First Quarter Shining Stars

First Quarter Shining Stars
Posted on 11/11/2020
Shining Star Graphic

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

Shining Star Lara Gilpin

Dr. Lara Gilpin – Principal at Spring Garden Middle School
Dr. Gilpin is an inspiration leader who models high expectations, active inquiry, and a desire to learn alongside her teachers. She encourages teachers to be risk takers. It is also clear that building quality relationships with teachers and students alike is a priority and this has made a difference in the building. Dr. Gilpin is truly a shining example of an educator who refuses to quit or let life’s challenges get in the way of true progress. She is mission driven and nothing can slow her down in achieving the mission of Spring Garden Middle School.

Shining Star Matt Reid
Matt Reid – Behavior Specialist for SJSD Early Childhood Education
Matt has been a constant with giving students and teachers support whenever and wherever it is needed. Recently he has spent a lot of his own time and money on creating a music and art wall at our playground. We needed more activities and sensory opportunities for our kids, he recognized that need and came up with this creative, fun idea. Matt is very humble and doesn’t like to make a big deal of his accomplishments, but he deserves to recognized. 

Shining Star Mareva Beesley
Maryeva Beesley – JROTC Instructor at Lafayette High School
Maryeva gives many long hours beyond what is expected to ensure that her students receive the best possible instruction. She cares deeply for the students in her charge, whether it is packing lunches for a traveling team for competition or simply sewing a button on a uniform. She has become a “mom” to many children whose own lives are disrupted and in turmoil. She can be relied upon to be a voice of calm in these children's lives. Although she could have chosen to simply remain retired, she has chosen to use her precious time to continue to help children.

Shining Star Daniel Siehndel
Daniel Siehndel – Physical Education at Mark Twain Elementary School
Coach is the epitome of a team player. He never hesitates to step up to the plate when needed. During school hours, you will never find him in his office. Every free chance he gets, whether it be between classes, his lunch period, plan time, etc., he is out throughout the building, helping staff and students. Coach is one of the most selfless human beings I have ever met. In the springtime, he knew that children needed to get out of their homes and have something fun to look forward to. Using his personal expenses, Coach created community movie nights this summer and got so many people involved. When school finally opened back up, Coach was there on the first day outside greeting kids at they came off the bus or were dropped off by their parents. He has been outside greeting kids each morning since. We are truly blessed and fortunate to have this man in our school district. 

Shining Star Brett Hall
Brett Hall – JROTC Instructor at Central High School
LTC Brett Hall is the consummate professional, who devotes long hours to ensure the success of his students. LTC Hall typically arrives before 6 AM each school day, and stays well past closing to coach, mentor and challenge the cadets in his care. He can typically be found coaching and training his cadets on Saturday and Sunday as well. LTC Hall leads his students through hundreds of hours of community service in support of Second Harvest, showing them how much fun can be had in giving back to the community. He demonstrates, through his actions, how an adult citizen should act. He constantly models appropriate behavior for those students in his charge, and inculcates the highest ethical and moral standards for his cadets to emulate. Above all, he cares deeply about each student, giving each the attention necessary to help them achieve success.

Shining Star Douglas Snider
Douglas Snider – Social Studies Teacher at Robidoux Middle School

Douglas Snider is very deserving of the SJSD Shining Star Award. With the implementation of Canvas, many staff members have felt lost or overwhelmed. Douglas has provided one-on-one and group instruction for the staff at Robidoux Middle School. Douglas is very patient and reviews uploading assignments, converting PDFs, embedding videos etc. again and again until staff members feel confident performing the tasks. He has also created videos explaining and demonstrating a variety of task on Canvas for our staff. He is never too busy to answer a question or trouble shoot a problem. Douglas strives to accommodate everyone so they will be successful for our students. He is such a dynamic teacher balancing humor, high expectations, and analytical thinking. He creates a fun atmosphere where students are allowed to explore and experience the curriculum in a meaningful way. 

Shining Star Darby Lynch
Darby Lynch  – Print Shop Manager for SJSD Maintenance and Operations
Mr. Lynch consistently demonstrates kindness, generosity, and positive work ethic. Mr. Lynch has an affable nature that is warm and inviting. This is reflected in his customer service towards schools and administrative offices. He is never without a smile as he and begins and ends his day. His attitude towards wide and varied demands and personalities experienced any given day has been observed as always helpful and forever cheerful. Mr. Lynch is a genuine problem-solver. He is an employee who shines as a hidden gem behind the scenes and a tireless worker that is an anchor that the ship that is the St. Joseph School District can rest upon. 

Shining Star Brittnie Morgan
Brittnie Morgan – Social Worker at Hosea Elementary School
In the summer of 2020, St. Joseph experienced flooding in the Hosea, Spring Garden and Benton attendance areas. In the middle of a pandemic and her summer vacation, Brittnie sprung to action to help the South Side community. Although she was not on contract during the summer months, Brittnie reached out and contacted families in the community to see their needs. Brittnie then organized through multiple groups a collection of items to support the community. Her and her husband then collected items in her own garage and held them until families were able to get back into their houses. She then personally delivered items to the families that they needed to help them get back onto their feet. Brittnie continually goes above and beyond her work duties to ensure that families in the St. Joseph Community are supported. We are beyond blessed to have her as part of the SJSD team.


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