GOLD STAR AWARD RECIPIENTS


Leisa Gibson, Office Professional at Scarlett - November 19, 2007
Nominated by Debbie Harris

Leisa deserves this excellence in customer service award for many reasons.  She is very friendly, helpful, has a great attitude, personality and is always in a great mood!!  She is a wonderful first impression for all who enter Scarlett Middle School!!  She welcomes everyone with a smile and is always helpful, knowledgable and available to answer any questions.  She is especially wonderful for all the new students and parents and all our many questions and concerns.  She is a terrific asset to AAPS and we are thrilled to have her as our own at Scarlett!!!


Edward Bloom, Assistant Principal at Scarlett - November 19, 2007
Gary Saunders - Transportation
Nominated by Nakisha Chaney

My niece, who is in my care, attends Scarlett Middle School.  After school one day, she came home upset that two boys at her bus stop were consistently teasing her at the bus stop and on the bus.  The following morning, I contacted transportation.  In addition, my husband went to the school to meet the bus with the transportation supervisor (Gary Saunders).  When my husband saw Mr. Broom, he told him about the situation.  Mr. Broom, who was clearly busy with other matters, immediately stopped what he was doing to assist the transportation supervisor in finding out what happened and render appropriate discipline.  There was literally less than one hour between the time that I reported the harassment to transportation and the time that Mr. Saunders and Mr. Broom put a stop to it.  Even with my high expectations of Ann Arbor Public Schools, I was extremely impressed.  I thank Mr. Broom and Mr. Saunders for their immediate attention and swift action.


Jaye Peterson, PE Teacher at Scarlett - November 19, 2007
Nominated by Amy Amaral

Mrs. Peterson has been friendly and supportive to my daughter Alyssa who is a 6th grader. While they were running a 1/2 mile and attempting to run a mile in P.E. class, she told Alyssa that she did a good job on completeing the 1/2 mile. This seems like a simple comment, but Alyssa said that this was the first time a teacher said that to her after running.This made her feel good about her acomplishment instead of feeling bad she was not able to complete the full mile like the rest of the class! Alyssa has a difficult time with running and some physical activities due to her medical conditions, but she never gives up, and with support like this, she will run far !


Sally Johnson - Head Custodian at Scarlett - November 19, 2007 (awarded COE 11/13/03)
Nominated by Cathy Campbell

Sally Johnson has worked tirelessly throughout the 3 year process of remodeling Scarlett. Now that the remodeling is done and everyone is back in their own rooms, it is obvious to all that our building has never looked more beautiful nor has ever been so clean.  But that's not all!  Sally's efforts to maintain the building and remain cheerful and ever-helpful are inspirational to everyone who encounters her.  She is an advocate for kids and does so much more than her job description requires through her interactions with the students.  This past school opening, Scarlett hosted many Professional Development sessions for district employees.  Due to Mrs. Johnson's professionalism and desire to present Scarlett in the best possible light, much additional work was done by Sally and her staff which resulted in staff from across the district commenting on how  great the building looked.

The truly amazing thing about it is that anybody can come ANY DAY and see how beautiful the building is, how clean it is and how well Mrs.Johnson takes care of not just the building, but the people in the building too.  For all of her efforts, for her going above and beyond, Sally Johnson is more than deserving of a Celebration of Excellence award.


Maraguerite Hansma,  Office Professional at Scarlett - November 19, 2007 (awarded COE 5/23/01)
Nominated by Selima Khan

Mrs. Hansma is a very warm and friendly person. I think she is very professional. Any kind of help you need at Scarlett about  your children, just go to Mrs. Hansma and she will take care or it right away or she will arrange you to meet the right person and make sure that the issue has been taken care of. She is always in a great attitude. I have never seen her without her cordial smile and welcoming voice no matter how many people  she is helping at a time or what time of the day it is. She would brighten your day. I think she is very professional, and very encouraging for students and parents, especially for new middle schooler families.


Andrew Collins,  Chemistry Teacher at Huron - November 19, 2007
Nominated by Michael Liu

Mr. Andrew Collins is a very knowledgeable Chemistry teacher. He integrates real world applications to the Chemistry classroom, which make the subject much easier to understand. He spends a lot of time helping students after school. He creates a classroom atmosphere which facilitates the students’ interest and eagerness. His class provides a solid foundation of chemistry for students. There is a sound consistence between the AP results and his Chemistry class.


Anthony Pariano, English Teacher at Huron - November 19, 2007
Nominated by Michael Liu

Mr. Anthony Pariano is very thorough in his work. He does a great job bringing out the best in his students. He helps students learn about themselves and their potential through meaningful class discussions and well-planned assignments. He creates a classroom atmosphere which facilitates the students’ interest and eagerness.



Ron Collins, Principal at Carpenter - December 20, 2007  (awarded COE 5/9/01)
Nominated by Kelly Jo Walter

I believe Mr. Collins should be recognized because he does go above and beyond on a daily basis and has genuine concern for all students, faculty and even the parents.  He is out in the lobby every day greetingn the students, or at the drop off site directing traffic and waving hello.  He is out there after school trying to ensure the safety of students and that they get where they are supposed to be.

He listens to the children even when a disciplinary situation may arise and he works towards a solution, not just a punishment.  He is very positive and encourages good behavior and learning.


Michelle Seals, Teacher at Carpenter - December 20, 2007 (awarded COE 10/13/04)
Nominated by Heather & Bryant Whitmore

Mrs. Seals goes above and beyond what is “required” to be a  teacher.  As a parent volunteer, I’ve been able to observe her innate ability to not only connect with each individual student on an emotional level, thus giving each child the security of knowing they are in a safe environment.  But, also, she has an innate ability to appropriately assess each child’s academic needs and abilities.  She has a diverse class, yet I’ve witnessed her show honor and respect to each individual student.  Not only does she display kindness and respect of each child and his or her family values in front of the parents, she does so within her classroom on a daily basis.

Personally, she has been a wonderful support to us.  Our son started in her class last year.  He was excited but academically nervous and unsure. Any time we mentioned any of our concerns; she patiently listened and reassured us.  We over worried at times and she gave reasonable, balanced recommendations to us.  At times, we weren’t sure all of her suggestions would work, but we tried them anyway.  All of them worked!  Our son is in her kindergarten class for the second year, this year.  At first, we were very concerned about allowing this.  Now, we realize how grateful we are to her for recommending this.  Our son is thriving academically this year.  He loves learning, is confident in class and strives to do more. 

Mrs. Seals touches the lives of her students and their families in a lasting way.  We are grateful that her “job” improves the quality of our family’s life.


Jeff Gaynor - Teacher at Clague - December 20, 2007  (awarded COE 1/16/02)
Nominated by Kate McGonagle & Tom George

We would like to nominate Jeff Gaynor for a Customer Service award in the Celebration of Excellence program.  Two of our children have had the good fortune of having Jeff as a teacher at Clague Middle School:  our son, who is currently in 6th-grade, and our daughter who is currently in 8th grade.  

Jeff is a highly enthusiastic teacher who is passionate about his work and goes above and beyond the call of duty in many ways.  He takes the time and makes the effort to forge strong ties with parents by communicating frequently and regularly, through email, often multiple times a week, and through the updating of a highly informative classroom website.  The classroom website contains all of the information a parent and student need to know about the current assignments, upcoming assignments, prior assignments which are neatly archived, and links to other helpful educational websites.  As evidence of his passion for teaching, Jeff also writes a detailed weekly summary that describes his thoughts and impressions of morale that week in the classroom, and alerts parents to weeks that are particularly challenging.   If he is aware of local events or media with special educational relevance, he provides this information.  In addition, Jeff puts childrenÕs grades (in a secure, confidential way) on the website so that parents can check progress.  What is truly excellent about all of this is not just the comprehensive source of information, but how regularly Jeff takes the time to communicate.  Without fail, even when he missed a few days for minor surgery, Jeff had this information updated on a weekly basis.

Jeff also goes above and beyond the call of duty in the classroom.  For example, he dedicates his time after school one day a week, without fail, to help any child with any kind of work support that they need. This might be remedial work, or extra work if they need more of a challenge.  Jeff tailors his interactions with the students to meet their learning style and academic level.

Jeff takes the time and makes the effort to develop a very thorough understanding of the personality and learning style of his students.  Through his frequent communication with parents he also alerts them to any issues about their children that may be useful information for them.  Jeff routinely offers to have conferences with parents about all children, and will do so on an as-needed basis with virtually no notice.

Our son was recently ill and out of the classroom for one week.  Jeff met with us twice during the week to help us develop a plan to catch him up on the content of the week, and met with our son individually after school one day.   It is this level of caring and commitment to the students that makes Jeff an outstanding teacher.  The AAPS is extremely fortunate to have such an excellent individual as part of its teaching staff.  We hope this very deserving teacher is recognized for his contributions through a Customer Service award.


Judy Knorr, Teacher at King - January 25, 2008

Nominated by Justin & Lingzhi Chen

She is fair, funny and strict at the same time.  She is sensitive to various students' needs and caters personalized care to the needs, be it psychological, mental or physical.  She listens to parents and is great at working with them in helping kids learn. 



Barbara Moore, Office Professional at Huron - January 25, 2008

Nominated by Mary Cullen Guttman

Barb Moore oversees the Huron High School college application process.  Imagine that! Through her hands pass hundreds of college hopes and dreams from stressed-out, anxious, and nervously excited students in their final year of high school.  Barb understands stress levels are high when students seek out those college acceptance letters.  So she greets each and every student with kindness, patience, and compassion.  Instantly seniors realize that the college materials they’ve so carefully prepared are being left in very good hands.

Barb also answers numerous inquiries from parents and guardians.  She is always able to thoroughly explain the college application process and answer any questions.  She will organize, sort, distribute and keep track of every single application as if it were her own. 

It is my pleasure to nominate Ms. Barb Moore for the Ann Arbor Public Schools Celebration of Excellence Award.  Barb is a fabulous Ann Arbor Public School employee. She deserves a round of applause for all that she does for all our River Rat college-bound students. 


Christopher Kohl, Teacher at Scarlett - January 25, 2008
Nominated by Ellen Harcourt

Mr. Kohl designed three health units (healthy body/mind, drugs/ human sexuality) that incorporated extensive computer research and had students use the information as a basis for writing and oral presentations.  Students worked in groups and were encouraged to involve their families and other community resources.  His units were not only inspiring and valuable; they were fun for all of us. My grandson has incorporated these lessons in his every day living whether he is choosing snack food or choosing friends.  Hooray for Mr. Kohl!  Clone him!


Soon Hotaling, Teacher at Clague - January 25, 2008
Nominated by Ybarra Family

Ms. Hotaling creates an environment in her classroom curriculum and environment that blends accountability with performance. As a parent, I receive 2 communications each week that keep me informed of expectations and outcomes--I appreciate the information so much! Her engagement with students is wonderful and she has been able to make science genuinely accessible to all students. Her energetic approach and her creative labs create an excitement about science that is evidenced in their retention of information and the quality of science projects produced. Her commitment to the students is amazing. This is our second child to have her for science--both found the material positively challenging and were able to excel in large part as a result of how Ms. Hotaling presents and supports the curriculum. She is able to share her love for science in a way that sparks and inspires her students. Her dedication goes above and beyond expectations so it is with great appreciation that we are advancing her nomination.


Katie Kiolbasa, Special Ed Teacher at Clague - January 25, 2008
Nominated by Kelly Bauer

Mrs. Kiolbasa is the best special education teacher I have ever met in 8 years of dealing with a special needs child.

She has been successful in making sure everyday that each child needs are met. She does this by not using what is the standard but what will work for each child. This can be creating a rewards program or using every opportunity to bring life skills into the classroom. She never misses a chance to help her kids go beyond any limitations they may have. There is no such thing as "can't" in her classroom. Her kids are always regarded as being capable of doing anything and she makes sure she does her best to make that happen.

Please award this incredible teacher.


Philip Huyck, Teacher at King - January 25, 2008
Nominated by Au, Clegg, Chih, Modell

Dr. Debbie Clegg writes:
One thing Brad really enjoyed about Mr. Huyck's teaching style was his humor.  He made learning fun by being funny.  The students were very involved in the learning process.  He also was very attentive to the
individual students' needs, and he went out of his way to do extra things for them, like organize special events and programs and put together slide shows of class activities as "class year souvenirs".  He takes his job very seriously and always wants to put forth his best effort.  I think he's very deserving of an award.

Dr. Stephen Modell writes:
Phil Huyck was our daughter's teacher in 1st and in 3rd grade. That in itself - teaching significantly different grade levels - shows a great deal of skill and flexibility on his part. As a parent, I was impressed by the creative (and fun) science experiments he conducted with his students in both grades. If you have ever seen the amazing student talent shows he hosts, and the electronic gadgetry he has used for the shows and attending to the class on a daily basis, there can be no doubt of Mr. Huyck's innovativeness. A final note that the Turkey trot, potato sack, and balloon tossing games he hosted at last year's school closing were among the finest and funnest activities our little schooler has enjoyed.  Bestowing the Excellence award on Phil Huyck would be a very fitting gesture.

Hui Chih & Cheng Chih Lin write:
Mr. Huyck has made an extremely positive impact in his students' learning experiences. We've witnessed his ability and dedication on every school day; starting with daily planning session in every morning, followed by attention to every detail in every student. His approach always well thought out and the discipline in classroom always well maintained. More importantly, he has the ability to present course
materials in clear and interesting ways that have achieved effective learning among all students. As a result, the students have discovered fun in learning. We're very grateful to have Mr Huyck as teacher of our kid.

Lily Au writes:   
As I always volunteer at noon hour, I know how students enjoy the "Lunch club" from Mr. Huyck. It's a wonderful alternative for students especially when it is too cold outside. Students try their best to show good performance in order to get there. Mr. Huyck teaches in a very organized way and I appreciate his calmness and fairness. Above all, my kid said "Mom, Mr. Huyck is a very good teacher" It tells everything. Mr.Huyck tries every effort to protect our Earth. He sends very neat electronic classroom newsletter to families with relevant pictures in it. Environmental education is a must in our era if we want to preserve a better planet for our

Thomas Clarkson, Teacher at King Elementary - October 28, 2008

Nominated by Lily Au


Mr. Clarkson co-taught my son two years ago. He's a wonderful science teacher inspiring students to search more on their own. He prepared neat notes and had tests for them as consolidation. He impresses me not only by responsible teaching in the class, but also the way he lives, his working attitude and the way he treats children and adults.

As I'm a volunteer noon hour supervisor, the co-workers and I both feel his great support. He initiates to give his lunch time to coach misbehaved children. No matter when, where, what, he takes great responsibility for his students. I see his spirit and willing to sacrifice!

For PTO fund raising, he must be the first group of teachers to donate.  Every year, he goes through lots of work to have parties for students in his class. Please don't think that they just make merry. Students learn through various activities in it. I asked, "Why you have to go through such tons of work?" He said,"If the students feel happy, I feel happy!" That's it. It's love. This is the power to motivate him to do extra for students.

After school, you can still see Mr. Clarkson staying in his room to talk with parents. That's the way a young author of "Rules in classroom" doesn't recommend. The author honestly said that he doesn't want any troubles from parents, and the author only reports students' good aspect. However, Mr. Clarkson doesn't take that short cut, he would expect mutual partnership when it comes to education. I appreciate his way of wanting excellence for his students. Above all, you have to know him, so you can feel his enthusiasm and sunny smile and he is definitely a walking model for both students and adults. Of course, my kid says, "Mr. Clarkson is cool!" There is a Chinese proverb "Giving people a big smile is the highest form of virtue" He is demonstrating this philosophy to his students every day.

 


 Shirley Eagen, Teacher at Forsythe - March 4, 2009

Nominated by Maureen and Mark Kassof

Ms. Eagen is a consistent dedicated English Teacher. She is diligent, and quickly responds to parental e mails.  Since the beginning of the year my daugter’s writing has improved ten fold. She is highly motivating as she consistently ups the bar for students to improve. She takes her position very seriously as she is available after school to meet with students, and parents. She consistently reads a plethora of assigned work, returning papers in a timely manner. I actually have received e mails at 1 AM from Ms. Eagen. I hope that Ms. Eagen who has taught for many years is considered for this achievement.  A teacher who can maintain consistency after decades of teaching is so deserving of recognition.

Brit Satchwell, Teacher at Forsythe - March 4, 2009
Nominated by Maureen and Mark Kassof

Mr. Satchwell is consistently available and responsive to parents, and students.  He can be reached by phone seven days per week.  I am aware that last summer he tutored for free students who were not academically prepared for seventh grade math.  We so appreciate his consistent responsiveness, and believe he is deserving of recognition for his hard work and care for every student in his classes. 

Susan G. Schneider, Teacher at Huron - April 8, 2009
Nominated by Maureen and Mark Kassof

Mrs. Susan Schneider is an excellent Math Teacher.  She goes well beyond the traditional class room time to help students.  In fact, Mrs. Schneider has been holding informal tutoring sessions in her class room after school for two hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the past two years.  The tutoring is open to all Huron math students.  Mrs. Schneider is not paid to do this, and she was not told to do this.  Her only compensation is the fact that she is helping students learn.  In her typical fashion of putting students first,  Mrs. Schneider saw a need and responded.  She is the type of teacher that encourages other teachers to give their best effort.  She provides an excellent model for an Ann Arbor teacher.   It is a true privilege and joy to work with such a dedicated individual.  Both the students and faculty at Huron High School are fortunate to have a teacher like Mrs. Schneider in their midst!


 Phil Kitchell, SISS - May 6, 2009
Nominated by Joanne Darr

The family support subsidy (FSS) requires a letter of documentation from the district of the applicants qualifying disability. The FSS is a Michigan program that provides a small monthly check to eligible families with the purpose of helping to keep students with severe disabilities in the home.  Phillip has been a Godsend in supplying the letters from Ann Arbor Public Schools in a timely fashion so that the families are able to receive checks with no disruption in service.  He makes my job a breeze!

 


Armand Campbell, Custodian at Slauson - October 13, 2009
Nominated by Johanna Nader

Armand is the night custodian on our floor. He is extremely conscientious and always willing to help in any way. Armand regularly checks with us to see that we are happy with his work. I really appreciate the pride Armand takes in his work. As a result, I can be confident that my classroom will be ready for my students every day.

  


 Kit Flynn, Media Specialist at Ann Arbor Open - October 13, 2009
Nominated by Joyce Followell, Cindy Quackenbush

For quite sometime the media specialists and media clerks have looked to various people as leaders in our professional groups.  Kit has stepped forward with modest pay, as that leader/mentor to all media specialists and library clerks in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.  Most recently, in a partnership with the University of Michigan to bring a World Language program to all of our elementary schools, Kit worked alongside staff from the U of M to implement a successful start. Kit has advocated for all students with the securing of an updated and easily assessable online catalog. Kit has worked tirelessly to showcase our wonderful school library programs and she secures the latest technology training.  Our AAPS students and staff have benefited greatly because of the dedication and leadership of Kit Flynn.


Mike Hogue, ITD Technical Specialist - September 8, 2009
Nominated by Barbara Klaver

It isn’t even Labor Day but Mike Hogue, and the ITD Help Desk team, just performed another miracle. He changed the lexile database I’d been sent from a gargantuan mishmash of functionally useless information to 94,000 lexiled book titles organized with a user-friendly search option that also brings up each book’s author, publication date, page count, and summary! Mike’s like that.  He always goes above and beyond, often spiffing up my computer when I bring it in for service and sharing good products for me to use on it.  Practically every time I contact Mike, he moves something around on my dock or desktop to make it easier to use. He’s so cheerful about it, I can go to him with questions that spectacularly demonstrate my ignorance. This last time too, I smiled into the phone, because preparatory to his “taking over my computer,” instead of telling me for the umpteenth time how to initiate the process, he asked kindly, “Now what do you do?”


Jeremy Eldred, ITD Technical Assistant - November 3, 2009
Nominated by Amy Osinski

Jeremy Eldred has been exceptionally responsive and helpful assisting me with my technology issues.  Concerns ranging from printers to laptops, internet connections to monitors, Jeremy is a wealth of knowledge and quick to resolve problems.  With my work so intertwined in technology, it would grind to a screeching halt if someone wasn’t there to fix it “right now!”  Thank you, Jeremy, for your time and expertise!  I appreciate everything you do.

Denise Eaddy-Richardson, Counselor @ Huron High School - December 2, 2009 (RECEIVED COE AWARD 5/11/05)
Nominated by Phyllis Coleman

Whether you see Ms. Eaddy-Richardson in the stands supporting students at sports events or in the media center after school assisting them at the MASH program, the point is that you usually see her with students.  When she isn't with students, she is with their parents or attending meetings in her students' behalf.  On weekends, after school hours, or late in the evening, you find her busy answering emails and phone calls from parents she couldn't get to while she was busy with her students during the day.  She not only works to solve problems for students, she works hard to help them prevent problems from developing!

Ms. Eaddy-Richardson is a remarkable counselor and a true example of excellence.  She probably has no idea how much her students and parents appreciate her. We are so fortunate to have her as our student's counselor at Huron.


Cindy Johengen, Teacher @ Allen Elementary School - January 25, 2010 (RECEIVED COE AWARD 2/18/09)
Nominated by Shari Grogan-Kaylor

Creative does not begin to describe Mrs. Cindy Johengen,”Mrs.J” Light years beyond and way, way above the ordinary is where Mrs. J reigns.  Often employing several personality and voice changes per student/per lesson, Mrs. J inspires by very enthusiastic example and students join her on flights of fancy --diving deep into the real wonder in all there is to learn:  from Viking's with no horns to estimating the metallic contents of various foreign currencies to memorizing Pi to the 30th place and beyond!   Mrs. J's passionate teaching style creates a bond with students that I have never seen before.  The degree to which Mrs. J continues to be involved in the lives of her “former” students who are in middle school, high school, college and beyond with frequent notes and visits is extraordinary.   Parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles, former students, neighbors of students, all come in to do book talks and to add to lessons.  Mrs. J has a flair for the dramatic, for sure, but this is only half of her rare alchemy:  she is also highly attuned to each student as a whole person and, for this, I am most thankful.  We are all so fortunate to have Mrs. J in our lives to remind us of the wonder all around us and to connect with one another.     

Jeffrey Willets, Teacher @ Eberwhite Elementary School (RECEIVED COE AWARD 8/8/01)
Nominated by Cindy Caviani

I am writing because I want you to know that after teaching in Ann Arbor almost 41 years, I have experienced the finest music teacher in Jeffrey Willets.  His excellence is recognized students, staff and parents.

Last week our second and third grade students attended a performance by the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra at Hill Auditorium.  Jeff had prepared the students perfectly, in coordination with the Symphony’s Student Outreach Director Laura Dunbar.

Children experienced a humanities type program of general history, geography, social studies, diversity and language.  The National Standards of Music were incorporated as well.  Over the course of weeks of preparation, Jeff had students listening to the music, hearing about the composers’ own history and composition of pieces.

Students took home a packet of work on the “Musical Voyage” to share with their parents.  Here are some comments from some students after the performance:

“It was a pretty special opportunity.” -- Ben Steinhoff
“It showed how spectacular music can be and about careers in music.” -- Benjamin Hack
“I liked Gershwin’s “I’ve Got Music” because it was very different from the others.” -- Grace Gondek
“I learned a lot about Copland’s “Fanfare For The Common Man.”  It went from slow to really really fast.” -- Vanessa Woolley
“The pictures on the big screen that went with “West Side Story” were pretty nice.” -- Nicole Diaz-Pezua

In addition to bringing performances here, every student also participates in a musical during the year to the delight of us all

Do you have anyone at Balas who sings in the hallways?  Jeffrey does.  Through his programs, enthusiasm and personality, he certainly spreads happiness through his love of music education.


Cindy Johengen, Teacher @ Allen Elementary School - February 1, 2010 (RECEIVED COE AWARD 2/18/09)

Nominated by Shari Grogan-Kaylor

Creative does not begin to describe Mrs. Cindy Johengen,”Mrs.J” Light years beyond and way, way above the ordinary is where Mrs. J reigns.  Often employing several personality and voice changes per student/per lesson, Mrs. J inspires by very enthusiastic example and students join her on flights of fancy --diving deep into the real wonder in all there is to learn:  from Viking's with no horns to estimating the metallic contents of various foreign currencies to memorizing Pi to the 30th place and beyond!   Mrs. J's passionate teaching style creates a bond with students that I have never seen before.  The degree to which Mrs. J continues to be involved in the lives of her “former” students who are in middle school, high school, college and beyond with frequent notes and visits is extraordinary.   Parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles, former students, neighbors of students, all come in to do book talks and to add to lessons.  Mrs. J has a flair for the dramatic, for sure, but this is only half of her rare alchemy:  she is also highly attuned to each student as a whole person and, for this, I am most thankful.  We are all so fortunate to have Mrs. J in our lives to remind us of the wonder all around us and to connect with one another.      


Jeffrey Willets, Teacher @ Eberwhite Elementary School - March 26, 2010 (RECEIVED COE award in 2001)

Nominated by Cindy Caviani

I am writing because I want you to know that after teaching in Ann Arbor almost 41 years, I have experienced the finest music teacher in Jeffrey Willets.  His excellence is recognized students, staff and parents.

 

Last week our second and third grade students attended a performance by the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra at Hill Auditorium.  Jeff had prepared the students perfectly, in coordination with the Symphony’s Student Outreach Director Laura Dunbar. 

Children experienced a humanities type program of general history, geography, social studies, diversity and language.  The National Standards of Music were incorporated as well.  Over the course of weeks of preparation, Jeff had students listening to the music, hearing about the composers’ own history and composition of pieces.

Students took home a packet of work on the “Musical Voyage” to share with their parents.  Here are some comments from some students after the performance:

“It was a pretty special opportunity.” -- Ben Steinhoff

“It showed how spectacular music can be and about careers in music.” -- Benjamin Hack

“I liked Gershwin’s “I’ve Got Music” because it was very different from the others.” -- Grace Gondek

“I learned a lot about Copland’s “Fanfare For The Common Man.”  It went from slow to really really fast.” -- Vanessa Woolley

“The pictures on the big screen that went with “West Side Story” were pretty nice.” -- Nicole Diaz-Pezua

In addition to bringing performances here, every student also participates in a musical during the year to the delight of us all

Do you have anyone at Balas who sings in the hallways?  Jeffrey does.  Through his programs, enthusiasm and personality, he certainly spreads happiness through his love of music education.


Mary Fishwick, Secretary & Gary Court, Principal @ Angell Elementary School - April 19, 2011

Nominated by Jack Panitch, parent 

I work 65 miles away, and my wife is out of town visiting a sick family member.  My son, Nathaniel, was supposed to go on a field trip yesterday with his class.  At recess, just before the kids were scheduled to leave, he fell in a huge puddle and was soaking wet and covered from head to toe with mud.   The class had to leave without him, and he was so sad.  But Gary Court and Mary Fishwick found an extra set of clothes and shoes, got him clean and dry, and Mr. Court reunited him with his class on the field trip.  Again, this could have been very upsetting for my son and very difficult for me under the circumstances.  I am grateful to Mr. Court and Mrs. Fishwick: I know that they would have done the same for any child in need, but it was my child this time, and I am grateful for the care and consideration they show Angell families every day.  This may seem like a small thing to some, but it was huge in my eyes.  


Julie Spiroff, Teacher @ Wines Elementary School - June 6, 2011
Nominated by Leeanne Chadwick

As the school year comes to a close, I would like to recognize who I consider to be one of the best teachers in the district, she is the model of excellence. My son Jack, the youngest of three in the AAPS system, is a fifth grader at Wines ES. His teacher is Julie Spiroff. Over the past few years, I had heard in the community about how "great" she is as a teacher and person. We were fortunate enough to have Julie as Jack's teacher this year. Julie is creative, innovative, organized and inspiring. Jack will attend middle school fully prepared for the curriculum ahead of him. His reading and writing skills are excellent because of Julie's dedication to the subjects. She is able to make learning fun and interesting in all of the subjects with real life applications that the children file away in their memory bank. Jack has gone to school EVERY day this year with enthusiasm and happiness. Her communication skills with the parents is excellent. 

My wish is that you will take a moment and recognize Julie for her excellence because she truly is EXCEPTIONAL!


Candyce Rozelle-Williams, Secretary at Huron High School - November 15, 2011
Nominated by RaShonda Jamerson, co-worker

Candy IS above and beyond. She helps so many different people in the building that when I asked what her job title is, I was in awe. She does way more for the people in this building than her job title and description suggest.

She overheard me saying that I would be here for a while (at the end of the work day) and volunteered to stay and help until the project was completed. She has been so gracious in helping to fix my silly errors in scheduling and manage all the requests of the counselors. She always greets others with a pleasant smile. She's always offering her help. Her thoughtfulness and her ability to make herself available is as sweet as her name...Candy.


 

Christy Schneemilch, Teacher at Scarlett Middle School - November 15, 2011 (RECEIVED COE AWARD IN 2001)
Nominated by Judi Lintott, parent

Christy Schneemilch inspires everyone she touches -- current students, parents, and future and past students as well. She strives to reach students both in and outside of the classroom to enrich their learning opportunities. In fall of 2010, I had a conversation with Christy about her camping and hiking experiences on Michigan's South Manitou Island. She shared her dream of some day being able to take a group of students to the island because there is so much more she can teach them there, in the wilds of Michigan than she can in a sterile classroom setting. Christy was aware, however, that it was likely impossible to do this in a traditional AAPS program, or on her “teacher time” during the school year. Together, Christy and I recruited a group of (total) 17 people -- Christy and 4 Scarlett moms, 7 Scarlett 8th graders, 1 Scarlett 6th grader, 1 Mitchell 1st grader and a Mitchell 4th grader, 1 Carpenter 1st grader and a Carpenter 3rd Grader -- to make the trek to Northern Michigan. We camped one night at a Girl Scout camp south of Traverse City, then took the ferry to South Manitou Island where we spent 4 days and 3 nights. Christy shared her love of the outdoors with us, taught us about the environmental and social history of the Island and led us on 3 amazing days of hiking the outer reaches of the Island. Even if she wasn't already the kids' favorite teacher of all time, participating in this trip certainly clinched the deal! Thank you Christy Schneemilch for all you do for Scarlett and our families! We love you.


 Larissa Czuchnowsky, Teacher @ Forsythe Middle School - April 3, 2012

Nominated by Mary Beth DiFranco

I respectfully nominate Ms. Czuchnowsky and Ms. Metz for their creative efforts  in bringing  such an important new program called  WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) -the Boomerang Project - to  Forsythe Middle School.

This Middle School transition program increases student achievement, provides schools with a structure in which students make real connections with each other thus increasing school safety and reducing incidence of bullying and helps to teach leadership skills to our 8th grade students.

We have Ms. Czuchnowsky and Ms. Metz to thank for their extra time and effort investing in our students at Forsythe Middle School, making it a safer place to learn and promoting our students’ achievement.


Pam Metz, Teacher @ Forsythe Middle School - April 3, 2012

Nominated by Mary Beth DiFranco

I respectfully nominate Ms. Czuchnowsky and Ms. Metz for their creative efforts  in bringing  such an important new program called  WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) -the Boomerang Project - to  Forsythe Middle School.

This Middle School transition program increases student achievement, provides schools with a structure in which students make real connections with each other thus increasing school safety and reducing incidence of bullying and helps to teach leadership skills to our 8th grade students.

We have Ms. Czuchnowsky and Ms. Metz to thank for their extra time and effort investing in our students at Forsythe Middle School, making it a safer place to learn and promoting our students’ achievement.



BPIS Team @ Logan: Terra Webster, Emily Fairless, Judy Hart, Kristie Krille, Angela Warr, Connie Ehlke, Heather Gray - April 3, 2012

Nominated by Che Carter

The Positive Behavior Intervention Support program is a fairly new concept in the AAPS elementary schools.  Recently I had the opportunity to view an i-movie that was developed by the Logan Elementary PBIS Team that will serve their schools and other schools for years to come.  What struck me the most is that the teachers who participated in the development of the i-movie did so on their own time which speaks to their commitment to the children at Logan Elementary and willingness to lead.  The completed project is high quality and innovative.  

They have clearly demonstrated a level of excellence that I want to be recognized publicly.  Congratulations and keep up the great work!


Laura Roth, Teacher @ Tappan - May 22, 2013

Nominated by Alon Kahana

Ms. Laura Roth has given new meaning to the word “dedication”when it comes to her students. Her weekly emails, regular communication with parents, ability to motivate her students, and skill in teaching complex ideas, all make her an exemplary teacher. But she is much more than that - her commitment to her students is truly inspiring. She spends countless hours grading papers, revising drafts, and encouraging students to perform at their highest level. She also knows how to focus on her students' skills, and provides excellent reinforcement to build confidence. She is also very accessible to parents, and responds quickly to any concerns or questions. Overall, Laura Roth is an excellent example of outstanding customer service.