence Award. Ms. Zynda has been a capable and caring teacher for many years. She understands her students and tries to teach each one according to his or her individual needs. Sometimes this has meant providing extra materials to supplement the curriculum. Ms. Zynda takes the time to visit the children outside the classroom as well. She has been seen at many soccer games and other sports as well, cheering her students on. I have also heard that she inspired one or two of our younger teachers in the district to go into teaching, and their own excellence speaks strongly of the background she provided for them."