Shenandoah County Public Schools' Teachers of the Year 2013

Shenandoah County Public Schools recently recognized the division's ten 2012-2013 Teachers of the Year.  On an annual basis, each County School chooses a Teacher of the Year. 
 From these ten school level Teachers of the Year,  administrators at the School Board Office review nominations and select a division level Teacher of the Year.   The photographs below (by Betsy Bushong) were taken at a banquet held in their honor on May 2 at Shrinemont in Orkney Springs. 


Gwendolyn Lantz
Gwendolyn Lantz
School Librarian
Ashby-Lee Elementary School

"There is a famous phrase in Disney’s popular children’s movie, Toy Story, which is said by one of the main characters, Buzz Lightyear, who is a space ranger hero played by actor Tim Allen, where he says, 'To infinity and beyond!'  Well, that same line is not only fitting for our extremely popular and greatly adored hero of our school, but it is the identical saying that was used by a fellow colleague to describe Gwen’s approach to how she runs our library and goes to great lengths to get our students involved with reading and benefit from her love of reading!

"Whether she is meeting with one of her specifically targeted student groups by squeezing them into her already crazy schedule, to taking her students on a journey to a far off land of make believe or on a wild safari to a remote location in the tropical rain forest in one of her daily lessons, Gwen is the real-life example of the word 'enthusiastic.'  Gwen is often seen in costume and character..." 
Excerpts from nomination form by Steve Povlish, Principal


Stephanie Cooper
Stephanie Cooper
Second Grade Teacher
W.W. Robinson
"Highly skilled at
instruction, Stephanie is able to individualize her teaching to meet the needs of all of her students regardless of whether they are struggling or accelerated learners. She creates a safe, fun, and interactive learning environment that encourages students to be high-achieving risk-takers.

"One of her coworkers had the following to say about her:  'In the years I’ve worked with Stephanie, I’ve come to see what a great teacher and person she is.  She has had ELL students in her class every year she’s been at WWR, and these students have always excelled.  Stephanie uses a mixture of teaching styles that appeal to all learners.'" 
Excerpts from nomination form by Sharon Arey, Principal


Myra Stewart
Myra Stewart
School Counselor
Sandy Hook Elementary School
"A specific focus for Sandy Hook Elementary School this year has been on the importance of building positive relationships with the students and each other.  Mrs. Stewart is a leader in this aspect and an example for all of us to follow.  As a colleague shared, 'Myra Stewart’s insight into how people operate enables her to help teachers and parents better understand students’ needs.  This really sets her apart from all the rest of us.' 

"Mrs. Stewart is also a valuable member of our RtI process as she attends tiered meetings on students to assist with interventions and to offer suggestions about services or other ways to help students be successful.  Mrs. Stewart also conducts Love & Logic class for parents . . "
Excerpts from nomination form by Melissa Foltz, Principal 



Sophie Stout
Sophia Stout
Social Studies Teacher
North Fork Middle School
"For the last three years running, Ms. Stout has made an effort to contact parents and have her students who are struggling in her social studies class remain after school for extra support.  She has done this every Thursday for the past three years on her own time. . . Finally, and perhaps most importantly, she is a teacher who is well known for her kindness and the care that she exhibits while working with our sixth grade students and their parents.

[When Ms. Kline announced to the faculty that Sophie Stout was Teacher of the Year],  "Sophie had this complete look of utter surprise and said, 'Did you just say my name? ... We are a team here at NFMS, and I am just so happy to be a part.'"
Excerpts from nomination form by Shelby Kline, Principal


Cindy Wright
Cindy Wright
Math Teacher
Peter Muhlenberg Middle School
"Cindy Wright is a teacher of Math but more than that, she is a consultant, mediator, planner, organizer and supportive colleague to many. 

ou will find her in her room by 6:30 AM in the morning and most mornings you will also find several students who come to her for Math help.  She works with them many times on days she does not have Encore until 8:30.   Then in the afternoon, you will find her still at school after 5:00 PM working on lesson plans, meeting with students, or assisting her colleagues.  She is dedicated to ensuring the success or each one of her students."
Excerpts from nomination form by Gina Stetter, Prinipal    


Jacqueline Weitman
Jacqueline Weitman
School Librarian
Signal Knob Midddle School
"During her years in 7th grade, Mrs. Weitman taught creative writing, math, reading, and life science.  Mrs. Weitman would be quick to clarify that while those were the content areas she planned instruction for, she was really teaching kids because that is where her heart lies and her passion is fueled.  With Mrs. Weitman, it’s all about the kids.  As one colleague shares, 'There is not a student I know whose face doesn’t light up when they hear Mrs. Weitman’s name.  . ..' "
Excerpts from nomination form by Chris Cook, Principal


Jennifer Schraw
Jennifer Schraw
Social Studies Teacher
Stonewall Jackson High School
"Jenn is constantly revising her lessons and curriculum to meet the diverse needs of the students in her classes. One of the special education teachers said this about her:  'I have worked with Jenn Schraw for a number of years as an inclusion teacher in her classroom.  I can say without a doubt that she diversifies her lessons to accommodate not only Special Ed students but all students.'

"I have the upmost respect for Jenn not just as a teacher but as a whole person. To me she is the perfect example of the litmus test I use when I look to bring folks on to our staff at SJ.  Would I want my kids to have a teacher like Jenn Schraw?  The answer is yes, every period of the day!"
Excerpts from nomination form by Mike Dorman, Principal


Tara Mason
Tara Mason
English Teacher
Central High School
"Mrs. Mason is certainly a hero to many of the students and staff members at Central High School.  . . She used to teach the higher level English classes but requested to work with the struggling learners because she felt she could make the biggest impact with them.  She will single handedly make sure that every student walks across the stage in four years with a diploma in their hand. We have seen her breakdown into tears of joy when a student 'finally' passes the English 11 SOL to qualify for their diploma.  Mrs. Mason loves what she does and it shows."
Excerpts from nomination form by Melissa Hensley, Principal


Sean Duffy
Sean Duffy
Math Teacher
Strasburg High School
"The most exceptional piece to Sean Duffy’s classroom is the relationship he builds with each and every student. He models his expectations and holds students accountable, yet he greets them with class handshakes and salutes, nicknames and his boundless energy and encouragement. 

"As a participant in the Guest for a Day program, Mr. Dennis Morris from the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors spent a day in Sean Duffy’s classroom.  'The thing that stood out for me was Mr. Duffy’s ability to connect to his students,' said Mr. Morris. . .'he treated all of them with the same respect. I could see that the students felt that every question they asked was important and meaningful. I have made a friend for life and I just spent one day in his classroom!'"
Excerpts from nomination form by Ken Knesh, Principal


John Davis
John Davis
Computer Networking and Computer Animation
Triplett Tech

"The students attracted to Mr. Davis’s program are often those who would not be considered the “popular” or mainstream type of student. Furthermore, it is often difficult for teachers to develop rapport with these students. 

[Mr. Arey interviewed three students. Their comments follow.] ..".the stories they told were all very similar
.... 'Mr. Davis is the greatest teacher ever, he is unique and has a way that other teachers don’t use often and it works. He relates to us and I don’t really relate well to teachers.' 

"Another said,
'He’s fun, I walk in and know the day is going to be good. He’s an inspiration, I want to be a game designer and he teaches us the tools that we are going to be able to use.'

"The third
student said, 'He’s not like other teachers. They teach the class, but he grabs your attention.' "
Excerpts from nomination form by Barry Arey, Principal

SCPS Teachers of the Year 2012-13