Second Quarter Shining Stars

Second Quarter Shining Stars
Posted on 01/20/2021
Shining Star Graphic

These teachers and staff shine bright as our second quarter Shining Stars! Read what their nominators had to say about our winners below.

Maria Burnham Photo
Maria Burnham - Coordinator of Nursing Services for SJSD
Maria has been a saving grace across the SJSD. As the head medical professional in the district, she has had to be available pretty much 24/7 since last March when COVID hit. She has taken part in community forums, a number of boards and numerous executive meetings to help make the best decision to protect the community. 

 

Meribeth Keith Photo
Meribeth Keith - Nutrition Services at Pershing Elementary
Maribeth goes above and beyond for the virtual students that are signed up to receive meals from Pershing. I pick up meals for my kids every Tuesday and Friday, and Meribeth is always there waiting for us. She is so kind.  She has called me on a Tuesday morning (multiple times) if our name isn't on her list just to make sure I didn't forget to sign up for food that week, and I have forgotten... more than once. When I picked up our last box for 2020 this morning, she had included a little piece of cake for each of my kids, and a "Happy Holidays" note.  She is so lovely.  I look forward to seeing her every Tuesday and Friday mornings!

 

Christy Horner Photo
Christina Horner - Maintenance at Eugene Field Elementary
Being an engineer isn't a glamorous job, but this lady does some pretty cool things above and beyond for our little ones that makes HER A SHINING STAR. [In December,] Christy made a huge mailbox and hung it on the wall. This wasn't just an ordinary mailbox, this was a mailbox that had a direct link to Santa. When a letter was put in (and there were tons of letters put in) she wrote them back, as an Elf helper of Santa, decorated the letter and envelope equipped with a candy cane, and mysteriously made sure the letter made it back to them. The faces of our precious students when they received their letter back from the North Pole was magical.

 

Victoria Turner Photo
Tonya Sharp - Science Teacher at Virtual Academy
Tonya not only teachers her students daily online BUT also takes on many other responsibilities. She host Fun Friday events for the ENTIRE school; things like virtual tours of Saint Joseph, share your talents, cooking shows and more.  She hosts after hour zooms for students who can't attend during the day.  Tonya hosts events for students to show their talents; most recently an anime drawing event where one of her students was the teacher and taught other students who joined how to draw with anime.  One of my favorites I have seen from Tonya was her chicken wing dissection night.  Students came to pick up their chicken wings and they dissected them on Zoom, showing off the different parents and what they knew about bones, muscles, etc.  Tonya sparks joy and creativity in learning every single day. 

 

Greg Ogdahl Photo
Greg Ogdahl - Campus Supervisor at Central High
As a campus supervisor, Greg's job is to keep the school building safe and assist with student behaviors. Greg does that and so much more.  He literally walks miles though Central High School each day as he keeps the hallways safe, quiet and orderly.  However, Greg doesn't stop there.  He builds relationships with students which lead to positive interactions.  I have heard him tell a student that he noticed he had been gone a few days as Greg was expressing concern for this student's well being.  The thing that makes Greg stand out so much is that he doesn't see himself as only a Campus Supervisor.  He seems himself as a Mr. Do Anything.  Greg can be found assisting the custodians if they need help.  He assists our cooks when they need assistance.  In short, Greg takes advantage of every opportunity to assist because he recognizes the importance of building relationships with students.

 

Stephanie Grable Photo
Stephanie Grable - Librarian at Pickett Elementary
Stephanie is constantly providing support to teachers through STEAM stations we can sign up for in the library (she does ALL the research, setup, and teaching) - even going as far as matching what is going on with science or social studies units.  Beyond that, Stephanie also researches and plans activities for culturally significant events (Black History Month, Women's History Month, Hispanic cultural days/holidays) that she can provide to teachers, or allow teachers to bring the class to the library to present herself. She is constantly seeing what's possible, what's important for kids to experience, what hook might excite a student and keep them engaged with school.  

 

Victoria Turner Photo
Victoria Turner - Math Teacher at Spring Garden
Tori started working before school even began and has worked tirelessly all year. She has worked countless hours since hybrid began to create interactive, engaging remote math work, including using the “flipped classroom” model with video notes she makes daily to allow students to learn at their own pace. This is in addition to Zooming in every period with remote students and answering questions as they come. She is sponsoring STUCO this year, with limited opportunities for normal social events and incentives (and a hybrid schedule to try and work around for meetings) in order to create service and fun opportunities for kids. I am proud to be Tori’s colleague and friend. She is a team player, a cheerleader, and a supporter. She deserves to be recognized for her hard work in our building and creating opportunities for students to succeed in math.

 

John Wachtel Photo
John Wachtel - Assistant Principal at Carden Park Elementary
In addition to his assigned duties as assistant principal, he has more than once helped to cover duties when staff members are not available. For example, he often is seen wiping down breakfast/lunch tables when maintenance is short staffed.  He regularly is covering duties such as patrols, bus duty, or car rider duty when those staff members have had to cover the classrooms. John also checks in with each staff member on a daily basis - a "good morning", a "how are you?", or a simple "need anything?" [this] has been a huge boost to the staff morale throughout the year.  John also is often seen checking in on students in this same way. Behavior referrals have been reduced because he is able to de-escalate issues before the become disruptions to the classroom. In a year when everyone has had to support each other, John has shown this characteristics many times.

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