Monday, June 25, 2012

Pottstown's 2012 Teachers of the Year

Pottstown's Teachers of the Year are, from left, Beth Yoder-Barth, Denise Schleicher-Edgewood, Leon Kanopka-Franklin, Dave Caldwell High School, Jill Bolonski-Lincoln, Allen Ferster -Rupert, Dee Pettine Middle School.

As occurs every year, the Pottstown School District gave out Teacher of the Year awards for each of its seven school buildings, as well as an overall district Teacher of the Year Award.

They were recognized at the June 11 Pottstown School Board meeting.

This year's district winner is Pottstown High School Social Studies teacher Dave Caldwell.

The Pottstown Middle School winner is Dee Pettine, seventh grade reading and language arts teacher.

At Lincoln Elementary School, the winner is second grade teacher Jill Bolonski.

At Barth Elementary School, the winner is art teacher Beth Yoder.

At Franklin Elementary School, the winner is autistic teacher Leon Kanopka.

At Edgewood Elementary School, the teacher of the year is fourth grade teacher Denise Schleicher.

At Rupert Elementary School, the teacher of the year is fourth grade teacher Allen Ferster.

Following are excepts from the nominating letters:

Jill Bolonski -- Lincoln Elementary School
 "Jill is a tremendously hard worker. She is knowledgeable about her students and their needs, and she does whatever has to be done in order for her students to achieve success.

"She communicates often and well with parents, and therefore has earned their respect, trust and admiration. Jill creates a positive and safe learning environment for her students. She demonstrates caring and respect for all of her students, and encourages student interactions that are polite and respectful. Students understand that bullying is not tolerated, which in turns makes them more comfortable when sharing ideas and beliefs. Jill has earned the hearts of her students, which could be considered the greatest testament to her devotion."

Dave Caldwell -- Pottstown High School

From left, Assistant Superintendent Jeff Sparagana,
Teacher of the Year Dave Caldwell, School Board President
Judyth Zahora and Superintendent Reed Lindley.
"Mr. Caldwell began his career in the Pottstown School District substituting at the high school.  But soon became recognized amongst the staff as an enthusiastic educator.  He was hired full time in 1994 as a social studies teacher at Pottstown High School at which time he helped start our first varsity level boys’ soccer team with another teacher.  He coached as the assistant for five years and then took over as head coach for another four years."  

 "Mr. Caldwell is popular among students even though he is known for his long writing assignments where all spelling and grammar counts!  He has a love of history that translates into passion in the classroom and students quickly become engrossed in whatever subject Mr. Caldwell is teaching.  Students have traveled across the ocean with Mr. Caldwell on 3 different visits to various European countries over the past 6 years.  The experience students come home with is one of the most valuable educational lessons of their life.  In 2006, students dedicated the Troiad Yearbook to Mr. Caldwell for his service to the student body. 

 Allen Ferster -- Rupert Elementary School
Allen Ferster outside Rupert Elementaty School
"The Rupert teacher of the year consistently goes beyond the call of duty as a fourth grade teacher. He is not only a child-centered educator in his own classroom, but his involvement throughout the school affects all other students at Rupert. He is viewed by his peers as a strong and positive educator, who makes a difference each day. He makes it a priority to work with each individual child to ensure they achieve their greatest potential.

"Mr. Ferster is devoted to his students. He provides a highly structured, caring and nurturing environment his students. He demonstrates innovative teaching strategies, and differentiates lessons to meet the many and varied needs of the children in his class. He utilizes data and technology to measure and track his children’s progress, and adjust his instruction. Children enjoy being in his classroom as he provides creative and highly organized activities, that regularly integrate innovative technology to engage their learning. Allen provides enthusiasm and excitement, and praises each child’s individual accomplishments as they grow under his careful supervision.

Leon Kanopka -- Franklin Elementary School
"Leon started his career just 5 years ago at Franklin Elementary School working with a student with Autism. Since that time, he has taught in kindergarten, first and second grades. We are all convinced that Leon’s calling is working with students with Autism.

"Several of Leon’s colleagues can be quoted as saying, “In a year when morale is low, Leon never lets anything deter his focus…WORKING FOR THE KIDS. Leon is always willing to lend a helping hand. He is dedicated to his students and tries to ensure they get the most from their education. Leon is always positive, and he is a team play by every definition of the word. He has a full case load with little help, and he has been handling it professionally. Leon is respected by students and staff.”

Dee Pettine -- Pottstown Middle School 
"She was selected because of the  leadership and assistance that she provides to her colleagues in their efforts to include reading skill acquisition into the core content classes. Mrs. Pettine organized a short series of professional development sessions, presented during our morning faculty meetings,  that provided specific instructions and materials to help teachers provide reading instruction to our middle school students.

"She engaged the assistance of our other two reading specialists in this program. Following the implementation of this two year project, our teachers have been able to include much more effective vocabulary development, reading with purpose and organizing non fiction reading content. She is a highly effective and dedicated classroom teacher."

Denise Schleicher -- Edgewood Elementary School
"The individual chosen began her Pottstown School District educational career as a Special Education Teacher in 2001. She then continued teaching as a fourth grade regular education teacher in 2006. During her years of service to PSD, she has demonstrated exemplary teaching skills as she differentiates fourth grade classroom instruction.

"The individual is also regarded highly amongst her peers and staff members, for she treats each and every individual with respect and has a ‘sparkling’ smile on a daily basis. She is willing to go above and beyond for other staff members, students, as well as willing to question, reflect, and share new ideas when it involves the educational profession."

Beth Yoder -- Barth Elementary School
"Beth gets along with everyone, whether an administrator, a colleague, a parent or a student. She is always available at any time of the day or night, whether to lend an ear, cover a duty, cover a class or intercept and calm down a distraught child.

"Beth commands respect without even knowing it. She is always poised and positive in her attitude and demeanor. She communicates with everyone on the same level no matter who they are, making sure they all feel 'heard.'

"I think Beth would be an excellent representation of what an exceptional teacher is. Her selfless energy and constant encouragement of its students and colleagues is rare, especially after so many years of teaching."

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