Celebration of Excellence Award Winners

Given to the Information Technology Department for their hard work and dedication
to the technology deployment

Linda Armour        Sally McAlinden        Kathy Burns            Mike Morris
William    Charlebois        Elijah Newton        Edwin Cline            Steve Newton
Taurus    Colvin            Tim O'Boyle       Jeremy    Eldred            Holly Perry
Larry A. Fahrner        Ted Politis      Shannon Feldt        Myung Hee Shim
Joe Fischer            Kathryn Slade      Monica    Groeneveld        Carlos Soto, Jr.
Michelle Hart            Debra Talsma      Michael Hogue        Carmen Taylor
Jae Hotaling            Carrie Tobin      Kathryn Houser            Gloria Traturyk
Julie Johnson            John VanRiper      Mary Kobylansky        Kyle Varney
James Leach            Julie Walstra        Yvo Maldonado            Carol Webb
Joe Martin           Susan Weiland        JoAnn Williams            Cheryl Wonders

Board of Education & PTO Council:
“Amazing,” “Awesome,” “Impressive,” and of course, “Thank You” are just some of the words that have been used to describe our technology deployment this year.  We are proud to take this opportunity to commend our dedicated technology staff for the successful implementation of this massive project.  Ladies and gentlemen of ITD, your assistance and thoughtful coordination have positively affected the education of every student and improved the resources available for every staff member.  We thank you for your outstanding performance!

Here are just some of the comments made by Principals:

Joel Ottenbreit – Pattengill
Within a span of about 5 hours, the Pattengill teachers went from using overhead projectors with transparencies to having class discussions on internet topics with the big screen using laptops, LCD projectors and a wireless connection.  The enthusiasm here was contagious.

Naomi Zikmund-Fisher – AAOM
Monica Groeneveld has been working nights, weekends, through lunch and any other time you can think of to get our new computers, printers and the network up and running.  She has somehow continued to smile while working 25 hours a day, 8 days a week.  She's marvelous.

Joan Fitzgibbon – Allen
Out tech assistant Mike Hogue is excellent. He is responsive and proactive.  He helps us well beyond his assigned duties.  He is also helpful in being a teacher not just a problem solver.  We are very lucky at Allen Elementary School to have Mike.

Shelley Bruder – Bach
I wanted to thank and compliment all of the folks who worked today at Bach taking away and installing new computers.  Everything went so well!!  Interruptions were few, complaints were nonexistent and your entire team performed like a team should.  It was obvious that you spent a lot of time planning for this "event!!"  Thanks to everyone involved in this effort.  I am sure you all learned a lot from this "first" experience and we were honored to be the first elementary school to receive their computers. Again, thanks to everyone.

Comments made by other staff:

The laptop deployment at the schools and the teacher laptop deployment district-wide is one of the finest examples of thoughtful coordination I have witnessed in this district.  This process was a model of efficiency and professionalism to which we should all aspire.

Just want to say thanks for all your hard work and support.  You certainly have made my job easier.  You were a dynamo today:  30 machines in a little over 30 minutes.  WOW.
Thanks for all you're doing to make this deployment a success.

I just wanted to drop a quick email to tell you how much I love my laptop.  I was a tad skeptical when first told about the change to laptops, but I am thrilled with mine.  It is so easy to use and great fun.   I have now done two Powerpoint lecture presentations for my modern European history class - with pictures that I had on CD-rom and scanned from slides.  I even used music (for Romanticism in Art, Music, and Literature).

A much belated thanks for our new laptops.  They are the best, and I am enjoying using mine.  Have made many projects on it using iTunes and Power Point as well as other programs.  Thanks very much.

Yesterday I was on the phone with a family that is Spanish speaking only.  I had written out what I wanted to say, but then the dad asked me a question and I, while I understood it, I couldn't remember the words to answer it.  I happened to have my laptop with me in a wireless area and was able to, after many "lo cientos" and "un momento por favor", connect with an online English to Spanish dictionary to adequately answer his question.  Whew!  It really helped an awkward moment.

Just wanted to say thank you for the excellent system for deploying the new laptops.  Everything has been first rate--from the efficient process for picking them up to the effective training of staff.  Your communication and materials have been excellent, including the survey and FAQs.  Clearly a tremendous amount of time has gone into (and continues to go into) the planning, distribution, and training.  Most impressive!

Awards Received on June 1, 2005

Gwen Bonnee, Guidance Counselor - Tappan Middle School
Nominated by Joleen Felkey for Innovation and Customer Service

"Gwen has been both innovative and customer service oriented in her approach to working with Junior High Students.  Her objective and diplomatic method for dealing with conflict between students demonstrated to me what a true professional/educator she is.  Conflict between classmates often can make the school setting hostile and contrary to social learning.  Gwen’s ability to reach a consensus among all parties involved in such a dilemma is truly impressive.   Thank you so much!"

John Borovsky, Teacher - Pioneer High School
Nominated by Ann Warner for Outstanding Customer Service

"Mr. Borovsky quietly delivers his wisdom down in the auto shop. His quiet self-assured manner makes every student feel comfortable.  He has one of the best behaved classes I have ever brought a student into, and yet I've never noticed him take a child to task for behavior. Perhaps it is because he makes his subject so interesting and personal.  You leave feeling empowered to "Know your Auto".  You feel a little more street wise about the automotive industry and your SUV.  He provides a class that is both interesting and relevant to anyone who sits before him.  I have heard many times everyone should take his class. Now that I have sat through a semester of one of his classes I agree."

Kay Wade, Teacher - Huron High School
Nominated by LaKeshia Bryant for Outstanding Customer Service

"I nominate Mrs. Wade for this award because she is phenomenal teacher!  I had Mrs. Wade for African American Humanities last year.  She was able to motivate me to do my best work at a time when I didn’t feel like doing much academically because of personal things going on in my life.  In her class I learned what it meant to really work independently, to dig for research on topics that have limited sources for information, and to be creative with projects and presentations.  But most of all, she broadened my knowledge about the many valuable contributions African Americans have made to this country. The independent study and organizational skills helped me a lot this year as a senior, and I'm sure will continue to help me in college. Mrs. Wade brings out the best in her students and she really cares about us.  When I think about great teachers, I will think of Mrs. Wade."

Awards Received on May 25, 2005

Judy Kesler, Teacher - Thurston Elementary
Nominated by Alexandra Dey for Outstanding Customer Service

"Judy's warm manner and kind tone makes every child feel welcome and accepted.  Her endless patience and gentle guidance makes her an excellent kindergarten teacher.  She has a kind word for everyone and always has a smile on her face.  She is a pleasure to work with."

Karen Slotten, Teacher - Allen Elementary
Nominated by Patti Dowker for Outstanding Customer Service

"Karen is superior in her knowledge of the curriculum and her dedication to the children in her classroom.  As a parent I feel blessed and honored that my son is in her room. I work in the room weekly so I have a chance to witness her skills and compassion with all children.  I also appreciate her weekly communication she provides in the form of a news letter and her indvidual reports for each one of her students. I ALWAYS know what is going on in the classroom.. She is organized and consistant she has helped to turn my son attitude about writing around and he really enjoys the writing process this year.. She is a great asset to A2 Schools and she deserves this honor."

Dontonette Patterson, Cafeteria Worker - Logan Elementary
Nominated by Patricia Boyd for Outstanding Customer Service

"I went to Logan’s Open House for parents. Dontonette was such a loving, caring, and most helpful to all of the children.  She’s fast!!  Feeds all of those small children with such a pleasant attitude.  You could tell the children LOVE her.  She absolutely needs to be recognized."

Awards Received on May 11, 2005

Denise Eaddy-Richardson, Counselor - Huron High School
Nominated by Paula and Albert Berriz for Outstanding Customer Service

"Mrs. Eaddy Richardson was my son's high school counselor for three years. There were many times in the course of the three years that my son or I called her for a variety of things.  If she did not pick up her phone immediately, she always called back immediately. We NEVER had to wait even one day to hear back from her. She was always courteous, professional and helpful. She always treated Albert & myself as if he was her only student although we know she had many. We felt like we were  in a small school environment because she never appeared too busy to talk to us or solve her problem.  This attitude was consistent over the three years that we dealt with Ms. Eaddy Richardson. Over this past summer we had a critical issue that needed her immediate attention. There she was, our guardian angel, as helpful as always. We will always appreciate the personal touch she gave her job and the way she made us feel as if our problems were of the utmost importance!"

Kristi Krile, Teacher - Logan Elementary
Nominated by Katy LaCroix for Outstanding Customer Service

"Kristi Krile is currently a first grade teacher at Logan Elementary. Kristi is an exceptional teacher in SO many ways. Her enthusiasm and bubbliness at her job make others around her excited about what they do. For the past three school years, I have had the privilege of having Kristi  as my mentor teacher. I will never forget the first day that I walked in to my room at Logan - anxious at how much it didn't look like a classroom.  Kristi graciously came to the room, with loads of teacher bulletin supplies for me to put on the walls.  I remember how happy and comforted I felt - knowing that there was someone so supportive in my building.

Months later, Kristi became my mentor teacher, as well as Diana Gatonez's (another Ann Arbor teacher).  Our classrooms have also been reading buddies for the past three years.  Kristi has been a role model and friend to me in my first couple of years in the district.  I only wish that all new teachers had the chance to work with someone as exceptional and supportive as Kristi Krile."

Barb Carlisle, Teacher - Wines Elementary
Nominated by Anne Stevens, Shanna Middleton, and Marcia Gibbs

Ann Stevens:
"Barb Carlisle has been a Kindergarten teacher at Wines Elementary for 19 years. She has recently announced that this year will be her last year of teaching. I was saddened at the news beacuse I knew my youngest child would not be given the chance to have Barb as her first teacher. However I am extremely grateful (as I know many parents are) that three of my children have been able to experience the enthusiastic, nurturing and learning environment that Barb provides for her Kindergarteners on a daily basis. I have been able to volunteer and observe her classroom in the years my children have been her students. I am always amazed at how Barb commands the whole hearted attention of 22 five year olds! As the year progresses and I see how children who couldn't write their name at the beginning of the year, not only write in their journals but read it to the class, it makes me so proud that my children have had Barb Carlisle as their first teacher. Not only does she have the love and effection from her students, her communication with the class parents is excellent. In her weekly newsletters, the parents get an inside look at the week's activities and lessons. With one on one phone calls she adresses specific concerns of the parents. Barb also has a wonderful (yet unneccessary) thank you party at the end of the year for all the parent volunteers. This year as we plan Barb's thank you and retirement party we would love to add a district Award of Excellence to the many well wishes she will recieve from the Ann Arbor community. Please consider her for this award!"

Shanna Middleton and Marcia Gibbs
"Barb Carlisle is a wonderful kindergarten teacher.  She is skilled, caring and conscientious. She works hard to provide an environment where each and every child has the opportunity to reach his/her potential. She examines her teaching daily working to improve and change things to meet the needs of her students.  Her ability to reach out and connect with each child and their family goes far beyond the classroom. She attends soccer games, recitals,and lunches with her student.s  As a co-worker Barb is supportive and encouraging. Working together has been a pleasure and most of all a a lot of fun! She will be missed greatly now that she is retiring."

Awards Received on April 27, 2005

Mary Beth DiFranco, Noon Hour Supervisor - Abbot Elementary
Nominated by Angela Ceely for Outstanding Customer Service

"I respectfully nominate Mary Beth DiFranco for a Celebration of Excellence Award for her outstanding customer service.  She is the Noon Hour Supervisor at Abbot Elementary School and she has made it a priority to turn lunchtime into a positive experience for Abbot students and parents. 

At the start of this school year, Abbot’s Noon Hour was a stressful time for our students and parents.  There was a new Noon Hour Supervisor who had inconsistent rules and policies and used discipline tactics that didn’t mesh well with Abbot students and parents.

Mary Beth was a parent volunteer the first few weeks of school to assist first graders with their new task of having lunch at school.  After a few days of volunteering, Mary Beth saw a need for permanent parental involvement in this program and became a Noon Hour Coordinator.  Shortly after this, Abbot’s Noon Hour Supervisor left to pursue other interests and Mary Beth gladly took on the Supervisory position.

Since Mary Beth has been the Abbot Noon Hour Supervisor, students are enjoying their lunch-time in a positive atmosphere.  She has made it a priority to communicate with parents by attending PTO meetings to discuss the noon hour and additional programs she would like to make available to our students during this time.  She helped initiate the Noon Hour Activity Club in November and is currently working with the school and the district to implement new playground games that are not exclusionary. 

Mary Beth brings amazing energy to this position and has submerged herself in this effort to make lunchtime a positive experience for everyone.  She clearly is in charge during the noon hour, yet she is approachable by the students.  She has made our lunch room a happy place to be for the students and a time of the day where parents no longer have worries.

Mary Beth has only been an AAPS employee since the fall, but she has clearly gone the extra mile to make sure that the students and the parents of Abbot Elementary have the best Noon Hour program available.  She is indeed providing outstanding customer service and should be celebrated for her excellence."

Katie Ryan, Vocal Music Teacher - Angell Elementary
Nominated by Annie & Norah Beveridge and Family for Outstanding Customer Service

"Cannot think of anyone that has given so much to all of Angell school students and families. Way beyond the call of duty. Her dedication is incredible. Where does she find the physical and emotional strength to make each student shine."

Stan Bidlack, Teacher - Huron High School
Nominated by Huron Staff for Outstanding Customer Service

"Stan Bidlack defines excellence.  He IS the model who inspires and motivates both students and staff to be their best.  He brings his own passion for learning into every class.  Intellectual curiosity and challenge are a part of each lesson, and his own character of integrity and compassion teaches by example.  On behalf of the entire faculty and staff of Huron High School, the Huron English Department proudly nominates Stan Bidlack for this award of excellence."

Awards Received on April 13, 2005

Kristen Zabalavicius, Teacher - Pioneer High School
Nominated by Eli Bleiler for Outstanding Customer Service

"Kristen is responsible for organizing and supervising our intramural lunchtime sports program for our freshmen and sophomores. The teams for this are organized through the students' English classes. Because of Kristen's energy and enthusiasm, my students have an excellent time at lunch, have a healthy way to release energy, and come back to my English classes feeling relaxed and connected to one another.  I really believe that Kristen's postive contribution to the ninth-grade initiative is helping our students make a successful transition!  Thank you!

Myung Shim, Technical Assistant - Burns Park Elementary
Nominated by the Burns Park Staff for Outstanding Customer Service

"Myung is the technical assistant at both Burns Park and Angell Elementaries.  She is extremely knowledgeable and is so very willing to help any staff member who needs assistance in the most timely manner possible.  We appreciate her help and excellence."

Rob Brines, Teacher - Bryant Elementary
Nominated by Marianne Blaesing and Karen Folta for Outstanding Customer Service

Comments from Marianne Blaesing:
"Rob Brines has excellent classroom management skills.  This year (2004/2005) he has a very challenging class.  His use of the chip system for behavior and piano playing for transitions give the students responsibility for their actions.  I have never heard Rob raise his voice, but I constantly hear him praising students from everything to using nice manners to completing a major task.  Additionally, when I went to conferences early in the year and outlined my strategy to have my son skip 2nd grade, Rob listened very intently, took notes, and then kindly and gently pointed out the potential flaws.  Rob works with families to help each child get the best education, and have a great experience at Bryant Elementary."

Comments from Karen Folta:
"Mr. Brines has an outstanding and unique way of interacting and teaching even the most hyper  of children (my child).  He has a way of making my child feel special and want to come to school each day.  I appreciate his caring and structured classroom."

Awards Received on March 23, 2005

Elnora Sipp, Teacher - Thurston Elementary
Nominated by Julie Vanderhoff and Tom George & Kate McGonagle for Outstanding Customer Service

Comments from Tom George & Kate McGonagle:
"We would like to nominate Elnora Sipp for a Customer Service award in the Ann Arbor Public School Celebration of Excellence program.  Our experiences, and our son’s experiences with Mrs. Sipp were nothing but positive, encouraging and caring.  Mrs. Sipp provided a calm and stable, yet demanding learning environment that recognized, acknowledged and accommodated a variety of learning styles.  This environment elicited strong trust from her students, which, in turn, established mutual respect between her and her students, as well as between the students themselves.  High expectations were placed on each and every child in the classroom relative to their ability and skill.  Thus, children are appropriately challenged, and experience the pride and confidence associated with the successful completion of those challenges.  We thought that the children felt very comfortable in the classroom, which was exhibited in their willingness and/or eagerness to participate in class activities.  Mrs. Sipp greatly contributed to an interest in life-long learning by making academic activities fun and interesting.  She told personal stories, arranged field trips, and organized special class activities as ways of augmenting traditional methods of classroom instruction.

Mrs. Sipp is an excellent role model for her students.  She shows intellectual curiosity and displays her passion for learning and teaching to the children.  In addition, she is an avid tennis player who advocates a healthy, active lifestyle.  Given the current national trend in sedentary behaviors among school-aged children, this is a particularly important and critical service to her students.   Taken together, Mrs. Sipp exhibits many positive life skills for her students, and encourages her students to take on the challenges of school and life with enthusiasm and confidence.  Thus, we believe that she has performed a tremendous service to students, parents and the community at large, and is very deserving of this award."

Comments from Julie Vanderhoff:
"Elnora is exceptionally committed to the success of our students.  After a full workday, not only does she teach the academic extended day for our second and third grade students, but when the upper elementary program became short-staffed, she volunteered to help with that program as well. Elnora spends her own time to investigate the individual needs of the students that have fallen behind in order to better provide the instruction they need to move ahead. She truly wants each and every child to reach his or her potential and she goes far beyond (above the standard 110%) to make sure they do."

Mary Greene, Secretary - King Elementary
Nominated by Marci Gilchrist for Outstanding Customer Service

"Mary has been the backbone for King School since she arrived several years ago.  Just this year, she oversaw the successful and seamless switch in administration at King with poise, patience and a positive attitude.  I have observed Mary as she interacts with parents, staff and students.  She is always pleasant and professional with everyone.  The office is always well organized and in order.  We know that with Mary in the office, the day will run smoothly at King School.  I can't think of a more deserving person to receive the Ann Arbor Public Schools Award for Excellence."

Esther Hampton, Teacher - Slauson Middle School
Nominated by Lauretta Flowers for Outstanding Customer Service
"There are a myriad of reasons why a person selects pedagogy for a career. Esther Hampton selected pedagogy in the area of special education because she is a unique and "special" person.  Esther is a benevolent person with a heart of gold. She has dedicated her life to teaching, with thirty-one years under her belt. When I talk to Esther, she speaks fondly of her job and her interaction with her students. This excellence award is befitting of Esther.  She has served in many capacities to assist students. Esther has helped with the Black Student Union, chaperoned over-night field trips, and stayed after school to tutor students. Esther is a tireless worker who deserves recognition. I can honestly say I am proud to be her friend and colleague."

Awards Received on March 9, 2005

Jodi Brecht, Teacher - Dicken Elementary

Nominated by Karen Willick and Melissa Eljamal for Outstanding Customer Service

Karen Willick:
"Mrs. Brecht’s consistent and warm way of communicating with parents is truly exceptional.  I have never been more impressed with interpersonal skills and kindness and respect.  She truly loves, and is good at, her job!"

Melissa Eljamal:
"Jody Brecht can only be called Super Kindergarten Teacher. I had the distinct pleasure of watching her daily during the first two weeks of school as she acclimated a group of 24 kindergarteners to Dicken school, helping them get over fears, make friends, and get acquainted with school routines and good behaviors. Within those two weeks the kids became a happy, excited, and well-behaved group of learners!
She is definitely working hard to ensure that every child attains the learning outcomes expected of them as they progress to first grade. My son has already moved from begining writing letters to expressing himself in full sentences and reading every word he puts his eyes on!

But above all, Jody inspires learning through her effervescence, energy, and caring nature. She recognizes that there are many ways to create a good learning environment. One of my son's (and my!) favorite method is using music to express feelings and moods. From the first song, "How Do I Make New Friends?" she taught her students, to her generous holiday gift of cassette tapes "Teaching Hippopotami to Fly" for every child in class, she has instilled a love of words, music, and dance. My son recently performed a skating/ballet routine to this tape on our kitchen floor and listens to the music every night at bedtime.

We musn't forget her storytime! Jody has the best range of character voices! I could sit for hours and listen to her read! When the kids listen, they are enthralled, and she engages them to contribute their thoughts about the story as she reads.
Jody makes every parent feel that their child is the most special kid in the classroom. I am convinced that she makes each of her kids feel the same way as well.

Finally, Jody contributes to the Dicken community beyond her role as a teacher. She engages her students' families in many ways: by inviting them to a Thanksgiving potluck, by showing up at her students' soccer games and other important personal milestones; and by providing newsletters that not only inform about logistics, but share her excitement about what the kids are learning.

Dicken school is very lucky to have Jody Brecht as a part of its staff and I look forward to the next half of the school year just as much as my son does!"

Cornel Kovacs, Head Custodian - Haisley Elementary
Nominated by Valerie Shed, Ellen O'Malley, Maria DeRosia for Oustanding Customer Service

"Cornell is our new head custodian.   He truly cares about the students, staff and the quality of our building.  He is friendly and says "Hi" with a smile everytime he passes someone.  He incorporates and models all of the lifeskills through his high level of integrity and initiative.  He seldom has to be asked to tackle any task that needs to be done.  On the other hand, if anyone does ask him for anything, he is always quick and willing to take on the task.  We feel that his work ethics should be recognized and commended.  He is a true asset to the Haisley community."

Cary Kocher, Band Director - Forsythe Middle School
Nominated by Riley Ellis for Oustanding Customer Service

"Mr. Kocher donates one hour to an hour and a half every day after school helping students in the band room on every instrument, even if the student is not a band member.  When the percussion section did not have an instrument, he would bring his own so that we could still practice. Mr. Kocher has a lot of experience playing and fixing every instrument.  When an instrument was broken, he would show us what was wrong with it, then fix it to help us learn to manage the technical aspects of our instruments.  When a student had a question, Mr. Kocher tried to answer it as best he could, and he would explain it to us in detail so that we could understand it more than just knowing it.  Mr. Kocher tried to get us many extra curricular performances and activities.  He encouraged us to play in the Solo and Ensemble Festival and go to any band camp that we could.  He also tried to help us get private teachers so that we could develop our skills. 

He was able to give the school jazz band an opportunity to play at a jazz club in Ann Arbor, and he has also gotten one of my friends and I a part in an Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra concert.  Mr. Kocher is one of the friendliest and nicest teachers and band directors I have ever had.  Because of my experiences at Forsythe, I'm hoping to play percussion professionally.  I can't thank him enough for all that he has given me, but I hope that, at least, he can get some recognition for all he's done for the Ann Arbor Band Music Program."

Awards Received February 9, 2005

John Leidy, Teacher - Thurston Elementary
Nominated by Leah Trulik, Cathy Behrendt, Karen & Greg Lang for Outstanding Customer Service

Leah Trulik:
"We would like to nominate Mr. John Leidy for this award! He is truly a unique and rare teacher! It is easy to see why he has developed such a fine reputation from year to year at Thurston! He has an amazing way of individualizing his students and their parents (and that's alot of people)! He is so attuned to the individual learing styles, needs, and emotions of his students, and genuinely cares about them! In addition to personal communication, he writes a newsletter that is 1-11/2 pages long and covers so many valuable things, what the class is working on, the struggles, successes! This is wonderful communication to the parents that most teachers just don't do! He is outstanding! Thanks Mr. Leidy, for all you do! We feel extremely fortunate to have had you for 4th grade!"

Cathy Behrendt:
"Mr. Leidy is an outstanding teacher! His caring and concern for students is evident in everything he does. He pays attention to both their academic and their social growth. His sense of humor is a real asset in classroom management and in bonding with his students. He also makes an effort to communicate well with parents. His informative weekly newsletters help parents navigate the 4th grade curriculum and the first year of MEAPs. Thurston is very fortunate to have such a dedicated teacher in its community."

Karen & Greg Lang:
"Mr. Leidy does a fantastic job with his students.  He lets the kids get to know him by telling stories about his childhood.  This helps the children trust him.  He also helps the kids feel good about who they are.  My daughter loved going to school last year.  He helped her gain confidence in reading - she went from barely reading at grade level to reading at the next grade level!  He kept parents informed of what was going on in the classroom and always had an open door if we wanted to come in and help or talk.  Another thing that struck me was that kids who were in middle and high school would come back to talk with Mr. Leidy after school.  He has a lasting impact on these kids.  My daughter still talks about his stories."

Anne Andrus, Teacher Consultant - Burns Park Elementary
Nominated by Sharon Pryce, Mike Cramer, Jill Chappuis, Jill Everett, Janet Spiegel, Marie Wall, Kathie Weinmann, Nancy Ambrosino, Molly Crankshaw, Kate Higgins, Cynthia Bogen, Cory Merante, Carrie Dworkin, Elaine Stein, Carolyn Ellington for Outstanding Customer Service

"Anne Andrus has been a wonderful addition to our staff. Mrs. Andrus continues to go above and beyond her required duties as a teacher constultant.  She has organized UM volunteers to help in the classroom and individual students.  She gives each student oin her caseload individual attention and makes them feel special.  She is making a difference in these student’s lives.  They love to work with her and continually3 ask to see her more. 

In addition to serving students on her caseload, she has provided countless advice to teachers.  In some special situations, she works with students not on her caseload.

We would like to thank her for all she has done at Burns Park."

Jim Robert, Teacher - Pioneer High School
Nominated by Jennifer & David Haines for Innovation

"Mr. Robert has created a program that is unique and which is enormously helpful to the emotional and personal devleopment of his students at a very important itime in their growth as young adults (senior year).  He creates a safe environment for students to explore their identities, goals, family and personal times, etc.  He makes each student feel unique and listened to.  he goes the extra mile to make his room and his time freely available to students and allows them to have a true say in their eduation.  More clases like Mr. Robert’s Philosophy class would truly prepare our young people for experiences outside the high school setting.  As a long-time educator, I have rarely seen a program as effective and innovative as the one created by Mr. Robert."

Awards Received January 26, 2005

Corrine Grace, Teacher - Northside Elementary

Nominated by Susan Bruner for Oustanding Customer Service

"I was an early childhood teacher for over 20 years before “somewhat” retiring 9 yrs. ago when my son was born.  Over the years I have come in contact with many teachers, but none has impressed me as much as Corrine Grace.  I volunteer weekly in her class since school started.  Corrine has prefectly captured the essence of high expectations with encouragement!!!  She inspires me and the children to do our personal best and exudes the love of learning and pride in all of us!!  Her professionalism, dedication, commitment, warmth and inspiration should be the attributes that we all should aspire to acquire. Although for her,the love of teaching alone may be enough of a reward; I feel deeply that a person of her caliber,that exhibits all the qualities of a superb educator, should be recognized.  In a profession that many take for granted, it is vital that we must not take one of our very best for granted.  We as a society must acknowledge the importance of an educator's job.  It is crucial that we give support, honor and respect to our teachers,because it is with them, that our future, our children depends on to develop to their fullest potential!!!

Thank you for giving this parent the opportunity to express my appreciation for Corrine Grace, who is such a positive influence on my son, Austin."

Kathy Coppens, Teacher - Tappan Middle School
Nominated by Toniesha Jones for Outstanding Customer Service

"When I was in the 7th grade my mother was killed by her boyfriend! I didn’t have anywhere else to turn so I turned to my favorite teacher, Mrs. Coppens.  She gave me a hug, and told me that everything would be ok. Her hug gave me a sense that life is going to be allright, and it’s ok to cry. I am now in the 10th grade, and I remember Mrs. Coppens so well. I can never thank her enough for what she did for me. She takes the time out to listen to her students, and gets to know them on an indivudual basis. She recognized that I had a problem, and she helped me. I miss my mom everyday, but Mrs. Coppens made me feel so special on that day I was in need. Thank you, Mrs. Coppens."

Carrie Tobin, Network Administrator - Huron High School
Nominated by Diane Stocker-Bendersky for Innovation

"Carrie Tobin is insightful, knowledgeable, experienced and very professional.  The network administrator at Huron High School, she has made a positive impact on the business department by improving the process in which teachers use the network space.  This new process helps facilitate student learning and teacher grading saving valuable time for both teacher and student.

Carrie introduced file sharing. She created network shared folders and drop folders.   Students can access shared folders for templates, data files and classroom assignments off the network without teacher assistance.  Students log onto the network any time of day, access shared files, student files and group-shared files stored there. Teachers have a place to hold how-to-instructions, classroom handouts frequently given out in class, newspaper and magazine articles in PDF format. Students access these shared folders and print documents when needed; save them to a disk to take home or email them to themselves to be completed as required.  This concept saved significantly on the use of paper, ink and teacher time. Teachers also send these electronic documents home, if needed,  to sick students as email attachments. 

These shared folders also open up new possibilities for student group-driven projects.    This shared group workspace allowed students to collaborate, save and create great multimedia presentations reducing precious production time. Projects could be completed outside of the normal class period.  Students needing more time could spend more time at lunch or after school.  Projects no longer needed to be printed.  Group projects came to fruition much quicker than ever before with much better quality. 

The drop folders opened up new possibilities for test-taking.  Students could take computerized driven tests; drop them into a single right-protected test folder for teacher evaluation at a later date.  Once the projected was dropped into this folder it could not be altered or changed by the student.  Carrie purposely set it up this way.  The network keeps track of the time a test was completed and dropped.  Tests could be made up after school or at lunch with minimal teacher supervision. No longer does the teacher have search among 2,200 individual student folders on the network to grade individual multi-media projects taken. Now a teacher can go directly to one location (ease in teacher grading), burn a CD of student test files to take home for grading or set and grade them all at once.   Also these tests can be removed from the network space all at once instead of deleting tests from lots of individual student folders.  Big, big time-saver! 

The shared folder also help in after-school club administration.  Club leaders can save agendas, documents, handouts, etc. to this shared space for easy access, ease of storage, and easy retrieval.  This concept saves on extra file cabinet space and eliminates the lost of valuable club documents.   Documents can be easily tweaked and changed to be reprinted for upcoming meetings and other administrative purposes.  Again, a big time saver!

We are extremely fortunate to have a network administrator of her caliber. She always goes the extra mile.  Carrie is highly deserving of the Celebration of Excellence Award"

Awards Received December 8, 2004

Pam Dabbs, Teacher - Allen Elementary
Nominated by Sivi-Rae Hobrecht for Outstanding Customer Service

My kindergartner was very worried about starting school.  We read books and talked about it and then decided to have a tour the week before school started.  We got to met Mrs. Dabbs and had a tour of the classroom. Mrs. Dabbs told my daughter that she would call her the night before school sttarted to remind her to smile and not be nervous.  Sure enough!  A week later - the night before school started, we got a call!  That is way above adn beyond and she’s been nothing but amazing ever since!  Thank you!!

Kathy Spiess, Teacher - Pattengill Elementary
Nominated by Angie UyHam for Outstanding Customer Service

Kathy Spiess is an inspiration to those around her.  For the past two years, I have had the honor of being mentored by Kathy and I am in awe of her dedication and devotion to her studetns.  She spends an incredible amount of time tutoring and helping children, but even more impressive is her natural generaosity and care for them.  I am nominating Katy in the area of customer service.  Every time that I see her interact with her students, I am reminded of the importance of what we can do as teachers adn how lucky we are to have that opportunity.

Awards Received November 10, 2004

Patty Zeichman, Teacher - Bach Elementary
Nominated by Kris Groh for Outstanding Customer Service

"Patty is an excellent communicator - her weekly newsletter to parents serves as an accurate picture of the class's progress and a tool for more in-depth communication with our children.  Patty has been flexible with a  constantly change classroom roster by welcoming new students.  She also shows a talent for dealing well with children with skill levels that vary widely be creating an environment where all can learn."

Jenny Ellis, Teacher - Logan Elementary
Nominated by Liz Bauman for Outstanding Customer Service

"When I mentioned to Jenny that I would like to work with a student of ours over the past summer, she immediately volunteered to help.  She ended up doing a majority of the work!  Jenny carefully planned reading and math lessons, spent hours tutoring the child and meeting with the parent.  Her dedication was inspirational."

Connie Greer, Teacher Consultant - Slauson Elementary
Nominated by Cindy Cairns for Outstanding Customer Service

"Connie is beyond diligent in assisting our special needs students at Slauson Middle School. Each week Connie communicates, through email, the in - class and homework assignments to each and every special education student's parents.  This entails Connie having daily communication with all eight grade teachers. Connie stays after school to hold a study hall for the eighth grade special needs students every Thursday. In addition Connie has implemented a new "student profile" for each of her caseload students so that their teachers can know the special education students and comply with their IEP goals on a daily basis. Connie monitors students progress and activities by being in the classroom each and every day with a different eighth grade teacher.
I personally do not know what I would do without her. Her efforts are tireless! Her attitude is always positive and she does all this and more with a wonderful sense of humor!

It is a personal and professional honor to work with Connie Greer."

Awards received October 27, 2004

Rick O'Neill, Principal - Lakewood Elementary
Nominated by Anne Martino for Outstanding Customer Service

"He is a great role model - consistently positive and helpful to everyone in the Lakewood community."

Stacy Smith-Thomas, Lunchroom Coordinator - Lawton Elementary
Nominated by Wendy Huss for Outstanding Customer Service

"It has been a privilege to get know Ms. Thomas since she started running the lunch program at Lawton. Before Stacey was our lunch person the children were like little robots, going through the line, getting their food, eating quickly and then going outside. They never looked up from their trays, smiled or made eye contact with the adult supervisors. The arrival of Ms. Thomas changed all that, she is a light in the lunchroom, her smile is contagious and she is much more than a "lunch lady", she is really a social worker. She talks to the kids and listens to their problems, she knows who needs an extra shoulder to lean on. The lunch room has become a happy place to be again. I am amazed at the extra mile she goes. Her job is much more than just serving food and taking money. Nominating her for the celebration of excellence award is just a small way to say thank for all she does for the children of our school."

Awards received October 13, 2004

Rick Plester, Bus Driver - Transportation - Dicken Elementary

Nominated by:  Ryan Huffnagle for Outstanding Customer Service 

"He cares about the kids.  They all like and respect him.  He watches out for all his passengers.  Lollipops given out by Rick definitely win his passengers over!"

Jessica Jonas, Teacher - Lakewood Elementary
Nominated by Corie Hall for Outstanding Customer Service

"Ms. Jonas had my eldest daughter in her class two years ago.  To this day when ever Lauren or my younger daughter, Morgan are in need of anything, I know that Ms. Jonas will be there to help them.  I have been late picking my daughter up on a couple of occasions and without fail, Ms. Jonas is standing with them holding their hand and waiting for me to show up.  I hate being late, but just knowing that Ms. Jonas is taking such fine care of my girls keeps me clam until I arrive at school.  It isn't just my children that Ms. Jonas takes care of, I have seen her comforting many a child after school.  Ms Jonas is a wonderful person and a joy to see everyday."

Michelle Seals, Teacher - Carpenter Elementary
Nominated by Virginia Cardwell for Outstanding Customer Service

"Mrs. Seals is able to keep order in a class full of energetic kindergartners without raising her voice or using an unpleasant tone.  I have observed her regularly as a parent volunteer, and they listen to her because of the respect and affection she inspires in them.  In addition, she seems to genuinely care about and be attuned to the needs and strengths of each student.  Most evident to me is her ability to form an easy and productive rapport with parents.  She has a warm and friendly way of motivating everyone, and getting everyone to be enthusiastic about the project of the day.  I'm sure that this nomination will be cumulative with nominations from many other parents and co-workers."

Awards received September 22, 2004

Patricia Jarosz, Music Teacher - (formerly) Bach Elementary
Nominated by Erica Phillips for Innovation

"Mrs. Jarosz has shown that music isn't just notes on a paper but a whole new lifestyle."

Pat Hueter, Teacher - Tappan Middle School
Nominated by Brittany Adams for Innovation

"Mrs. Heuter has been a really kind and caring teacher.  A lot of people really like her.  I think she deserves this so she knows how much we like our teacher."

William Tercala, Teacher - Pattengill Elementary
Nominated by Erica & Randy Taylor for Outstanding Customer Service

"Mr. Tercala is very attentive to his students and is constantly working with the parents in order to provide a better teaching environment for our children."

Peggy Taylor, Teacher - Lakewood Elementary
Nominated by Anne Martino for Outstanding Customer Service

"She is warm, compassionate, highly intelligent and approachable.  No one could ask for a better second grade teacher!"