1st Quarter Shining Stars

1st Quarter Shining Stars
Posted on 10/27/2022
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.



Ricky TimmonsRicky Timmons, Nutrition Services

Pickett Elementary School


Ricky Timmons passed away unexpectedly on October 7, 2022. This award was given posthumously to his family in his memory. 

Mr. Ricky, as we called him, was a the most genuine example of a Shining Star in our school. He will be forever in our memories and hearts. He started working part-time in the cafeteria at Pickett several years ago. He was special from that very first day. So much so, when he said he was going to truly retire completely, we kept telling him we wouldn't let him because he meant so much to everyone. I don't think he had any idea how much he would love his job, the staff and especially the students.  

Ricky was constantly smiling, telling jokes, and laughing while he did his job making it a very happy environment. He also gave every student individual attention, whether it was for a few seconds or minutes. When he was talking to them it was obvious, he genuinely cared about whatever they were saying or showing him. He looked out for every student and would let us know if a student seemed to be having a rough day, so we could help if possible.  

It was very common for him to go above and beyond for everyone at Pickett, frequently bringing treats and presents. As a staff we joked around that when we have our Secret Santa exchanges, we hoped Ricky would get our name. His gifts were always much more extravagant than anyone else's. As I listened to students talk about memories of him, they brought up his love of golf and connections with students through their love of golf, special deliveries of extra peanut butter during lunch, his jokes, and how he made each one feel like they were his favorite student.  

He never wanted to be recognized, so it is fitting that we do it now. Ricky is a Shining Star to all of us and we know he's exactly who our district would want to recognize. His daughter and son-in-law work for the district, so this is a small gesture to give them while they grieve the loss of such an outstanding man.

Ricky exuded kindness, positivity, and happiness. He had the best humor, the most amazing outlook, and always wore a smile. I personally think his family needs to know how much he meant to his Pickett family, past and present. He left an impact on students and staff who were lucky enough to spend time with him. He was a light for SJSD. He was everything that is good about our district. His loss will leave a huge void in the Pickett building. He was everything that a shining star should be.

 Taylor Duree


Taylor Duree, Custodian
Pickett Elementary School


Taylor is the first one to go above and beyond in the school. When he's not fixing something someone's broken or cleaning up the latest water spill in the hallway or classroom, he's being a positive role model to the kids. You can often see him helping within the cafeteria and supporting our lunchroom supervisor. He walks the hallways between his duties and kids get so excited to see him. Kids are yelling out his name as he walks through the hallways. 

Taylor has helped with everything from bus duty to office duty, and even worked extra hard to ensure the building is clean. If our other custodian is gone Taylor will ensure that he picks up any slack and never complains about doing it. He'll jump right in without hesitation to any task assigned to him or that he feels needs to be done. He is the type of guy you want working at your building. He cares about his job and ensures all the details are taking care of. 

He is a true gem to the Pickett family and every school deserves their own Mr. Taylor. He goes above and beyond daily without expecting anything in return. He deserves this recognition because he never once expects it. He’s just thankful to be in a place where he can do so much to help others.

 Roxann Schmerbach
Roxann Schmerbach, Admin Assistant
Hillyard Technical Center

Roxann is a familiar face and smile at Hillyard Technical Center. She is always willing to help teachers, staff, and students in any way she can. Garnering a wealth of information about the school district and Hillyard's ways and means, Roxann is our "go to person." 

In a building with 18 feeder schools and 15 different programs, Roxann keeps staff informed of the students who will be present and those who are out whether it's school business, professional development at a feeder school, or homecoming events. It doesn't matter what task is at hand on her desk or computer, if you need something, she puts you first. 

She definitely goes above and beyond in her job and the joy of helping others and of performing her regular duties, shows in her care and concern she displays for the people of HTC. Thank you, Roxann, for all you do!! We are better because of you.  

 Roger Mapel
Roger Mapel, CAD Instructor
Hillyard Technical Center
Mr. Mapel invests his whole heart and energy into his students and his program at Hillyard. He goes above and beyond to assist his students in understanding the concepts of CAD. Mr. Mapel spends countless hours after school tutoring students, especially those with learning disabilities, so they can feel success in his class. 

He never wants to bring attention to his extra work, but it definitely doesn't go unnoticed and is appreciated.  He makes connections with students' interests to help their career and college goals in drafting, engineering, etc.  Mr. Mapel excels at communicating with parents and other stakeholders to make sure his students not only understand the curriculum but have a sense of comfort and belonging.
 Jacole Mahoney
Jacole Mahoney, 2nd Grade Teacher
Oak Grove Elementary School
We are SO thankful to have Mrs. Mahoney as our son's 2nd grade teacher!  Mrs. Mahoney is THE BEST at creating a safe and welcoming environment in her classroom.  

Our son needs to feel safe to learn and school can be a very scary place.  Mrs. Mahoney gets it! She has gone above and beyond her duties as a teacher to learn about our son and provide him with a safe working environment!  A "safe boss" is essential to our son's learning and Mrs. Mahoney is the ideal "safe boss!" She offers the perfect balance of nurture and correction.

Our son feels safe and calm in his classroom!  Feeling safe allows him to reach his full potential both academically and behaviorally, even socially. It is a game changer for boy!  We love that Mrs. Mahoney cares for our son while still enforcing boundaries and expectations. He is flourishing in 2nd grade! 

Mrs. Mahoney is a true gift from God, and we couldn't be more thankful for her!
 Kaleb Huffman
Kaleb Huffman, Paraprofessional
Spring Garden Middle School
Mr. Huffman is one of the best hires I think St. Joseph School District could have made this school year. He has completely immersed himself in Spring Garden Middle School. If he was to miss a day of school, his absence would be noticed. As a para, Mr. Huffman moves to several different classrooms. He works one on one with two particular students. He leads small group instruction and helps teachers co-teach. You never see Mr. Huffman just sitting around. He makes a point to find a way to interact with kids and the entire classroom.

He also has taken on the role of being the announcer for our NEW football team. This opportunity takes up an entire evening of his personal time. He creates a high light reel that is included in our school news. I'm sure that his efforts will help to build the MS football program- more kids will want to play because Mr. Huffman has promoted the team in a positive manner. 

Mr. Huffman is excited about his position at Spring Garden. I would advise him to look into become a teacher but then we would lose his support in the classroom. I know I wouldn't be able to teach my class effectively without his support.
 Stacia Studer
Stacia Studer, Director of Curriculum
Administration Building
The school district has posted "Comeback Moment" as a branding slogan all over our community. I have read this slogan on buildings, on pens, paper & memos that are sent home. I believe that that "Comeback Moment" occurred at the beginning of the school year with help from Mrs. Studer. Mrs. Studer's new role has reenergized our school district. She has implemented several ideas that have helped our school district COMEBACK from a negative culture. 

This year's district Convocation was AMAZING and sparked energy that was contagious. This energy allowed our district to begin the school year with the most positive energy it has seen in five years. This is our COMEBACK year, and that moment came under the direction of Mrs. Studer. 

Mrs. Studer collaborated with her team of advisors, community members, building principals and other district leaders. She built relationships with her team and knew how to utilize their talents. This delegation helped to promote leadership through the curriculum advisors. Allowing them to model a positive culture. 
Stacia Studer is a rock star! Creating and launching three major events (New Teacher Institute, Convocation, Engage Summit) within the first two months of school is a 'WOW'! I'm beyond amazed at the level of strategic planning, passion, energy, and above all else, calmness as Stacia tirelessly worked to make sure each event was a success. 

Talk about 'making a difference' - all three events made a difference for lots and lots of people! Her knowledge along with her ability and vision to move a team forward is top notch! SJSD is beyond blessed to have Mrs. Stacia Studer! 
 Michelle Carpentieri
Michelle Carpentieri, Process Consultant
Administration Building
The night before students arrived to start the school year, Michelle texted me, “I can’t wait for tomorrow. I’ll be there early because I want to make sure the programming staff have cookies waiting for them when they arrive.” The following morning, she was standing at the Oak Grove doors welcoming each staff member. As students got off the bus, Michelle welcomed each of them by name with a smile and her hand held out to guide them to their classroom. 

This is what it’s like to work with Michelle each day at SJSD. She individualizes each moment with students and staff to enhance relationships and build rapport. She follows student’s motivations and joins in the learning experience. Her first response to staff when called in to help is always, “let me show you.”  There is no, “hard kid,” to her. Instead, there are students who have unique behavioral needs that need to be met. She gives her time to shape student success both in the school setting and in their community through programs such as Special Olympics and the Polar Plunge. She is the embodiment of our SJSD mission to, “make a difference.“ 

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