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2009 Gifted Teacher and Administrator of the Year Contest...
And the nominations are...

Meet the 2009 nominees for the Hoagies' Gifted Education Page Gifted Teacher and Administrator of the Year Contest.  These outstanding teachers have gone above and beyond the call of their profession to offer their gifted students the support and challenge that they crave.

Thanks to my co-judges Joni Lawver, parent and past president of Nebraska Association for the Gifted, and Kathi Kearney, Maine teacher and affiliate with the Gifted Development Center, for their help annually in this difficult selection.  Thanks for their support to our 2009 Contest Sponsors...

bullet ThinkFun Rush Hour and the Dice Game
bulletBright Ideas curriculum resources
bulletChallenge Math books
bulletPieces of Learning curriculum books
bulletRoyal Fireworks Press books
bulletZanca gift certificates
bulletFree Spirit Publishing books
bulletGreat Potential Press books
bulletHoagies' Gifted Education Page books

Each teacher and administrator nominated also receives 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.

Sue Savage, 504 program and Extended Learning Programs (ELP) Supervisor, Salt Lake City School District
I first spoke to Sue almost fourteen years ago when I called about the gifted program for the Salt Lake City Schools. I am nominating her based on the breadth of my own experience so anecdotes refer to my children whose lives have been immeasurably improved due to Sue's quiet counsel, good sense and advocacy for the child- even on behalf of the "gifted" child who is "already doing so well do they really need more?"

She is the district administrator, but she is also involved as an advocate on a personal level. I forget that she is so busy because she seems to be able to fill both roles effortlessly. I've never felt anger from her, though she has been tested because I've had a hard time acknowledging that my children are different and may need challenges that can't be found in the ordinary school environment.

My youngest son suddenly struggled in first grade. I thought he might have a learning disability so I called Sue, as the 504 administrator to ask about testing. She thought he might be gifted. I thought not. After testing, Sue called to explain what "profoundly gifted" meant. She clarified so much of his behavior and suggested reading and a course of action. I mourned. I bought some books but I rejected her suggested course of action and chose to leave him in our neighborhood school. Sue has taken my calls for years-literally- as I've tried to find a solution that would at once meet his needs but make sure he was "just a normal kid." Her patience, her support, her soft encouragement and her love for the child, in the end led us to let him seek another academic road in the public school system. He is so happy, he has friends, he loves his school and his teachers. None of this would have happened without Sue and her day to day work on behalf of gifted children. I know I should be ashamed of my inability to see these things, but Sue doesn't give up on me. She's coached me, as busy as she is, until I could step aside and let the right thing happen.

My middle daughter suffered a serious head injury when she was four years old. She seemed to recover completely and became a very good student in her neighborhood school. At one point, the school audiologist suspected an auditory processing disorder- but she didn't have all the symptoms and we thought she would "develop out of it." By her ninth grade year though, she seemed emotionally overwrought, she struggled with fatigue, and she had strange academic performances- she was getting either As or D/F and below on some assignments. I was uncertain about what to do. She was an A student, what could be wrong? In the background, as usual, Sue was a gentle advocate for my girl- even when I was unwilling to see anything wrong. And when initial testing showed that the brain injury had affected our daughter for years, Sue explained she'd just been able to compensate and recognized she couldn't anymore. She'd reached her limit. Now, with just a little help, my daughter may be able to achieve personally, but she may also be able to contribute to society, to use her gifts to help other people. If that happens, I will hear Sue's gentle, wise voice in the background because neither my daughter nor I would have been able to do it without her. -- Karen Jensen

Darlene Boyd, Director, UCI Center for Educational Partnerships' Gifted Students Academy (GSA)
I want to nominate the most amazing woman. Her name is Darlene Boyd she is the head of the University California Irvine Gifted Student academy. She is the head of a group of classes that are truly for gifted children. The classes are hands on, thoughtful, and the subject matter is fascinating and open ended and to the gifted student and allows them to thrive. The environment is dynamic and each staff member that I have met or heard about from my son is an absolute gift. I am the mother of a profoundly gifted student and cannot even begin to describe the value of this program. I cannot say enough about Ms. Boyds determination to better the bright minds of out future. Please check out this Web site. It is quite modest. The web site doesn't speak about the pedigree of the instructors and the opportunity for small group Q and A session for the children e.g. the Dean of UCI Law. Dean of Environmental Law at UCI and more.

My son has participated in EPGY, Summers Institute, JHU classes and family events and I have not had the feeling of the amazement and treasury of the love of learning that he has felt at UCI GSA academy!

I feel the need to share this with somebody!  The modest website is http://www.cfep.uci.edu/gsa/ -- Shelly Beck, mom of Mason L.

Jeff Langdon, Director of Curriculum and Instruction K-8, Oak Hills School Local School District
Through a task force comprised of stakeholders (teachers, parents, board members, etc) from the Oak Hills School District, Jeff Langdon and his administrative team researched, organized, and implemented an amazing and innovative way to achieve success for his schools. Oak Hills is in its second year of sponsoring a cohort of regular classroom teachers who are being certified as Gifted Intervention Specialists. 15 teachers completed the certification process last year, with 15 new teachers moving through the process this year. Teachers are given direction, planning time, and support to attain their academic requirements. The University of Cincinnati works directly with Oak Hills and visits/supports the teachers on site and online. In addition to the growing number of regular classroom teachers being certified, Oak Hills also employs 8 gifted intervention specialists for their schools to provide inclusion services as well as consultation and resources targeted solely for their gifted population. I am so impressed with the notion that we must gear instruction to the top students to address the needs of all the students. Oak Hills has completed book studies, professional development around differentiation and innovative practices for students. In this district, ALL teachers are aware of the needs of their gifted students and best practices for gifted students drive the instruction models. This strategy has already had a noticeable impact on test scores and achievement data in the district. Jeff Langdon is a pioneer and a bold leader who promotes gifted education. It would mean so much if he could be acknowledged for his hard work and accomplishments. -- Sylvia St. Cyr

Shelia McAdams, Principal, Winthrop Elementary School
Sheila Smith McAdams is the current principal of the Winthrop School in Ipswich Mass. I however first met Sheila when she was the 4th grade teacher of my now almost 20 year old daughter. You would have to meet Sheila to understand her and her impact on the lives of those around her, particularly the students who are blessed to have come her way. The spoken language does not offer enough descriptive words that offer the depth to even begin to encompass the person that Sheila is and the impact that she has, unbeknownst even to herself on those around her.

Sheila is like the leader of a large marching band, complete with the large festive hat and colorful costume and she invites everyone into the most vivid, vibrant, joyous and exuberant marching band ever. You cannot help but feel energized and positive about the whole educational process and your child’s place in it with someone like Sheila championing their cause. You can never doubt that each and every child is her greatest concern and her greatest joy, and that she spends all her energy worry about each one as much as she would her own. Ipswich was given a great gift when Sheila came into Ipswich to teach, the students love her and would follow her to the ends to the earth and would the parents as well! Sheila works tirelessly with herculean strength for all children and their families, and we are all better for her service.

Sheila never stops on behalf of the children that fall under her care; she in all the many years I have known her has never failed to amaze me with her dedication to the greater good that is our collective children. Her candle burns long and bright well into the night and all through the year to make the Winthrop a better school for the children and her staff. Every child in the Winthrop, I believe feels as if they have a special connection to Sheila, that they have a special place in her heart and in reality this the crux of what makes Sheila shine, every child does have a special place in heart and she seems to know them all so very well and is able to hone in what they each seem to need.

Although Massachusetts has no special funding or programming for gifted children, Sheila strives to make available to these students opportunities and celebrate their accomplishments. Sheila also is one who understands that giftedness reveals itself through many different avenues not just in traditional scholarly avenues. If Massachusetts would offer the proper support for its gifted students I cannot imagine where the Winthrop maybe able to soar to. -- Christina Aubin

Karen Green, Lead Gifted and Talented Specialist, McKinney Independent School District
Mrs. Karen Green is a one-woman force of nature. As the Lead Gifted and Talented Specialist for the McKinney ISD in McKinney, TX, she is a tireless advocate for our district’s programs, teachers and students, and one of those special individuals who lives and breathes her values and passions. A five-minute conversation with Mrs. Green can leave one simultaneously inspired, agreeing to carry out some pertinent and relevant task she has suggested for the betterment of one thing or another, and feeling the strong desire to clone her unique brand of enthusiasm and energy. In an era of school funding cutbacks in our state and region, Mrs. Green has effectively advocated for and constructively partnered to significantly expand programs in our district. She is a master at shifting back and forth between the big picture and long-term goal and then figuring out all of the intermediate steps to reach that goal. In addition to the myriad of tasks involved in her role on a daily basis, such as program development, training, supervision, budgeting, hiring, observing, mentoring, and reading/sending the one-thousandth email of the day, she may also be sharing copies of the latest writings on gifted education, hand delivering a scholarship application to the parent of a student in financial need, or beautifully decorating the table for a guest speaker’s program. As the parent of a gifted child and a member of our GT parent group, I am very appreciative that Mrs. Green is in charge of our district’s GT programs. -- Lisa Wechsler

Jennifer Keyes-Russel, Gifted Teacher, Oakleaf Elementary School
My daughter was identified as highly gifted 3 years ago and has had 3 different gifted teachers, so when we became involved with Mrs. Keyes-Russel, she stood out as a gem. She immediately recognized the strengths and challenges inherent to my child and help devise ways to work with her that would help her to grow. She is constantly available for questions and generally if I have an area that I was concerned about, she has already identified it and begun working on a plan to address it. She absolutely understands what it means to be gifted and seems to celebrate these special children in all their glory and the areas that they are particularly vulnerable. She was instrumental in assessing my daughter and having her accelerated when it became obvious that she needed that in addition to extra instruction. She is the one place in school that my daughter can't wait to go. She feels safe, understood, and just like everyone else when in that room. She is a special teacher and has made a lasting impression on our entire family. -- Gretchen Spencer

Lisa Curtis, Teacher of the gifted, Lumberton Elementary School
Ms. Curtis is the most enthusiastic teacher I have ever witnessed in this position. She provides our gifted students with long-term and short-term projects that foster independence, as well as inquiry. The interesting story to her career is that she taught self-contained special education classes for the majority of her teaching years before beginning her own inquisitive venture into the gifted world of education just two short years ago. -- Rosalie Chabert

Anne Dalara, 2nd grade teacher, John Muir Elementary School
Our son is starting 4th grade and she was his 2nd grade teacher after he was accelerated from Kindergarten. Mrs. Dalara has the talent to truly teach differentiated (a rare gift). She motivated our son to reach his potential, without making/keeping him separate from the rest of the class. All kids were truly supported and accepted at their level. She was not afraid of his questions, needs or interests and nourished them appropriately, while still accepting the 6year old he was and directing him in areas he needed to grow in. She has also been so far the only teacher who did not try to encourage us to hold him back and make him "slower" to fit in. Only she ever encouraged us to let him go as fast as he likes in Math and have faith that he won't be the first grown man not able to tie his shoes while being great at algebra. Two years later we still marvel at how helpful and right her advise has been in many areas. The year our son spent in her class gave him and us strength and self-acceptance that carried us over many obstacles since. At the side she runs a program in the district that invites children authors for students to meet, organizes monthly (!truely great!) fieldtrips and so on and on. There are more books in her classroom than the library.  She does teach science in second grade. Whenever I was in the classroom there were 1 or 2 longterm experiments on display to be observed. Two years later I know how lucky/blessed we were to spent a year in her care. -- Susanne Bombosch

Micheal LaMarr, 4th grade Rapid Learner, Del Paso Manor Elementary School
Mr. La Marr is a teacher that students will remember for the rest of their lives as their favorite. My son was in his 4th grade class for 2008-09 and it was the most amazing year he ever had. Mr. La Marr works in a classroom with 100% gifted children and has been trained specifically for the social and emotional needs of these gifted kids.

Mr. La Marr chose interesting literature to read in the classroom. Every homework assignment was reviewed in detail and marked with constructive comments. In the interest of maximizing the teacher:student ratio he splits the classroom into 3 groups. Although it is repetitive for him to teach the same material 3 times a day, he prefers this method so he can assess each student's comprehension better than if he were to work with an entire group of 34. He has the class participate in community service projects, is very knowledgeable in California history, and takes them on a great environmental field trip to Westminster woods.

Mr. La Marr puts his technology background to good use. His website (michaellamarr.com) offers many links to brain teasers, puzzles, advanced math, and much more. He is also available to students by e-mail. My son has often e-mailed questions after 5pm or 6pm and Mr. La Marr has always responded within the hour. With the amount of time it would require to teach at this level, you would think he would be "done" by 2:25pm on Friday. However he truly enjoys his students. He invites all his students, past and present, to play football or basketball with him after school every Friday. Some kids who are now in middle school, and even a high school boy, still come back to play ball with Mr. La Marr.

He is also involved in science training and implementation of the FOSS Science Program for the staff and school district as part of the FOSS/K-12 Alliance Science Leadership Academy (3-year training commitment). This shows his dedication extends to his peers and his profession, not just his own classroom.

Outside of school he is part of the Wonder program to be a mentor to Foster Care children. As a mentor his goal is to provide a stable friendship and bring fun into their lives.

On the last day of the year, my son and 2 other boys cried because their time with Mr. La Marr had come to an end. He assured them that he would reply to every one of their e-mails over the summer and would try to schedule a bike ride too. Well, last week was the third time he took my son and a couple of other students for a bike ride along the American River this summer.

I can't say enough good things about Mr. La Marr. I have dealt with so many teachers and he is the first I would consider the "whole package". He is the perfect balance of enforcing disciplined behavior, bringing each student to their utmost academic potential, and making sure the kids are having fun the entire time.  -- Mallika Srinivasan

Joyce Baldwin, Elementary GT Specialist, Burleson Independent School District
Mrs. Baldwin is the epitome of a GT teacher! When I first met her as I was beginning my career in education, I was in awe of the way she made her students think and work. She demands their best and pushes them to achieve more than they think they can and does it all with a gentle and loving demeanor.

Since then, I have entered the field of gifted education and get to work with Mrs. Baldwin. What a blessing that is! She has years of experience and knowledge and I try to absorb all that I can. She has a true passion for these students and it shows in her teaching and when she trains other teachers.

Mrs. Baldwin is a true asset to our district and especially to the field of gifted education. -- Krista Porter

Delina Horton, Teacher, I.T. Montgomery Elementary School
my teacher is the best she goes over things ive never thought about doing
she makes us work our brain
-- Vernall M.

James Cheney, Teacher, Lincoln Elementary School
I do not know a great deal about Mr. Cheney, except through the stories of my child, a gifted fourth grade girl.

We transferred our daughter from a private school to the public school in her fourth grade year, where the school assigned my daughter to Mr. Cheney's classroom. We soon knew how blessed we were to have him as our daughter’s teacher when at least three parents soon told us, “You have won the teacher lottery.”

My daughter came home from school most days with a funny story and an interesting fact. Mr. Cheney challenged and intrigued my daughter by the subjects he brought out in class. Mr. Cheney taught through multi-media and by integrating multiple topics and genres. Mr. Cheney taught geography, for example, with history, with use of research and writing, and with art, through smart boards, internet access, and songs. Mr. Cheney is innovative, while still giving attention to traditional resources. Mr. Cheney incorporated current events into daily lessons not only through news clippings, but also through YouTube, Google, and the like. He brought humor, joy and levity to the classroom, while still challenging our daughter intellectually, pushing her to achieve her full potential.

Mr. Cheney is not only an excellent teacher of subject matters important to the intellectual development of our child, but he also is a gifted nurturer. Mr. Cheney communicated with us about our child, providing us weekly reports about our child’s development, but clearly conveyed to our daughter that she was responsible for her work product. He was respectful of our child, her emotional well-being, and her social development. When troubled by a situation with another classmate, she felt comfortable going to Mr. Cheney during the lunch hour to discuss solutions and the manner in which to manage the issues. Mr. Cheney obtained the guidance of the school social worker and adjusted the classroom environment inconspicuously, addressing the social needs of my daughter and the other children in the classroom.

Mr. Cheney is akin to an unsung hero. I do not know how many awards he has won, what his educational background is, or what he has accomplished in his career. Nevertheless, he truly has made an indelible impact on the life of my daughter and, from what I hear, so many other student’s lives, that we hope that you will acknowledge his amazing contribution to the lives of young people. -- Maureen Gorman

Virginia Loomis, Gifted Teacher, Tchefuncte Middle School
After all the teachers I have had (so far), Mrs. Loomis is the one that stood out most in my mind. First of all, she has the best memory! I remember... After someone told her that they didn't have something, they weren't going to be present on a certain day, or a certain activity they were going to be pulled out of class for on a certain day, she would pull out a little green notebook and write it down so that she would not forget. Guess what? She never did! Another thing about Mrs. Loomis is that she always made sure that you understood everything thoroughly. I remember a time when I didn't quite understand something going on in the political world, and I asked her about her about the topic. So, she said, "Well, let's discuss it." Then, she pulled out newspapers, magazines, and online articles. She never gave us some useless article, though. In fact, she believes strongly in opinion, and that it is good to have one. So, she'd read us the article, then she'd let us speak, comment on articles, and state her opinion, too. Another great quality about Mrs. Loomis is how she's so understanding. There was once a time when the day was a bit different then others because of a special event at the school. So, when the event was over, we were past-time in switching over to Mrs. Loomis's partner teacher, Mrs. Carney. None of us thought it made sense to switch since it would only be for twenty minutes or less, so Mrs. Loomis took our opinions into consideration and let us stay in her room for the last twenty minutes of the day. Oh! There was also a day when I needed some extra time to turn in my book report because I was reading a rather long book. Mrs. Loomis told me, "Take your time, and enjoy your book. When you are done, you can present your report." An additional quality Mrs. Loomis has is care. Mrs. Loomis cares about every single one of her students. You should have seen her face when she got an e-mail from a previous student of hers that was graduating high school; she was filled with joy! She is also hilarious! I remember her little "head bob" and "the finger" she did when she was being sarcastic. I mean, the whole class would just crack up. Oh, and the homework: it was perfect! The other gifted teachers gave either too little homework or too much. As for Mrs. Loomis, she was just right! She was always well-organized with everything. On Monday morning we'd walk into class and pull out our planners to write down weekly reminders and homework. That way if we have some kind of extra curricular event after school one day, we can get it done ahead of time! She cares so much, and that's why you just have to pick Mrs. Loomis for this contest. I was truly blessed to be one of her students, and she deserves to know how much I and all of her other "children" care. She is extremely knowledgeable, caring, loving, trustworthy, understanding, funny, and just plain awesome! -- Sophia A.

Heather Hannah, PEAK Teacher (Gifted Education), Sudduth Elementary School
I am a gifted adult and my times in gifted ed. during my schooling are probably some of the only times, academically, that I felt normal. Being around other kids with the same sort of inner workings as myself was extremely helpful to me. Though, I have to admit my gifted ed. was lacking. We were never taught what it meant to be "gifted" and we were given little in the way of coping tools. I have found this to be hard in my adult life because I have great difficulty relating to "regular" people and often feel alienated. Heather Hannah is the epitome of a wonderful gifted ed. teach; she's a gifted adult and has brought to her classroom her own experiences and incorporates so many things into her teaching that will become valuable tools for the children as they grow from kids to adults. She makes a great effort to explain and show the parents what it means to be a gifted child and she does the same for her students. At the beginning of each school year she gives the kids an evaluation of interests and structures the entire year's lessons around what the children are interested in learning. She also give each child and individual assessment and finds out what their strengths and weaknesses are and teaches to enhance and build them.

The children of Starkville School district are lucky in that Heather is their "first" gifted teacher. (Children begin gifted ed. in the 2nd grade here.) She has structured her program so that the children spend one entire day a week in her classroom (aside from reading class) and in this way they are immersed into a thriving learning environment that is structured around their individual strengths. I could list and list the things that Heather does, but all in all, she is a fantastic teacher who truly and deeply cares for and understands the minds of gifted children. I wish I could have been so lucky as to have a teacher like her when I was a child; she not only teaches to be academically superior but also to function with their non-gifted peers on a better level. She is a fantastic teacher and I know no one more deserving of recognition for this fact. -- Amanda Doll Richardson

Sharon Travis, 2nd Grade Gifted Teacher, Kolb Elementary School
"Mrs. Travis is just like Mary Poppins; she makes all of our work fun!" This was a remark from my young second grader in October in praise of his second grade teacher. He really believed that she worked magic; in a way she did--every day. As a gifted teacher, Sharon not only sought daily to challenge the children in her class to excel and challenge themselves, she also cared for each individual child and their struggles with making friendships, team building, and controlling emotions--all of which are very real parts of a gifted child's life.

She made the children write everyday and inspired some great work and some great writers. She found topics everywhere--in the seasons, in current events, and even some based on the construction projects going on in the school. They wrote stories, persuasive essays; letters to the principal; research reports on their favorite animals; and field reports from trips to the marsh and the zoo. They learned to write well and they learned to love writing.

Mrs. Travis celebrated the children and their successes, encouraged them when they felt discouraged and created a classroom where mistakes were just another path to learning. She took my son, who hated school by the end of first grade, to a new world in which he could be his own person, and be accepted as part of the team. He loves learning and school again, all because of his own Mary Poppins.

Aside from all of the aforementioned accomplishments, the most amazing thing about Sharon Travis is that she works magic every day and doesn't think that she does anything more than her job. I highly recommend Sharon Travis as your Hoagie's Gifted Teacher of the year. -- Susan Elder

Maureen Marshall, 2nd / 3rd Grade Discovery Gifted Program Teacher, Lakewood
Maureen Marshall has just recently retired from an amazing elementary educational career that spanned over 35 years. For the majority of her career she has been beloved to many who found their gifted children in the Lakewood City Schools Discovery Program. Mrs. Marshall made the most of the program but realized that she could do much more with the proper funding. On a yearly basis, Maureen would tirelessly apply for independent education grants that would allow her to take her gifted class on 4 to 5 field trips. Often these trips would consist of helping those in need. The Cleveland Food Bank was a big recipient of Mrs. Marshall educational generosity. In fact, through programs that she created, like the Chairs that Care Auction - where chairs are painted by her gifted students and then auctioned off for charity, Maureen was able to raise of $25,000 just in the last 4 years. One whole week of each year was devoted to teaching our gifted children the importance of outreach programs and helping in the the community. The list of accomplishments are way too long to include here, but let it be known that Mrs. Marshall has had an tremendously positive impact on countless numbers of gifted children in Northeast Ohio. -- Tony Rook

Terri Hamilton, 1st grade teacher, Richmond Elementary School
Mrs. Hamilton does a great job of organizing her class, welcoming parent volunteers and making us feel truly useful when we are in the classroom.

I felt she was not only an excellent teacher for my daughter, but to every child in the classroom. She organized a "child choice" time every morning so that the kids, with or without a parent volunteer, could choose between 5 or 6 different activities at their skill level, while she worked with a small group of kids who had similar reading levels.

She advocated for my daughter for time with the reading specialist. My daughter was ahead of the class in reading and I know there was a difference of opinion as to the reading specialist's role. The reading specialist felt that her job was to offer help to the kids that were behind, rather than to offer something extra to kids with already solid reading ability. I'm certain my daughter would not have had the opportunity to meet regularly with the reading specialist without Mrs. Hamilton's influence.

She helped my daughter to challenge herself. She had not just my daughter but every child choose their own spelling words. She encouraged my daughter to pick words that were a bit of a reach for her and of interest to my daughter. She encouraged my daughter to push herself in developing her writing skills.

Mrs. Hamilton developed a food pantry project that allowed each child to plan a menu and go shopping for food that was then donated to the local food pantry. It was a great math experience and a great social science learning experience. It taught life skills. All of us will have to eat and live within a budget someday - gifted or not.

Finally at the end of the year, and without encouragement from me, she advocated for my daughter's placement in the 3rd grade from the 1st grade. my daughter is in the 3rd grade this year and doing wonderfully well. She is excited about school and learning and is doing work that is well within her abilities.

I really could not ask for a better teacher or ask for more than we've received from Richmond Elementary. I feel they have done an outstanding job in anticipating and providing for my daughter's needs.

Sincerely, K. Dana Brown

Kimberly Garcia, 4th grade teacher, San Jose Highly Gifted Magnet
Kimberly Garcia is an AMAZING teacher. Being highly gifted herself and having gone thru the same magnet program in which she now teaches, she truly "gets" these special children. She knows how to challenge them and regularly involves them in multi-disciplinary experiential learning. She wrote the elementary school curriculum guide for the Getty Museum and regularly takes her students on field trips there. She is full of energy and truly treats each child as an individual, taking steps to meet each child's academic/social/emotional needs in a large and challenging classroom. She was a Godsend to our daughter who suddenly felt she was "normal" for the first time and it was okay to be smart and independent.

Ms. Garcia is truly deserving of this award and is a real gift to highly gifted children in the LAUSD. -- Rebekka Hosken

Brian Bauer, 5th grade teacher, East Elementary School
Brian Bauer is in his second year of teaching fifth grade at East Elementary School in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Brian does an exceptional job of providing differentiation in the area of math on a daily basis for his students. Brian demonstrates in his daily practice that all students have the capacity to learn and the right to reach their full potential. In his classroom, Brian successfully reaches out to all students and plans different lessons depending on their strengths and weaknesses. Using math compacting materials primarily, Brian assesses student understanding of concepts at the beginning of each unit of study. This provides all students, including gifted and talented students, the opportunity to work on relevant math concepts at their appropriate learning skill level. -- Georgine Erikson

Tammy Mazza, Teacher, Hicksville Middle School
Ms. Mazza has been such an insperation to me not only she has not only made my first year in middle school great. She has inspired me to be a better person. Miss mazzas lessons are so much fun you are always to attendence. Miss mazza is patient kind and has a heart big as can be. She I the best teacher I could ever of asked for. Thank-you so much! -- Kayla H.

updated December 01, 2020

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