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2008 Gifted Teacher and Administrator of the Year Contest...
Meet the Winners!

Our congratulations, and a large package of books and products for gifted education, go to our 2nd annual winners of the Hoagies' Gifted Education Page Gifted Teacher and Administrator of the Year Contest...

Teacher of the Year: Katrina Jordan and Teacher of the Year: Lois Davis  
and  Administrator of the Year: Keith Westman

Ms. Katrina Jordan, Ms. Lois Davis, and Mr. Keith Westman are wonderful examples of the many terrific teachers and administrators working with our gifted children.  Through appropriate education, enrichment, acceleration, and just plain caring, these wonderful people lift our gifted kids up to higher levels, encourage them to follow their dreams, and give their all to learning, and to life.  We need more folks like Ms. Jordan, Ms. Davis, and Mr. Westman in education!

Thanks to my co-judges Joni Lawver, parent and past president of Nebraska Association for the Gifted, and Kathi Kearney, teacher and affiliate with the Gifted Development Center, for their help in this difficult selection.  There were many great teachers and administrators to pick from this year, and we were all happy to have such a difficult decision!  Ms. Katrina Jordan, Ms. Lois Davis, and Mr. Keith Westman have been shipped a wonderful package of books and tools, from the following contest sponsors.  Thanks for their support to our 2008 contest sponsors.  Please sure to to do your shopping with these great vendors...

bulletBright Ideas curriculum resources
bulletThe 24 Game games
bulletChallenge Math books
bulletSET Enterprises games
bulletQ-Ba-Maze games
bulletWholeMovement books
bulletHands On Equations kits and books
bulletPieces of Learning curriculum books
bulletRoyal Fireworks Press books
bulletZanca $25 gift certificates
bullet Out of the Box Publishing games
bulletFree Spirit Publishing books
bulletGreat Potential Press books
bulletEngine-uity curriculum resources
bullet Conceptual Math Media Equate games
bullet Hoagies' Gifted Education Page books

Each teacher and administrator nominated also received a "Recognition of Outstanding Service" certificate, thanking them for their contribution to gifted education.

If your organization would like to sponsor our next Gifted Teacher and Administrator of the Year Contest, by supplying books or products for the winning teacher and administrator, please contact  Carolyn K. or use the Feedback Form.  Thank you.

Katrina Jordan, Gifted Teacher, Winn Parish School District
Mrs. Katrina Jordan is a very dedicated individual who truly has a heart for gifted education. She is an itinerant teacher who travels over 450 miles every month in order to meet the needs of her gifted students. As her coworker for several special years, I saw first hand how much she loved her students and how she strove to make learning exciting and new for them year after year. She works with children from kindergarten age all the way through high school, and she seamlessly transitions from age group to age group daily. She loves technology and she uses it daily as a way to differentiate lessons for her students. Katrina understands that her students are a part of a global community. However, their experiences in a small, rural parish in Louisiana might not be enough to help them grow into this role. Therefore, she not only plans lessons to help them think outside the box but she also plans extensive field trips for her students every year. As a talented teacher in the same parish with her, I was able to attend several of these over night trips with her and her students. Katrina plans each minute of the trips in order to squeeze every possible moment of learning and fun into them. Katrina Jordan is not only a dedicated teacher, but she is also a dedicated professional and a life long learner. She has presented at various state, national, and international conferences in places such as Savannah, GA, Chicago, IL, and San Antonio, TX. Additionally, her study of professional learning communities was published in the notable journal Essays in Education. Mrs. Jordan was named the 2006 LACUE Middle Teacher of the Year for our region. She is currently ABD (All But Dissertation) in her pursuit of a doctoral degree from Louisiana Tech University. Her dissertation topic is gifted underachievement. Along with being a dedicated teacher and learner she is also a dedicated member of her community. She has been a children’s choir director at her church for five years, and she is currently the parent group president at her daughter’s elementary school. Likewise, she has associated herself with many worthy charities such as Relay for Life and Toys for Tots. Mrs. Jordan has several yearly community service projects that she does with her students such as ministering to nursing home residents and working with food banks. In summary, I would like to nominate Katrina Jordan for the Hoagie’s Teacher of the Year award because she is a dedicated teacher, learner and member of her community. -- Taryn Toms

Lois Davis, 3rd Grade Teacher, Liberty School
As all parents of gifted children know, raising these children requires an enormous commitment and amount of energy to insure that they receive an appropriate education. I have been fortunate to have my children attend a great school filled with teachers who are more than willing to make accommodations and differentiate the curriculum to accommodate my daughter.

The reason I am nominating Mrs. Lois Davis is that for the first time in my daughter's years attending school I didn't have to say or do or ask for anything. Mrs. Davis went above and beyond to meet everyone's educational needs and my daughter thrived. From oral book talks that allowed them to choose their own book, to a math enrichment group to challenging writing assignments there was no area where my daughter felt unchallenged.

The biggest thing for me though was that Mrs. Davis recognized my daughter's gift in math. In the past, it has been difficult to explain that she is great at math but not at fact recall. She's one of the last to pass her addition / multiplication fact timed tests and yet she can do higher level math with ease. In third grade I went to the 1st parent conference expecting to have to try to explain this and was stunned to hear that Alyssa was already in the math enrichment group. After years of hearing that she hates math, my daughter loves it and I attribute this and her advanced proficient scores in math to having a fantastic teacher who saw the potential in her.

This has gotten long, so I'll wrap up by saying that I believe Lois Davis deserves to be the 2008 Gifted Teacher of the Year. Not just for being one of those precious teachers who nurtures children's love of learning and shares herself and her own passions with them everyday but for going above and beyond everyday to challenge gifted children without even thinking about it. I get the feeling that she isn't so much differentiating because she feels she "has to" but simply because she cherishes children and understands that a one size fits all approach to education doesn't work for anyone. If every teacher and every school took this approach to education the challenge of gifted education would disappear. -- Jennifer Cassini

Keith Westman, Principal, Golf Middle School
We would like to nominate Mr. Keith Westman for the award of Administrator of the Year. His work has led to a remarkable difference in the education of gifted children during his tenure at Golf Middle School. The community of disabled children is served in our schools as a matter of course. Mr. Westman has focused on the plight of gifted students. The key problem for the gifted is that challenges are not typically available to help refine their already superior reasoning skills. Setting up programs requires the use of already stretched resources. Teacher time and efforts are clearly at a premium. Mr. Westman has built an exceptional team of educators who work together to nurture each child’s unique potential. The curriculum has been planned thoughtfully to both challenge and inspire. He personally oversees the individualization of programs for children as required, with options including grade advancement, subject acceleration, and subject skipping. To accommodate the higher level, Mr. Westmen devised the idea of a virtual high school and a math enrichment program, which incorporates advanced high school and college level coursework – all in accelerated timeframes. During his five year tenure at Golf Middle School, Mr. Westman has directed and supervised incorporation of methods to identify the gifted and provide for their education, in sync with their talents. Their work is at a sufficiently high level, and the work proceeds at a rate with exercises and lessons commensurate with their abilities.

Mr. Westman has spent countless hours learning about existing methods online, in phone conversations and interacting with his superbly capable staff. He has applied what he’s learned to build the program. The affected children have benefited tremendously from their work. Mr. Westman’s love of learning and tremendous knowledge are clear in each interaction we’ve had as he’s included us in the processes our own son has been worked through during the last three years. Mr. Westman continually searches for strategies and answers to best address the individual talents and challenges he so well recognizes in his students. He’s supervised many ‘tweaks’ in existing curricula to create new lessons that address different learning styles and content goals. He is very success oriented – and the example he provides in the way he conducts his own life is very inspirational to the students.

Thanks to Mr. Westman’s leadership, Golf Middle School is on track to serve a sometimes overlooked student population. His team has developed ways to incorporate research projects, the study of sophisticated technology, hands-on experimentation, instruction in speaking skills and personal deportment, and even an opportunity to make a full-fledged multi-month project and wrap-up presentation – to a college-level ‘committee.’ This is remarkable! Mr. Westman is always open to learning new ways to make the experience of the student more rich and appropriate. His knowledge and passion for this work has made him a strong advocate and skilled engineer. He had no experience when he began his post five years ago. His willingness to learn and serious dedication to meet the needs of individual children have made a huge difference in the quality of education at Golf Middle School. Many gifted students have been expertly served.

In recognition of his vision, service and energetic enthusiasm we nominate Mr. Keith Westman for the Administrator of the Year award. Thank you for your consideration. -- Hong Li and Charles C. Hardin

These are the great teachers and administrators that are nominated for the Hoagies' Gifted Education Page 2008 Gifted Teacher and Administrator of the Year Contest.  Learn what they've done for their students, classes, schools and districts!  And be sure to Meet the 2007 Winners and 2006 Winners!

Susan Walker, Teacher of the Gifted, Driftwood Elementary
Ms. Walker provides an enriching environment in which her gifted and talented students are able flourish in all educational areas. She has a flexible program designed for use with third grade students who are advanced and at various levels in all academic subjects. She introduces her materials in such a motivational manner that the students are always involved and on task. The scope and sequence of her class lessons lead to the continual upward progress of the children's academic, emotional, and behavioral levels. Ms. Walker's demeanor is soft, and lends itself to the children respecting each other in a like manner.

I have personally viewed, on many occasions, the classroom economy system that she employs with her students. It allows the children to think, make appropriate choices, and accept responsibility for themselves and their classmates.

This school and all of the students that have/had Ms. Walker are very fortunate to be with her. Ms. Walker is an asset to our school and our profession. --  Sheri Levine

Cindy Brodie, Explorers Teacher, Marshall Elementary
The first teacher that comes to mind would be my Explorers (grade 3rd-4th) gifted teacher Mrs. Cindy Brodie.  She is the kindest individual I have ever encountered in my life, and was always patient with every student. She treats her students as equals, and never fails to be understanding and sensitive to the feelings of those around her.  She is always fair, but is very approachable, so every student is able to reach out for help if they wanted to.  She also happened to be the first teacher who encouraged and supported when I became the gifted coordinator.  She has a HUGE impact on students, and to this day I thank her for all that she is does. -- Tina Hemby

Susan Walker, Teacher of the Gifted, Driftwood Elementary
Mrs. Walker challenges her gifted and talented students in a way that fosters respect and responsibility. Her students participate in a classroom economy that allows them to earn an income, pay monthly bills, and learn how to budget their money for purchases in the class store. The student "income" is tied directly to their behavior and responsibilities as a student. Students are eager to participate and parents have indicated that they transfer these skills and apply them at home with their own money. -- Ana Alonso

Betsy Brown, Intermediate Gifted Teacher, Carbondale Elementary School
I would like to recommend Betsy Brown, a fellow academic talent teacher, for teacher of the year. Mrs. Brown is a truly special teacher who excites and challenges her students with innovative and authentic learning activities. In her Civil War unit her students research, write, and produce vignettes, put on a Civil War ball in period costume, and go on an overnight encampment. During the encampment they sleep in the same conditions as the soldiers did, and cook and eat Civil war era vegetables that they have raised. Mrs. Brown utilizes the resources that are locally available. In her medical unit her students visit our problem-based learning medical school. The students work up a case with a patient (actor) just as the medical students do. The students create and produce a product to sell at our local Farmer’s Market in her business innovations unit. Mrs. Brown is a dedicated teacher who invests much of herself to insure that her students maximize and achieve their potential. -- Mary Alice Kimmel, Primary Gifted Teacher

Kelly Bozzomo, Gifted Support Teacher, Simmons Elementary School
Mrs. Bozzomo is supportive and responsive to the needs of the gifted children in our school. She heads a weekly enrichment class that brings out the children's creavtive ideas in a warm and encouraging environment. As an advocate for the gifted math students, she worked with the administration to start a math club specifically designed for them. She is always accessible to meet with teachers and parents to ensure an ongoing motivating environment. -- Beth Sukert

Phillip Young, Gifted Social Studies Teacher, Haralson County Middle School
Mr. Young started teaching gifted Social Studies at our school last year (he was previously employed in Douglas Co). Over the past school year and into this school year he has been a huge inspiration for my son. My son comes home every day talking about different things that he is learning in this class. He has never been so excited about any of his classes and is usually bored with them. He has learned a wide variety of topics, from politics to global situations. Mr. Young allows the student's to have debates over the material they are covering as well as internet research. He tries different ideas to work with these students, realizing that all students learn in different ways and need different teaching methods to keep them motivated. This year he is trying a new concept where each individual student "teaches" his/her peers the subject. This allows not only the student teaching the subject to do more in-depth study, but it also drives the other students to know more than the one "teaching" the subject. At these students level of achievement, they are motivated enough to try to compete with each other to see who can know more than the other. My son is constantly researching things on the internet when he gets home in the evening to learn more about the subjects they are working on in this class. I wish he was as excited in all of his classes as he is in this one. As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Young is an inspiration to his students to achieve higher goals. He pushes them to learn all that they can while also looking for new ways to teach these high achieving students as well as finding ways to keep them interested in the topics. I do not hear the infamous, "I'm bored" when my son refers to his Social Studies class. -- Karen Buchanan

Sharon Muench, Curriculum Coordinator, Mackintosh Academy
Sharon is always on the lookout for the best practices for the entire school, whether it is a transdisciplinary view of water as a resource for 5th graders or animals in folk tales across the world for early childhood, or personal connections to the identity issues found in Huckleberry Finn for 7th graders. She knows every student on campus, and learns about their strengths and concerns, and works to support each one individually, through personal attention, through extracurricular opportunities to enrich their passions, and through curriculum that crosses domains and connects the students with the world and with their own wonderful selves. She is an unsung hero in the school, the driver of all cognitive and affective support. -- Tari St.Marie

Cara Martin, Primary Extension Teacher, All 5 Darien Elementary schools, but we are at Holmes School
Cara Martin has taught my two older girls - my older daughter for 2 years, and now my 3rd grader this year in the Darien school system's gifted program, and she is just great!!! She is constantly coming up with new ways to motivate the children, and always is fun and they love her. She is very inspirational and dedicated.

She is always learning new things about the gifted and up on new studies and new methods of identifying and working with gifted children. She is fun and the kids love her. My third grader looks forward to Mondays - ONLY because she has 'IDEA' - Darien's gifted class with Cara Martin. If it were not for Cara, and the gifted program, I think I would have to think seriously about putting my kids in private school - even though Darien is lucky to have a great school system. What she does in 1 1/2 hours a week make a huge difference in my daughters life (and did for 2 years of my older daughter's life as well). She challenges them, nurtures them, and helps them take on challenging projects step by step. She is kind and encouraging and has a huge smile. She treats them like the intellects they are, and she knows each kid so well it is incredible. She is the perfect example of what a teacher can and should be for all kids. But as you know, teaching gifted kids requires additional insight and perhaps patience, both of which she has. Some of these kids are so smart that they are frequently faced with adults (other teachers too) who are bothered/scared by their questions, or their quick answers. Cara is not afraid to say she does not know - or to let the kids know that even she got one answer wrong on a vocab. test. So they respect her - know she is honest (they can usually tell!) and feel comforted by her example that they are not expected to be perfect all the time! (This is a huge issue especially with my gifted girls for whom perfection - or striving for it - is definitely an issue). She is not afraid to engage them in working 'with' her to solve a problem, which is a great way for bright kids to work and learn!

She also has 2 young children, and her husband teaches science (I think) at the middle school. She has also taught after school programs at the elementary schools in Darien, including a class on 'American Girl crafts' where they talked about periods of history and made things for American Girl dolls related to the period, etc. She is incredibly energetic, and I think we need to encourage young teachers who have lots of personal things going on at home, but who nonetheless bring so much to the table in terms of knowing the latest and most recent info on the gifted (not the 'I know it all' - attitude lots of older teachers get).

She received her Bachelors in Human Development and Elementary Ed. from Wheelock College in 1993. She attended Manhattanville College and received a Masters in Teaching with a concentration and certification in Reading and Special Education. She began her career teaching Kindergarten at Royle School in 1995. She has worked with children in a variety of capacities teaching, enrichment, special education and support services since then. She began teaching the gifted in 2005. She has taught gifted students in grades 1,2,3 and 4 for the Darien Public Schools. -- Allison Molkenthin

Kelly Bozzomo, Gifted Support Teacher, Simmons Elementary School
She displays a wonderful dedication to her students and presents them with wonderful challenges, while keeping it fun and interesting! Kelly provides them with an enriching environment in which the students thrive with creativity!  -- Julie Grey

Kelly Bozzomo, Gifted Support Teacher, Simmons Elementary School
Mrs. Bozzomo is the best enrichment teacher in the world and I, as her student, think she deserves this award.

Every year, Mrs. Bozzomo chooses a topic to study in enrichment. She then spends the whole year coming up with ideas related to our topic. This year, it was inventions.

We started off by designing an inventor’s log. In it, we wrote down everyday objects such as a balloon, paper clip, or an empty jar with a lid and then wrote down every possible use for the object except the real use. We then chose an inventor to write a report on. You wrote one report telling about your inventor and one with you as the inventor telling about yourself.

We also did a game called solutions. In “Solutions”, Mrs. Bozzomo wrote questions on her white board and the groups had to come up with different solutions. For example, one question was, “How do you find an invisible person in a room who doesn’t want to be found?” The solution my group came up with was to move all the furniture out of the room and get a bunch of friends. The friends would line up on one side of a room with a paintbrush (that had paint on it) and walk to the other side of the room. If someone sees floating paint later, they will know where the invisible person is. We really enjoyed this.

Near the end of enrichment, every student made an invention of their own to enter in a contest judged at the school by an actual inventor. I invented the Super Soccer Trainer and won 1st place in the sports category.

Throughout the school year, Mrs. Bozzomo travels to different schools each day to teach the enrichment students. In my school, Simmons, the 4th graders have enrichment on Tuesdays after lunch. We can eat lunch with our classmates or in Mrs. Bozzomo’s room with her and the other enrichment students…everybody always chooses to eat and talk with Mrs. Bozzomo.

Mrs. Bozzomo is a great enrichment teacher and I hope she continues to teach me for a long time. -- Taylor L.

Kelly Bozzomo, Gifted Support Teacher, Simmons Elementary School
Kelly Bozzomo is a special person. Kelly works for a public school system with children grades 1-5 organizing the gifted support program. Her program include field trips, weekly meetings, projects, games, contests, and varied learning activities. The children are always stimulated and participate actively with every task. They voluntarily miss lunch once a week with their peers to eat lunch with Kelly and start their weekly session early. My daughter was tested in second grade to be in Enrichment and since there was no organized program yet for second grade, Kelly would meet with Taylor individually to supplement her education and meet the needs of her IEP. In a time of "No child left behind" she goes above and beyond to make sure her children's needs are met. -- Alicia Brennan Lis

Mrs. Zimmerman, Primary Extension Teacher, Leewood Elementary School
My daughter (grade 5 now) and my son (grade 2) have had Mrs. Zimmerman as their gifted program teacher. They have had a wonderful educational experience in her "thinking outside the box" approach to teaching. I particularly enjoy my son's enthusiasm when he shares, how while learning the money unit he used the fake money -that he had earned for good behavior and other good work- to buy stuff from Ms. Z store.

Students have unique but simple incentives for working hard in this class- like getting to sit in the rocking chair, teachers chair, gold slips for completed homework etc which they use at the end of the year to get books from the teacher.  Creativity is this teachers' middle name. She uses unusual ways to educate the child.

Ms. Zimmerman organised and help students perform a play Solution Pollution - to help them learn about pollution. Students learnt about weather through the play A to Z weather. The math program that she conducts is very structured. I like the questions posted in the problem of the day- on the board for the students answer. It introduces math to the students at a personal level.

Soft spoken, (unusual for a teacher- but manages to maintain discipline in the class) gentle and caring towards every child, she sets a tall order for other teachers to follow. -- Anjana Mishra

Billie Edwards, Teacher, Ronald McNair Middle School
Ms. Edwards truly is a gift to her gifted students. She teaches 6th 7th and 8th grades social studies and language arts. While this is a stretch for most teachers, she handles it with such enthusiasm. She taught both my 6th and 7th grade children this year. Both students admired her thirst for knowledge and loved the classical music that was always being played in her classroom. They felt that the music really set the tone for higher level thinking.

This year her 7th grade students had a long term project that integrated all major subject areas. They learned how to make a family budget, write out checks, keep a check register, make decisions about car and home purchases, interest rates and grocery shopping. They also had to do detailed investigation into their chosen careers and what degrees and or training would be necessary after high school and how much they could expect to earn.

The students had to do a written and oral presentation. While the project was long and very detailed, my son loved it. He would get up early on Saturday mornings to work on it. He enjoyed the challenge of using various resources to find the information he needed.

While she was teaching math, social studies and language arts in one project, she was also teaching them basic skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. I enjoyed watching the process unfold.  My son never complained about the length or the difficulty of this project. He really wanted it to be the best because he believes that Ms. Edwards gives her best each and everyday.

I am nominating Ms. Edwards because my son and daughter have told me on several occasions how she motivates them to do well because they can see how much thought and effort she puts into her lesson plans and her respect for them as gifted students. She was pregnant this year and still gave her best to the students every day. Ms. Edwards makes huge investments in her students everyday and I would like nominate her for The Gifted Teacher of the Year Award. -- Felecia Turner-Martin

Deborah Reynolds, Gifted Resource Teacher, Larrymore Elementary
Ms. Reynolds is my daughter's Gifted Resource Teacher. She deserves to be selected as teacher of the year because of her unique style and methods used to challenge the kids. Once Loren was selected for the program I began contacting Ms. Reynolds even before school began to inquire. She returned all of my calls and was very informative and assuring on the benefits of the program. Since Loren has been meeting with the group each Wednesday I can see how she has blossomed. I often e-mail Ms. Reynolds to inquire of Loren's progress and she is always very detailed in her response. She takes the time to give me detailed examples of some of the assignments Loren is given and the steps she takes towards resolution. This is very important and useful for any parent when the teacher's e-mail can seemingly bring you into the classroom with your child. Ms. Reynold's methods are very challenging yet teach life skills that I know are assisting in devoting Loren's distinct personality and abilities. From my experience with her, the genuine love and passion for what she does shines through and is becoming rare nowadays. -- Lolita Albergottie

Marsha Peters, Gifted Resource Teacher, Buchanan Elementary School
Marsha Peters started at our school this school year, replacing the retired gifted teacher. she came from another district were she had taught for a number of years. The first thing she did was to get to know each child, and parents. she gave us a questionnaire to complete to tell her what we expected, and would like or not like. Marsha covers more than just Buchanan Elementary, but has fit in well, and worked hard to introduce changes quickly but without disruption to the students or parents. she is willing to spend extra time with the students when they show an interest, and I had to wait for mine after school as they have been doing extra 'fun educational' activities. (she checked it was okay for them to continue with me). she understands each child's differences and needs. My son has learning problems, such as ADHD as well as being Gifted, and Marsha has been a true source of support and information. She has gone out of her way to find & suggest web sites & books to read, and even therapist to take him to. She not only teaches the students recognized as gifted, but also those capable of doing advanced Math or English from the 5th grade. She always has new and exciting things for the students to do, and my two really look forward to the time they spend with her.  She is a God send. -- Catharine Harrison

Jeff Fields, Theater Teacher, Moon Valley High School
Mr. Fields has helped me become the actress i am today. When i first went into high school i was a very shy young girl. Being in his theater class helped me become a very confident and outgoing person. He helped to learn how to relax in front of big crowds of people. He has also helped me find my way in acting outside of school, by telling me about auditions in community theater and in other things. He is truely and great man and a great teacher. He has a special bond with all his students that i've never seen any other teacher have. -- Summer B.

Katrina Jordan, Gifted Teacher, Winn Parish School District
Mrs. Katrina Jordan is a very dedicated individual who truly has a heart for gifted education. She is an itinerant teacher who travels over 450 miles every month in order to meet the needs of her gifted students. As her coworker for several special years, I saw first hand how much she loved her students and how she strove to make learning exciting and new for them year after year. She works with children from kindergarten age all the way through high school, and she seamlessly transitions from age group to age group daily. She loves technology and she uses it daily as a way to differentiate lessons for her students. Katrina understands that her students are a part of a global community. However, their experiences in a small, rural parish in Louisiana might not be enough to help them grow into this role. Therefore, she not only plans lessons to help them think outside the box but she also plans extensive field trips for her students every year. As a talented teacher in the same parish with her, I was able to attend several of these over night trips with her and her students. Katrina plans each minute of the trips in order to squeeze every possible moment of learning and fun into them. Katrina Jordan is not only a dedicated teacher, but she is also a dedicated professional and a life long learner. She has presented at various state, national, and international conferences in places such as Savannah, GA, Chicago, IL, and San Antonio, TX. Additionally, her study of professional learning communities was published in the notable journal Essays in Education. Mrs. Jordan was named the 2006 LACUE Middle Teacher of the Year for our region. She is currently ABD (All But Dissertation) in her pursuit of a doctoral degree from Louisiana Tech University. Her dissertation topic is gifted underachievement. Along with being a dedicated teacher and learner she is also a dedicated member of her community. She has been a children’s choir director at her church for five years, and she is currently the parent group president at her daughter’s elementary school. Likewise, she has associated herself with many worthy charities such as Relay for Life and Toys for Tots. Mrs. Jordan has several yearly community service projects that she does with her students such as ministering to nursing home residents and working with food banks. In summary, I would like to nominate Katrina Jordan for the Hoagie’s Teacher of the Year award because she is a dedicated teacher, learner and member of her community. -- Taryn Toms

Narinder Kumar batra, Punjabi Lecturer, Patiala
Professional honesty and integrity are inseparable part of the character of a teacher. And We are proud to own that such a teacher works in Govt. Senior Secondary School , Shermajra ( Patiala ). He is a living example of dedication towards teaching profession. His example inspires the students as well as the teachers. His name is Narinder Kumar batra
We think that the love and respect for our mother tongue is one aspect of honesty. Narinder Kumar batra did his M.A. in Punjabi in first division and got his Ph.D. in Punjabi literature from Punjabi University . He is working in a school which is situated in a village and here he is doing his best to make the students acquire high excellence in his subject. We think he has been hundred percent successful in achieving his aim.

Narinder Kumar batra was appointed as Punjabi lecturer on 01-03-1996. He has been serving in his school since 16-07-1996. His results are hundred percent. He has a kind heart. The problems of his students are his own problems. They know that he is a friend in need. They go to him with their problems and he always has a solution for their problems. Narinder kumar batra did his Ph.D. after joining the service as a teacher but he did never let his studies interface with his work as a teacher.

An honest person does not lives an honest life only he fights for the cause of honesty. A writer’s greatest weapon is his pen. Narinder kumar batra too uses his pen in the service of humanity. He wants to create awareness in the society about the corruption and other basic problems that humanity is facing these days. All these problems are the production of a corrupt industrial society. So D Narinder Kumar batra writes articles for leading newspapers and magazines. He writes on topics like Environment pollution, AIDS, Universal Literacy, Punjabi language, Female Foetus killing etc. In the morning assembly Narinder Kumar batra delivers shorts lectures on these topics. He drives home his point with strong arguments and raises the awareness level of his students as well as his colleagues. He plays an active and leading role in organizing cultural and other functions in our school. He is an active member of the ECO Club and encourages students to plant trees. He himself has donated plants to the school and feels hurt when some tree or plants is damaged even partly.

He feels that it is his duty to cause awareness about AIDS. Many teachers find it awkward to talk to students on such a sensitive topic. But Narinder Kumar batra educates students about this menace. He has also attended the seminar organized by Punjab Stare AIDS Control Society and has also put a box in school in which students who feel shy can put their written questions . Later on he answers these questions in the morning assembly in a very wise manner.
Punctuality and Regularity are two characteristics which are must for forging great personalities. Narinder Kumar batra has both of these. He is never late for school. He never wastes his student’s time. He works round the clock. He is so regular that sometimes students complain of his regularity. In his career they had never idle time during his period. This is honesty to the utmost limit.

He is also dedicated to spreading literacy among the adults. This school being a cluster-centre for National Literacy Programme. He is constantly in touch with the volunteers who are doing their best to spread literacy among the neighbouring villages. He often visits these villages to give guidance to the volunteers and to encourage the illiterate Villages to join adult teaching centres. Therefore, he has to do a lot of paper-work in the school, but he never complains.

Narinder kumar batra has been given the Best Teacher Award three times by Lions Club Barandari, Manav Kalyan parishad and Patiala social welfare society. His name has also been recommended for the State Award for the Best Teacher.
He is an asset to the school. We strongly recommend his name for the “ best teacher award" and wish him a bright and prosperous future. -- Rakesh Kumar

Monica Bowler, Principal, Friedell Middle School
Monica Bowler is the principal of Friedell Middle School, which hosts a brand new school within a school for highly gifted students. She has actively sought to learn about the needs and methods of educating gifted and highly gifted students. She also led her staff to learn about giftedness. She encourages them to truly differentiate instruction and assignments for their students.

When a possible special program for highly gifted middle school students was discussed, she expressed interest in having it start at Friedell as soon as possible. She arranged for a professor of gifted education from an area university to travel to Friedell to offer courses leading to certification in gifted education. She encouraged all of her staff to enroll, and the vast majority of them are taking the courses.

All of this study paved the way for the implementation of extended classes for gifted and high achieving students in 2005. The knowledge and insight the staff gained also helped them to prepare for the first class of HG students who started last September. Monica herself has made it possible for students to take above grade level classes. She has encouraged and supported her teachers to allow independent study and alternative assignments for students who need them. She facilitates the grouping of students in classes based on their needs so that students with similar needs can be instructed together and benefit from regular contact with their intellectual peers.

Monica continues to listen to input from parents in general and from our advocacy group in particular. She implements requests and improvements when they are feasible. For instance, Monica encourages flexible grouping when placing Friedell students in math classes so that they will be challenged and stimulated. As a result, about half of the 6th grade math sections offered at Friedell are above-grade-level classes.

Anyone who knows Monica can attest to her passion and enthusiasm for education, for her students, and for her staff. She truly cares for and values each individual student at Friedell and wants them to be happy and enjoy learning. She has ultivated a collaborative and respectful leadership style. She has been a courageous leader in gifted education within the Rochester school district. Her dedication is inspiring.

Monica Bowler has led her staff to implement improvements which have improved the education of both gifted students and the entire student population at Friedell Middle School. Monica and her entire staff are to be commended for the time and effort they have invested in learning about and addressing the needs of gifted students. Monica continues to advocate for changes to better meet the needs of gifted students both in the HG program and throughout the school. Monica truly deserves to be honored for her great work and dedication to gifted students. -- Margaret Pellegrini

David Poon, Advanced and Gifted Program Teacher, Dutch Fork Elementary School
My son is a fifth grader in Mr. David Poon's AGP class. Aidan has always loved school, and is a straight-A student. However, Aidan has never loved going to school as much as he does now!  ALL of Mr. Poon's students love his class and the way that he teaches. He has so many interesting and inventive ways to coax his students into serious critical thinking.  Every day my son has stories about the exciting things he did in Mr. Poon's class, and it amazes me how many different ways he has of presenting information to his students and getting the super-involved.

I have a master's degree in secondary social studies, so I feel like I really do know a good teacher when I see one. I believe that Mr. David Poon is the best thing that ever happened to my son academically - and I know that teachers like home only come once in a lifetime.  Mr. Poon has been teaching AGP and other gifted students both in Washington and in South Carolina for a very long time. I can think of no one more deserving to be recognized for all of his hard work and enthusiasm! -- Jo Anne Crow
 

updated May 02, 2016


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