Dana Stavaggi, Akron Public Schools, North High School, science teacher
Dana is dedicated to the teaching profession who wants to make sure that all students meet their full potential. She collaborates with her colleagues to support all teaching staff. She makes North better for students and teachers through her love of teaching, leadership, community involvement, grant writing, positive attitude and advocacy for diversity.
Allison Host, Nordonia Hills City Schools, Ledgeview Elementary School, kindergarten teacher
Mrs. Allison Host is an amazing teacher, leader and coworker. I have seen her grow exponentially in the past five years. In this time, she has advanced from the junior member of the kindergarten team to becoming the team leader. In the classroom, she is a compassionate teacher who gives her all to her students and their families. Allison is an innovative educator who is not afraid to take on challenges to help her students. She inspires this same passion for innovation with her kindergarten team. Under her leadership, they have become a cohesive team, working together to implement innovative practices that improve learning outcomes for their students. Allison wears her loving heart on her sleeve and it shows as she strives everyday to make Ledgeview a wonderful place for everyone.
Kristie Drake, Stow-Munroe Falls City School Ditrict, Lakeview Intermediate School, sixth grade teacher
Kristie Drake is a sixth grade teacher who, like several of our teachers this year, took on a new adventure when asked to become a teacher of fully remote students. All of our teachers who were asked to take on this challenge have made us proud. This year, Mrs. Drake is also a self contained teacher, instructing students in four content areas. Her instruction is engaging and creative as she meets with students remotely. Mrs. Drake has always been a teacher who values and enjoys a “family atmosphere” in her physical classroom. She has found ways to build this atmosphere virtually this year. She has worked to build and maintain connections with her students by visiting their homes at the start of school to deliver books and supplies and by mailing notes and cards home during the school year. Mrs. Drake jumped at the opportunity to assist with in-person assessments that took place in our building for remote students so she could see her students face to face. As several of her students made a transition back to in-person learning for the second semester, Mrs. Drake made sure to be a familiar face and resource as they met and got acclimated to their new teachers and our building. Teacher and parent communication has been very important to the success of all students this year, but especially those who are learning remotely. Mrs. Drake has made this communication a priority. Lakeview is fortunate to have to Mrs. Drake, and many like her, to work with students in unique and creative ways this year.
Leah Renner, Stow-Munroe Falls City School District, Fishcreek Elementary School, art teacher
Mrs. Renner celebrates the creativity of our students and makes art accessible to all students. Her passion shows in everything she does. During this school year, she has expanded her instructional strategies to create videos that take students step-by-step through art concepts and projects. She makes an individual connection with each of her students and colleagues in two buildings and her enthusiasm is contagious!
Julie Cain, Twinsburg City School District, Wilcox Primary School, first grade teacher
In recent years, there has been a greater emphasis on Makerspaces and STREAM in the primary grades. However, Mrs. Cain has always emphasized the integration of literacy, science math, and problem-solving in her classroom as a first grade teacher at Wilcox Primary School. As a veteran teacher, Mrs. Cain establishes high expectations for her students from the first day of school and she consistently reinforces their ability to strive for greatness. By getting students excited about learning and offering opportunities to explore and discover, Mrs. Cain is able to capture students’ attention and maintain their focus as they learn about the world around them. On any given day, you can step into Mrs. Cain’s classroom where you will find her reading a mentor text, offering students opportunities to write, and making connections to science concepts that relate to the literature. For example, Mrs. Cain’s students do an in-depth unit of study on fairytales and folklore. They compare, contrast, write their own tales and create fractured fairy tales and then share these with each other. Students participate in a science extension where they complete challenges such as creating a basket for Little Red Riding Hood to carry her apples, building a house that the Big Bad Wolf (a hairdryer) can’t blow down and constructing a device to rescue Rapunzel from the tower. One strand in the first grade science standards includes the physical science of motion and materials. After learning about the forces of pushing and pulling, Mrs. Cain’s students worked to design and build their own Rube Goldberg machines — machines that are intentionally designed to complete a simple task in an indirect and complicated way. This January, during the two weeks that students were at home learning remotely, they created machines to feed their pets, pour cereal, and turn on lights using materials they had at home. Students video taped their successful inventions which they shared to their Google Classroom so their friends could see! Mrs. Cain is an innovative teacher who serves as a model for infusing science education into the primary grades and inspiring students to think critically and creatively about the world around them.
Joshua Harris, Twinsburg City School District, Twinsburg High School, business education teacher
Teacher Joshua Harris reaches every single ninth grader through his innovative and interactive course – Success. Whether virtual or on campus, Mr. Harris creates ways to ensure that his students feel a sense of belonging not only to his class, but also to the greater school community and the world outside of school. Mr. Harris created a lesson where students had an opportunity to work on a passion project, creating a Genius Hour where students identified a subject matter that they were passionate about and explored it through researching the topic (exploring documentaries, finding experts on social media, reading books, reading articles). Students took their research and created their own unique products to demonstrate their findings, creativity was key in the project and the students, in success, took creativity to new heights. Notable Works included a student-created website on cars, a magazine about fashion, a website dedicated to Women’s Rights and a blog on Interior Design and Workout Plan. Students created stop motion video on songwriting. Another wrote and original song, and still others created murals to display of their love of individual interests. Mr. Harris went the extra mile to ensure his students were engaged, delivering gift cards and pizzas to students at the end of first semester. In some cases, this was the only time he was able to “see” his students in person, albeit masked and socially distant. Students and parents alike have showered him with praise and acknowledgement for his “above and beyond” measures. He is truly an Amazing Teacher.
Barbara Wert, Norton City Schools, Norton Primary School, kindergarten art teacher
Mrs. Wert is one of the kindest and most understanding teachers amongst our Little Panther Nation. Mrs. Wert has been teaching remote art lessons and achievement lessons since the beginning of the year. She was super excited to welcome back our students to a full day and has not missed any opportunity to create awesome experiences for our Little Panthers.
Cindy Johnston, Springfield Local, Schrop Intermediate School, fifth grade teacher
Cindy Johnston is an outstanding teacher at Schrop Intermediate School. Cindy has been teacher for 24 years in Springfield Local Schools. Currently, she is teaching language arts, math, social studies and science in a fifth grade self-contained classroom. Each year when grade levels and subject levels are determined from the following year, her response is always, “Whatever you need me to do,” and she is always up for the challenge of whatever is assigned. Cindy has a huge heart and cares deeply for each of her students. She has the amazing ability to find a way to connect with all her students and their families. Cindy builds a supportive, encouraging and caring environment in her classroom as she stretches the minds of her gifted students and also provides support and intervention for her students who may struggle academically or emotionally. Cindy is such an asset to this building, and we are so lucky to have her at Schrop!
Amy Owens-Hartman, Springfield Local Schools, Springfield Junior/Senior High School, 7-12 computer and technology teacher
Amy Owens-Hartman has been a computer and technology teacher at Springfield Junior/Senior High for the past 24 years. This year she’s teaching digital photography, media, yearbook and multimedia to both online and in-person students grades 7-12. Amy brings out the best in her students. Her multimedia students have been recognized by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission for their Martin Luther King Art, Writing and Multimedia contest and have won in various video categories in the Young Entrepreneur Institute’s Pitch Challenge Contest. Her web design and multimedia students have worked with the Ohio Department of Health and the Summit County Public Health department to create anti-tobacco and anti-vaping campaign projects helping to initiate a smoke-free campus at Springfield. Her photography students have competed in various photography contest such as the Quail Hallow Photo Contest. In addition to teaching in the classroom, Amy is involved with our students in numerous ways. She organizes a quarterly blood drive for our students and is the advisor for student council. Her positive outlook and attitude can’t be denied and our school wouldn’t be the same without her! It is for these reasons and so many more that Amy Owens-Hartman truly represents the spirit of a Springfield Spartan!
Jennifer Stedman, Cuyahoga Falls City School District, Cuyahoga Falls High School, 10th grade chemistry teacher
I highly recommend Jennifer Stedman as a candidate for the “Make the Grade” Amazing Teacher award. As a chemistry teacher at Cuyahoga Falls High School (CFHS) for 23 years, I have had the pleasure to work with Jen and watch her hone her craft throughout the duration of her career. She is a driven, organized teacher who develops inspiring relationships with her students. Jen has always been driven to develop her skills as a teacher. She always willing to try new activities to help students understand chemistry conceptually and make connections to previous learning. She continues to demonstrate this drive through her tenure at CFHS by assisting and organizing collaboration amongst teachers and colleagues of different disciplines. She embraces any opportunity for professional development and always has a positive to share during collaborations. Jen has a wonderful rapport with people of all ages. Her ability to connect with students and her talent at teaching simple concepts, as well as more advanced topics, are both truly astonishing. She incorporates student collaboration, the use of standards for chemistry practices, and students critiquing and elaborating on one another’s chemistry justifications with her classes daily. One of her students stated: “Mrs. Stedman looks out for her students always and constantly makes sure they are caught up and on the on the right track. She is very helpful and just a wonderful person overall.” Jen accomplishes all these tasks with great initiative and a positive attitude. I truly believe Jen is an “”Amazing Teacher”” and has “Made the Grade.”
Elizabeth Marriner, Woodridge Local School District, Woodridge Elementary School, first grade teacher
Elizabeth is a first grade teacher at Woodridge Elementary School. She is a wonderful team player and always willing to help colleagues. She has been part of the building leadership team and a collegial coach for the school, sharing knowledge with other teachers. In her own classroom, she manages a vast variety of learning needs and supports students at their level. In addition to many academic interventions, she also provides individual behavior supports for students. Her classroom environment is warm and welcoming with many opportunities for students to have movement breaks, such as yoga, to help bring focus back to a high standard of academic excellence.
Kristy Neville, Woodridge Local School District, Woodridge Middle School, eighth grade math teacher
Kristy has been teaching math at Woodridge Middle School for over 15 years. In all of that time, she’s dedicated herself to making sure students work to love math. Whether it’s a classroom of students or a single child, she focuses on helping kids. Just this year, with the hybrid-altered schedule, she found a way to create a math study hall for those students who she felt needed extra work – their time became her time. Kristy’s students range from the troubled learner to those who are earning their first HS credit in an Honors Algebra I course. She’s passionate for all of them.