February Partners in Education Winners

Love was in the air in February, and we love to celebrate Ohio’s hardworking students and teachers. Check out our February Partners in Education Academic All Stars and Teachers of the Month!

Our first February Academic All Star is Abeer Hajjaj. Abeer is a freshman at North Olmsted High School. She is described as caring, empathetic, and hardworking. She goes above and beyond and shows a lot of pride in her work. Katie Porter nominated Abeer and said, “Abeer is unique in that she is really caring and empathetic. We are lucky to have her in class and in our community!”

Shianne Reneau is our next Academic All Star. Shianne is in Kindergarten at L. Hollingworth School. She is described as hardworking and eager to learn. Kristen Webb nominated Shianne and said, “She is a great role model to her peers, always smiling and saying ‘Hi.’ Through this hard year, she has just made the best out of it and has not let it get her down.”

Gwynn Baker is our next February Academic All Star. Gwynn is a junior at Centerville High School. She is described as a very hard worker. Gwynn is a member of the National Honor Society and is on the Honor Roll. Along with her academics, Gwynn volunteers at her church.

Our next Academic All Star is Carter Fisher. Carter is in the first grade at Seipelt Elementary School. Carter is described as a talented, hardworking young man. He is active in various sports. He is the leading scorer on his football team and is an accomplished gymnast. Karol Warden nominated Carter and said, “Carter teaches us all that with hard work success is achieved.”

Mekhiah Ellis is a sophomore at Pickerington Central High School and is a February Academic All Star. She is very dedicated to her academics and extracurricular activities. She has a GPA above 4.0, is a member of the Chamber Chorale singers, a runner on the track team, a dancer, and a participant in various school musicals and plays. Leanne Ross nominated Mekhiah and said, “Mekhiah is a role model student in every way. [She] always has a positive attitude and is willing to help other students. Her positive attitude is contagious, and she encourages her peers to always be their best. Mekhiah is an excellent example of someone who always does the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do.”

Julia Tucker is our next Academic All Star. Julia is a freshman at Marietta Senior High School. She is dedicated to her academic achievement and is an active student athlete. She plays both basketball and softball. She also studies music, playing the piano and bells.

Matthew Gilkerson is our next February Academic All Star. He is a senior at Fairless High School. He is known for going above and beyond. Matthew assisted with technology supervision while maintaining his GPA and competing in extra-curricular activities. Larry Chambliss nominated Matthew and said, “Matthew decided a couple of years ago that he wanted to give more than receive. He set out with a few class leaders to develop a way of helping teachers and students. As an example of his effort to help his school during the pandemic crisis, he made sure any Google meets were clean, he helped live stream events throughout the period, and assisted teachers and students with our one-to-one capacity.”

Our last February Academic All Star is Lana Estok. Lana is a senior at Brunswick High School. Lana is very active in her school and community. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Huddle, Link Crew, the yearbook, and is co-captain of the girls’ varsity tennis team. Lana plans to attend The Ohio State University and study Criminology. Mark Merchant is Lana’s coach and nominated her for Academic All Star. Mark said, “Her play on the court is a direct relation to her hard work in the classroom. A leader for her teammates, she worked as a mentor to the newer and younger players to be a model of a coachable player that works hard.”

Our first February Teacher of the Month is Marybeth Russo. Marybeth teaches Kindergarten at Lander Elementary School. She is known for going above and beyond to create engaging and fun lessons for her students. She uses robots in her classroom to bring technology, coding and learning to life. She is also a teacher leader, helping to mentor younger teachers. Marybeth develops relationships with the families to help parents and students feel welcome in her class. Felecia Evans nominated Marybeth and said, “Mrs. Russo is dedicated to equity and diversity; she works hard to make sure that all students feel valued and respected in her classroom. High school seniors will come back and visit her because they remember how she made them feel when they first started on their educational journey.”

Rachel Gerwin is our next Teacher of the Month. Rachel is the College & Career Readiness Coordinator and teaches Computer at L. Hollingworth School. She is described as a wonderful role model who is always smiling. Kristen Webb nominated Rachel and said, “She already takes an extremely hard year and has been nothing but positive and exceeding the bar. She has found numerous resources to help students in various ways. For example, finding free computers and tutoring struggling students.”

Sybil Koenig is our next Teacher of the Month. Sybil teaches third grade English Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies at Botkins Local School. Her nominator said, “Sybil is an outstanding teacher and an even better person. She cares deeply about her students, goes above and beyond to meet their educational needs and is a champion for kids. Her classroom is a student centered, learning friendly environment where students excel at academics.”

Kristen Schlemmer-Wilson is an eighth grade Intervention Specialist at Delhi Middle School and is a February Teacher of the Month. She is also the eighth-grade team lead. Kristen is known to be the first to volunteer and help out whenever needed. Siobhan Goble nominated Kristen and said, “She gets to know each of her students, and most others, on a personal level so that she may connect and better help them with unique situations. Always professional and a great friend.”

Our next Teacher of the Month is Denny Hammond. Denny teaches Algebra at Adena High School. He is known for being innovative in the classroom and meeting individual needs. Tara Mess nominated Denny and said, “He uses technology as often and in as many ways as he can to try to keep the kids engaged. He provides the students with guided notes to help them stay focused while not becoming overwhelmed. He is very good at providing the students with lots of examples and individual help when needed.”

Natalie Pankratz is our next February Teacher of the Month. She teaches third grade at Morrison-Gordon Elementary School. Natalie took on the role of full-time online teacher this school year. Joel and Alicia Porter have a child in Natalie’s class and nominated her for Teacher of the Month. They said, “Everyday is a lively and positive interaction with the students. She always has a smile on her face and is genuinely excited to see her students each morning. Our daughter has had a fantastic year.”

Greg Wiggs is our next Teacher of the Month. He is an Intervention Specialist for all grades at Sandy Valley High School. Ryan White works with Greg and said, “Greg understands the importance of building rapport with the kids, which has been even more significant in a challenging year. His attention to detail, professionalism, his sense of humor, and his big heart stand out and I am glad to have the opportunity to work with him!”

Erin Smith is another Teacher of the Month. Erin teaches third grade at Central Elementary School. Molly Salem has a child in Erin’s class and said, “Mrs. Smith has gone above and beyond during this unique hybrid learning experience. [She] presents lessons so clearly that my son is excelling under her teaching style.”

Our last February Teacher of the Month is Kristen Mayher. Kristen teaches third grade English Language Arts at Prospect Elementary School. She is described as “the most effective, most committed, and most motivating teacher.” Jessica Barwacz nominated Kristen and said, “Kristen maintains a positive classroom culture by showing a genuine interest in her students’ lives. She engages with them on a daily basis and truly gets to know them. Kristen is committed to fostering a dynamic, passionate learning environment where every child is valued, challenged, loved and nurtured.”

Congratulations to all of our February Partners in Education winners! You can nominate an outstanding student or teacher for Academic All Star and Teacher of the Month online by Clicking Here. Nominations are due by 5:00 p.m. on the 10th of every month.
Posted: 3/15/2021 3:00:00 PM

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