2nd Quarter Shining Stars

2nd Quarter Shining Stars
Posted on 02/08/2023
Shining Star Graphic

Congratulations to our 2nd Quarter Shining Stars! Read what their nominators had to say below.

Each quarter, the Communications department awards eight staff members in the district who have gone above and beyond. This award recognizes staff members who sacrifice time and energy for the good of students, staff or others in a specific area or event, shows willingness to assist beyond normal expectations, inspires trust and accountability by doing and saying what is right, and provides outstanding services to their school, department, or school community. 

Shanda Furr, ISS Paraprofessional, Spring Garden
Shanda is the heart and soul of Spring Garden MIddle School. She goes above and beyond as our ISS teacher - connecting with these students daily, oftentimes getting them motivated to complete assignments that would otherwise be ignored. She has honed a student-centered process when students are assigned ISS, making it her priority to personally meet with every teacher to discuss work that needs to be completed and working diligently with students one-on-one. Her life's mission seems to be meeting the needs of our students whether it be through snacks, lending a caring ear, giving advice, discipline, and above all else, unconditional love. Shanda will not hesitate when it comes to helping our school in other areas as well - filling in as secretary, campus supervisor, subbing, lunchroom monitoring, running and ordering supplies for our school store, the Red Zone, mentoring our toughest behavior students, and supporting our teachers. Shanda has provided immense professional guidance and support to me as the behavior interventionist at SGMS, a fairly new job position, over the last three years, too. Shanda Furr embodies the meaning of Shining Star at SGMS! 

Emily Swanson, School Nurse, Bode
Emily is in her second year at Bode and has already made a great impact at Bode Middle School. One of the ways she goes above and beyond is by delivering lessons such as yoga and personal hygiene. She is always willing to hear an idea from a teacher and find a way to help them out in their classrooms. She is also a major participant in spirit weeks. She goes above and beyond in dressing up in crazy outfits and even had a Spirit Week Showdown against another teacher in the building! She also reduces the burden for our office staff when it gets busy by helping answer phones and parent questions. 

Emily clearly cares about the physical and mental well-being of all students. She takes time to answer their questions and see to them even when they are frequent visitors. Emily also assists with the food pantry and clothing closet at Bode. She helps ensure that our students are cared for both in and out of school. 

When asked why they think Nurse Emily would deserve this award, students said that she does more than her job requires- she talks students through their problems when the counselor is busy, she guides them through reporting issues to administrators, and she takes care of them as if they are her own.

Carla Johnson, Virtual Academy Teacher
Carla Johnson worked with us for many years at Spring Garden and we were so sad to see her go, but we cannot be more thankful for her now in her position at the VA. This year, we (Shelly and Barbara) are both inload VA teachers located at Spring Garden and we have struggled with various components of our classes and technology. Since we knew Carla, we reached out to her almost daily for the first few weeks of school. She helped troubleshoot, made screencasts, took calls and texts and found answers to all of our questions. She was able to put things in perspective when we felt overwhelmed by the unknown, and her knowledge and kindness allowed us to grow in confidence with our virtual families. Her title of teacher does not cover the scope of what she actually does– she steps beyond that role with a willingness to help and a dedication to all those who work with her. She is a mentor, technology expert, a compassionate listener, a troubleshooter, a free giver of her time and knowledge for the betterment of the whole, not just herself. She’s never once told us she couldn’t do something or she doesn’t have time. Her encouragement and bubbly personality give us confidence and a positive outlook. Carla is the most deserving person we can think of for this award. She helps us so we can help our students. She truly makes a difference.

Michelle Shirley, Special Education Teacher, Lafayette
I had an opportunity to join other SJSD staff to present the an award for a student at LHS. This individual receives services within our special education programming for Targets. Targets is a self-contained setting that has fairly intensive services for our students. When many adults entered the room, another student within the classroom became over stimulated and had to be deescalated. I was extremely impressed to see Mickey and her team go into action immediately to make the setting safe for not only the stimulated student, but for everyone. 

I know this was only one situation that I had the opportunity to observe first hand. Mickey and her team do this type of work day in and day out. Without a doubt, our students who receive services within this program are blessed to have Mrs. Shirley as their teacher. It takes a special person to serve in this capacity and SJSD is lucky to have Mikey on the team! 

Taylor Clinton, Academic Interventionist, Hosea
Taylor is one of our interventionists here at Hosea, but what she does for our kids expands way beyond the boundaries of Math and Reading. Taylor has spent an immense amount of time working on ways to get kids to school. There are weekly, monthly, quarterly, and year long incentives for students, and all of them have been kickstarted by Taylor. She has built relationships with business and members of the community to provide multiple opportunities for our students. We have had the joy of Friendly Face Friday which has included students from Benton and Missouri Western, SJSD Central Office, The Grinch, Mosaic, and KC Wolfe. This along with prizes available have helped increase attendance on many students. 
In addition to the attendance work that Taylor has done, she provides students with a warm greeting each morning at the front door. She is always willing to do crazy things, like dress as an elf on an extremely cold day or plan crazier events like our administration kissing a llama. Not only does Taylor work hard to make the students feel welcome and want to be at school, she also helps contribute to the staff positive community and culture in our building. Many know that Taylor is there to support anyone if they need it from academic to personal. 

Taylor is an absolute gem to have at Hosea.

Emily Mikesch, 2nd Grade Teacher, Hosea
Emily Mikesch goes above and beyond each day for her 2nd students and families at Hosea. She teaches with a love and compassion that is everlasting to her current and former kiddos. Before and after school Emily tutors her 2nd graders. Additionally, she volunteers and coaches a Hosea 5th grade boys' basketball team, practicing in the evenings and going to the games at night. She is the Junior Varsity Volleyball Coach at Lafayette, and even runs her own small business boutique at the East Hill Mall. Emily is an inspiration to both her colleagues and students. I would love to see her recognized for what she does each day, as a teacher, and for the "extras" that her heart leads her to do for her kids.

Annie Mires, FACS Teacher, Benton
Miss Annie Mires is an amazing human. She works so hard helping our kids build connections with each other and within our community. She helps kids feel like the have a purpose and place even if they struggle with learning. Miss Mires' classes provide food regularly for school activities for staff, as well as fundraising for different events or activities. She regularly models real life skills that will help change our community. Miss Mires also spends a few hours weekly with our students sponsoring Young Life. She is always positive, makes her classes fun, and connects well with students. The kids enjoy being around her because she is relaxed and easy to talk to. She is always friendly and helpful with staff, even if her plate is already full. She is encouraging and kind and truly represents the motto Make a Difference. Every day she shows up to do just that and Benton is very lucky to have her. 

Rebecca Jones, Career Pathways to Teaching, Hillyard Technical Center
Mrs. Jones is a great role model for future teachers. Mrs. Jones encourages her students everyday and keeps her students positive, even when life gets rough. Mrs. Jones always has listening ears, when her students are down or need life advice, Mrs. Jones gives great advice. Mrs. Jones is always engaged and kept on track with lessons. Mrs. Jones makes her students excited to learn everyday. It is such a privelage and blessing to be in Mrs.Jones class. 

Mrs. Jones is one of the best teachers I have ever had in my whole life. I always know that I can come to her when I am in trouble or just need someone to talk to. She is more than a teacher to all of her kids, it is on a more personal level. She is like a second mother to me. I am so appreciative of that woman. She inspires me to be an amazing teacher and I want to be like her when I am older. I am so grateful that I got to know her and be learned by her. She deserves this reward more than anyone else. 

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