2/19/2014 9:15:00 AM School board honors 10 Teacher of the Year nominees
Chino Valley’s nominees for Teachers of the Year awards from the Yavapai County Education Foundation received certificates and recognition at the Chino Valley Unified School District Board Feb. 10 meeting, from left, CVHS - John Vreyens, DRE - Debby Schoenfeld, DRE - Linda Church, HMS - Hillary Palmer, CVHS - Sara Rosengren, HMS - Shannon Feipel, DRE - Kathy Johnson, TES - Mary LaVigne, and DRE - Meredith Keyes. Not pictured is nominee Brian Parnell of Heritage Middle School, who could not attend because he was coaching soccer at the time.
School Board President Travis Bard thanked and praised the work the teachers have given on the job.
"You are irreplaceable and a tremendous value to our schools," he said to the nominees. "Your spirit is contagious and it trickles down to our kids."
Principals or fellow teachers nominated the teachers, who will go on to a foundation selection for Teacher of the Year.
Lead Kindergarten Teacher Brandy Cox nominated Mary LaVigne at the Territorial Kindergarten Center, in the Pre K-3rd grade category. Cox's compliments about LaVigne included, "Mary demonstrates exemplary qualities in the classroom daily. She is quick to recognize a student is struggling and modifies her teaching to accommodate them." And "She never settles for the bare minimum, she always goes the extra step."
Principal Susan Clark nominated Debby Schoenfeld, first-grade teacher at Del Rio Elementary School (DRE), in the First Year Teacher category. Clark describes the atmosphere in Schoenfeld's class as "...vibrant positive learning energy that exudes from all the young students as well as their teacher." She also stated, "The students are engaged and full of confidence, attributes needed to learn new skills."
Linda Church's fellow teacher at DRE, Randi Diskin, nominated her in the grades 4-8 category because of "... her incredible skill and love for teaching that has impacted me over the past six years." She also wrote about Church's classroom atmosphere where "you will find engaged minds putting forth effort to become learners in whatever subject they are studying. It's not because she demands students to pa attention and memorize what she is modeling; it is her authentic love for learning that fuels the enthusiasm and engaging methods that completely captivate her students - all of them, even the squirrely ones!"
Kathy Johnson, a reading specialist at DRE, was nominated in Cross-Grade Specialist category by Debra Gearhart-Golden, a Title One reading specialist, and wrote the following of Johnson's abilities: "She is positive and energetic. She accepts each of her students for whom they are and has high expectations for all of them. She works hard to individualize her grade level lessons. She knows her students' academic strengths and weaknesses, encourages them, and celebrates their accomplishments."
DRE Principal Susan Clark also nominated 3rd-grade teacher Meredith Keyes in the Pre K-3rd grade category. Clark stated that Keyes "uses an entire tool box of innovative strategies to engage all her students. Many involve her students working together in pairs or groups or some form of movement. There is not a moment wasted, but her students don't feel they are working hard; they see it as working fun."
At Heritage Middle School (HMS), Principal nominated three teachers - Hillary Palmer in the First Year Teacher category; Shannon Feipel of the HMS Special Education Centers classroom, nominated in the Cross Grade Specialist category; and Brian Parnell in 4th- to 8th-grade category.
Read wrote that Hillary Palmer "works collaboratively with the 6th-grade team to discuss student progress, create engaging lessons and build positive relationships with staff, students and families." Also, "She strives to present her lesson content from an unbiased, discovery point of view, which is the hallmark of an exceptional social studies teacher."
About Shannon Feipel, Read wrote that "her humor and friendly demeanor make families and staff feel welcome and inspired. By highlighting the strengths of each child, even in cases that may seem hopeless, she is able to calm any stressful situation."
Read describes Brian Parnell as "an exemplary mathematics teacher" because "his superior classroom performance is demonstrated through the extraordinary academic growth of his students over the course of the year." Parnell, Read wrote, has a "passion working with youth, and he uses purposeful humor and quirky behavior to capture his students' interest."
Chino Valley High School (CVHS) Principal Wes Brownfield nominated two of his teachers - science teacher John Vreyens, nominated in the high school category; and Sara Rosengren, an English teacher, nominated in the First Year Teacher category.
John Vreyens, Brownfield states, "leads by example. He responds to any initiative the school or district implements with thoughtful enthusiasm without prompting." Vreyens is "one of those teachers I wish I had when I was in high school," Brownfield wrote. Vreyens has "a unique ability to tell the story of Biology and how individual organisms work to create a whole." Also, "watching him teach is often like watching performance art."
Brownfield described Sara Rosengren this way: "Sara is unerringly enthusiastic both with students, meeting them at her door with a smile and a handshake at the beginning of each class period and with colleagues. I don't think I've ever seen her without a genuine smile." He also wrote: "There have been few times in my career I have had the good fortune to work with a new teacher of Sara's caliber."