We often reflect on how we as educators can make a positive impact on our students. We’ve often heard that many students may not remember their teachers for the content that they taught, but they will definitely remember them because of a smile, a hug, or a secret handshake. Yes…a secret handshake. This year’s recipient takes the time to have individual handshakes with each of her students, and I assure you that the number of students that she serves is very large. When we called our recipient, she was overwhelmed. We were not surprised by her reaction: she immediately deflected the attention away from herself and reminded me that she is a member of a great team. We told her that is the exact type of response that we would expect to receive from her. If you know her, you know that she is a true servant, one that is dedicated to serving her students.We would like to share a few quotes from her colleagues: “I can’t think of another teacher who wears more hats. She dedicates so much of her personal time to her students, going above and beyond. Her work ethic is amazing. She puts 100% into everything that she does and does so with integrity." Her principal wrote, “She is the model of leadership amongst her peers in the district, consistently going above and beyond for the school district. A leader in her field, everything she does is with the best interests of her students in mind. She works tirelessly to make sure each student feels loved, cared for, and has a home in the department.” Finally, we would like to share some quotes that have been shared from some of her former students: “She is a great role model. She always has a positive attitude. “The best thing about her is that she just gets it! She knows everything there is to know about what she teaches. She knows exactly how to explain it so that everyone else gets it, too”. “She is not only a teacher, but a mentor for the future and someone who has helped me in more ways than she could ever know”. “She understands students better than any teacher I have ever met. She connects in so many ways”. We often talk about the importance of our students connecting in some way with what is going on at school. This teacher makes sure that every single student she serves has that connection, and she does it so effortlessly because of the passion that she has for kids. A common theme in these quotes has been her practice of going above and beyond. Her willingness to go above and beyond has positively impacted the lives of thousands of students. She is the ultimate professional and is an outstanding representative for our profession, our school district, and community. Please join us in congratulating this year’s “Teacher of the Year” - Mrs. Jill Wilhelm
Our recipient this year currently serves as an Educational Assistant. A colleague shared that she has demonstrated a total dedication that goes beyond the call of duty. The person that nominated our recipient had this to say about her: “Her duties are not the typical duties of an Educational Assistant. Her special students, who begin attending our program as early as the day they turn three, come to us with a variety of special needs that must be met while being educated and prepared for kindergarten. Her duties include the typical receiving and exiting students to and from the bus. Her students are often crying or asleep, in which case she often carries them and soothes them. She puts on and takes off coats, mittens, hats, and scarves during the winter months. She also feeds students that are unable to eat without assistance and potty trains many of the students that she serves. Every Kindergarten teacher who gets a student who is fully potty-trained and stays clean during the school day should thank her for the endless hours she spends taking three to five year olds to the potty. The nominator wrote, “We are talking about five to six students per morning and afternoon sessions, and each of them more than twice per session, so you do the math…she should definitely have a desk and chair in the preschool bathroom.” She cleans dirty noses and wipes sneezes from sleeves, sits in proximity to students who need constant supervision for safety reasons and may often get bruised by some exuberant behaviors. She does it all without losing her temper, ever. She smiles and speaks in a calm, soothing voice that wins the heart of every difficult child she educates. She has been assigned to work with some of the most difficult students because it is widely known that she can work miracles. She has been kicked, pinched, and bruised many times. Yet, she continues to treat each of the students she serves with the utmost respect and kindness. She is an educator by heart. Not only does she teach sign language to many non-verbal students, she has also trained teachers during her lunch time. While with her students, she grabs every opportunity during the day to teach them social skills, language skills, quantity and quality concepts, colors, phonemic awareness skills, literacy skills…all while potty training, feeding, wiping noses and nurturing their souls with love and kindness. She has been heard teaching rote counting while changing diapers and the ABC’s while pushing a swing. She is truly one of a kind. Those who work with her call her Saint Sharon. She is an amazing person and educator.
Please join us in congratulating this year’s Support Staff Member of the Year, Mrs. Sharon Haas.