Positive Promotions Announces the Winners of the 2011 Teacher of the Year Award

Positive Promotions recognizes educators who go above and beyond to make their schools outstanding places to learn with its "I Make A Difference" Teacher Awards Program. We proudly announce the 2011 recipients as some of the best teachers nationwide.
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March 22, 2012 - PRLog -- Positive Promotions announces its annual “I Make A Difference” Teacher of the Year Award winners. The “I Make A Difference” awards program was created to honor educators fostering positive learning environments across America. Positive Promotions invited all schools and communities to nominate one teacher for this special award that exemplified excellence in teaching and provided inspiration to their peers. Each nominee was acknowledged with a Teacher of the Year pin and was eligible to be a regional winner. A panel of educators selected 8 winners from 4 regions to receive additional prizes, including $500 and $250 as a cash donation in his or her name to the school or PTA.

Education is the underpinning force for success. Teachers are responsible for building the foundation of our youth to produce academic success, develop good character, and lead our society into the future. The Teacher of the Year Awards was established to give credit to those educators who go above and beyond to make their schools outstanding places, not only for students, but for parents and colleagues as well. Although not an easy decision to make among the deserving nominees, this year’s winners set new standards in education, leaving a mark on their communities and instilling the love of learning in students through dedication and creative teaching techniques.  

Positive Promotions invites you to nominate a teacher for the 2012 “I Make A Difference” Award. Nominated teachers will receive an exclusive recognition gift and a chance to win a cash donation to your school or PTA in their name. Nomination forms will be available shortly before Teacher and Staff Appreciation week, May 7-11, 2012.

The 2011 “I Make A Difference” Teacher of the Year Awards went to:


FIRST PLACE: Charlotte Lusk - Mullens Elementary, Mullens, WV
Charlotte sparks a passion for learning in her students and her fourth graders thrive.  Her classroom is rich with opportunities and experiences as she enhances curriculum with textbook-related activities, such as geometric scavenger hunts, and by utilizing technology to make schoolwork more engaging.  Charlotte comes to work early, stays late, and even takes home work home.  She is active in her school’s Spelling Bee and School of Excellence Committee and serves as a supervisor for student teachers.  “[Charlotte] is a leader and role model who has enriched and inspired the lives of many children, parents, and colleagues,” said her co-worker Sandra Rose.

SECOND PLACE: Charlie Smith – A.W. Coolidge Middle School, Reading, MA
Learning about math with Charlie is fun.  For 32 years, he has gotten students excited about math each day of the school year.  An energetic educator, Charlie holds special theme days, such as Greek Day and Charlie Brown Day, to explain math concepts.  And Charlie always takes the time necessary to ensure that his students are successful, whether it means staying after school, working through the summer, or allowing students a second chance to take a test.  Charlie further shows he cares about students by going to school dances and on field trips.  “He’s an inspiration to all of us,” said a former student of Charlie’s who is now his co-worker.  “He loves to come to school every day.”


FIRST PLACE: Amy Wasinger – O’Loughlin Elementary School, Hays, KS
As a second- and third-grade teacher, Amy’s positive attitude and strong leadership benefit her students and entire school.  She makes curriculum accessible for the highest achievers, those who need extra assistance, and everyone else.  Amy has enhanced the learning process by volunteering her time to organize, research, and test technology upgrades, resulting in the installation of interactive whiteboards.  Amy also is on the PTA board.  “[Amy] is truly the top 10 percent of teachers I have worked with,” said her nominator, Principal Nancy Harman.  “She continues to model what is best practice for all educators and is making a difference in the classroom each day.”

SECOND PLACE: Barbara Davitt – West Lake Elementary School, Daly City – CA
In her 23rd year of teaching, Barbara “has all of the characteristics that make a great teacher; she is caring, loving, patient, enthusiastic, and attentive,” said her nominator, Tracy Kinahan, a parent of a former student.  Barbara plans classroom activities that are worthwhile for students at various levels of ability.  One example is a project where her students observe the life cycle of a butterfly and then, when full grown, release the butterflies outside.  An active participant in its PTA, she has helped organize fundraisers and other events, and also has worked to convey the importance of teachers.  Barbara even inspired others to become more invested in the school, including her nominator who decided to join the PTA.  


FIRST PLACE: Lois Lewis – Indus School, Birchdale, MN
Lois enriched the lives of many students at Indus, not just those in her 7th-12th grade family consumer science classes.  She secured funding that provided preschool through 6th grade students with fresh fruit and vegetable snacks.  Lois also is advisor for the speech team and student council.  Lois introduced an elective that blends classroom learning with mentored work experience.  The program , ProStart, gives students a chance to explore career opportunities, apply for college scholarships, and gain skills needed to manage a food service operation.  “Mrs. Lewis sets her standards high for both her students and her peers,” said her nominator.  “She has made a difference at Indus School.”

SECOND PLACE: Kristen Rickman – Henry Ford Elementary, Ypsilanti, MI
Kristen, a Title 1 teacher, has been influential in fostering the love of reading.  Under her guidance, attendance at Family Literacy Night has more than tripled and has attracted a wider section of the student body.  To guarantee that reading is fun, Kristen develops themes such as “Fall Into Reading” in September and “Read With Santa” in December.  Kristen also has planned back-to-school picnics, organized a Cinco de Mayo celebration to recognize the school district’s growing Hispanic population, and advocated for a new remediation program that addresses the needs of students who require assistance.  “Kristen is enthusiastic and goes the extra mile to make sure all students are successful,” said Principal Renee Smith.  


FIRST PLACE: Meggen Calderwood – Leland Middle School, Leland NC
After only two years at Leland, Meggen has received rave reviews from colleagues, parents, and students.  A communication skills teacher, she sets a great example for peers by how she brings out the best in students.  Her efforts also have provided her peers with tools necessary to better educate students. Parents know that Meggen spends extra time tutoring and eats lunch in her room so students can join her.  She uses a variety of teaching methods to ensure that students understand the material.  And she introduces concepts in such a way that students exceed expectations, said one student who participated in the nomination.  “Mrs. Calderwood is the best teacher I’ve ever had, without the slightest bit of doubt,” the student wrote.

SECOND PLACE: Stacey Strell – Bonita Springs Carter School, Bonita Springs, FL
In addition to being its middle school art teacher, Stacey is the advisor for both the Middle School Student Government and the Peer Counseling Program.  She also is a member of the Leadership Team and the Middle School Celebratory Committee, among other groups.  No matter the endeavor, Stacey accomplishes it with initiative and a positive attitude, said office manager Donna Estelle.  In the classroom, Stacey has an excellent rapport with students.  “Her ability to connect with her students and her talent for teaching are both superior,” Donna said.  Stacey also has a good relationship with her fellow teachers and always follows through on projects to ensure that they get done.
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