April Partners in Education Winners

We welcomed Spring last month, and Ohio’s students and teachers are hard at work preparing for the end of the school year. We’re celebrating their hard work today by recognizing our April Partners in Education Academic All Stars and Teachers of the Month!

Our first Academic All Star is Emily Shijo. Emily is a junior at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School. She is known for her “many positive qualities, including an excellent work ethic, an interest in learning, and an overall enthusiastic view of school.” Emily was nominated by Sean Brennan, who teaches her in his American Legal System class. He said, “She comes to class each day full of enthusiasm that has a positive impact on everyone in the room. Her responses and questions often take the class to a higher level of learning than was intended. Her grades are among the top in the course.”

Ian Cowan is our next Academic All Star. Ian is a senior at Van Wert High School. He is known as a selfless student who is always positive. He is also known for being a leader on the school’s football team that won the 2020 Division IV State Championship. Bob Priest nominated Ian and said, “He is such a tremendous person who is quiet and has an inner determination that is unbelievable.” Ian enlisted in the Ohio National Guard. Upon completion of his service with the Guard, he plans on pursuing a degree in Elementary Education.

Carter Dennis is a senior at River High School and is an April Academic All Star. He is described as “a true leader in the school and on the athletic field.” Carter is the first student-athlete in his school’s district to be named 1st Team All Ohio for football. He is also a member of the baseball team. In the classroom, Carter in enrolled in college preparatory classes and college credit plus courses.

Lily Blitzer is our next Academic All Star. Lily is in the fifth grade at Lee Eaton Elementary School. She has been attending school virtually this year, and her teacher Bethany Payne nominated her as an April Academic All Star. Bethany said, “Lily is an exceptional student who ‘shows up’ every single day. She keeps pushing herself to be better than the day before. She chooses to learn and engage with her peers and teachers and thirsts for new knowledge. She asks questions for understanding and clarity. She is taking on one of the toughest school years ever, and she is doing it with grace and pride.”

Our next April Academic All Star is Gianna Merlo. Gianna is a senior at Howland High School. She is known for being a role model who dedicates her time to academics and volunteering. She was recently named one of Trumbull County’s “Twenty Under 20” for her leadership skills through volunteering, extracurriculars, and academic achievements. Academically, Gianna carries a 4.4 grade point average while balancing Honors, AP, and dual-credit courses. She serves as Treasurer of National Honors Society, Senior Class Treasurer, president of Italian Club, president of Environmental Club and student leader in Interact and Pep clubs. Gianna also shines as a student athlete. She is Captain of the Girls Varsity Soccer and Track teams. Michelle Merlo nominated Gianna and said, “Her values, work ethic and selfless acts that support others inspires me.”

Lauren Visci is our next Academic All Star. Lauren is a senior at Perkins High School. She is known for excelling academically and as a student athlete. She is currently ranked first in her class. Lauren is also a member of the school’s Varsity Cheer Squad, Golf Team and Swim Team. Ashlie Gowitzka nominated Lauren and said, “She is an extremely bright student with the work ethic to match. She has taken all of our most rigorous courses and has maintained consistently high grades in all of them.”

Our last April Academic All Star is Jim Elam. Jim is a freshman at Sycamore High School. He is known as “an excellent role model.” Jim is an accomplished student athlete who also dedicates time to volunteering. He is a gymnastics tumbler and swimmer, and he just finished the American Red Cross Life Guarding course where he was first in his class. Karol Warden nominated Jim and said, “Jim is as nice as he can be, and the epitome of a freshman determined to be successful in life.”

Our first Teacher of the Month is Amy Cain. Amy teaches seventh and eighth grade Science at Kirk Middle School. Though she is new to the school, she is known for bringing creative and innovative ways to teaching. Monique Ceasor nominated Amy and said, “She challenges students to make connections to what they learn in class to real life. She also has high expectations of her students and provides support by modeling and demonstrating patience to her students. [She] works collaboratively with other teachers and administration to plan lessons and activities to make the middle school experience educationally sound and fun all at the same time. We are happy to call her part of the East Cleveland City School family!”

Eric Leuthold is our next Teacher of the Month. Eric teaches ninth grade Special Education English, History and Science. Brenda Frankart nominated Eric and said, “I am so impressed with the level of learning and accomplishments his freshman special education students have been able to achieve this year. I have been continually impressed with [the students’] levels of critical thinking, understanding, applications to the topics in the real world, as well as their collaboration and use of technology. He makes the topics exciting, and the students are accomplishing so much!”

Michelle Wroda teaches Math at Sidney City School and is our next Teacher of the Month. She is described as “caring and fun, kind and down to earth.” Thomas Wolaver nominated Michelle and said, “Michelle always goes above and beyond what is expected of her. She is beyond willing to work with the students who are struggling as well as being open to communicate with their parents. She gives extra time to those who need it. She strives to make learning as enjoyable and practicable as she can.”

Our next April Teacher of the Month is Lindsay LaRoche. Lindsay teaches ninth grade History at Western Hills High School. She is described as a “super talented teacher.” Karen Adams nominated Lindsay and said, “All her students love her and her courses. Somehow, she manages to connect all this history to present-day situations and ties her content to her students’ lives now. Her classes are so interesting and engaging, we are all joyfully learning effortlessly, even while remote. The best kind of learning!”

Ashley Cradlebraugh is our next April Teacher of the Month. Ashley teaches second grade at Walnut Elementary School. She is described as an incredible educator. Greg Kovack nominated Ashley and said, “She is a leader withing our building, using technology and developing hands-on lessons. She meets with her students during planning and lunch times and communicates with parents daily.”

Becky Hall is our next Teacher of the Month. Becky teaches twelfth grade English and College Credit Plus English at River High School. Along with her classroom duties, she is a teacher-leader and serves on the River High School Building Leadership Team. Ed Trionoff nominated Becky and said, “Becky Hall is the consummate professional. She takes her work very seriously and ensures her students are prepared for college once they leave her classroom.”

Hope Morrison teaches third grade at Brimfield Elementary School and is an April Teacher of the Month. She is known for always having a smile and kind word. Kari Walchalk has a child in Hope’s class and nominated her for Teacher of the Month. Kari said, “Hope Morrison stands out […] because of her tireless efforts to keep learning personal even during this difficult time. Hope offers students the opportunity to stretch themselves academically and personally with enrichment opportunities and leadership roles in the classroom. Students can also test into enrichment lessons beyond the traditional curriculum, which promotes student meta cognition and drive to grow. Hope adds that personal touch to an already outstanding family feeling at Field Local Schools.”

Jenna Agnone is our next Teacher of the Month. Jenna is a seventh grade Intervention Specialist at Struthers Middle School. She is known for her enthusiasm in the classroom and how much she cares for her students. Amanda McNinch nominated Jenna and said, “Jenna works tirelessly with her students who benefit from specially designed instruction. By partnering with her co-teaching colleagues, administrators, parents and colleagues, Jenna finds the time and energy to support students to do their best work. By identifying and delivering different types of instruction and motivation to groups of children or individuals one-on-one, Jenna uses a tremendous amount of skill and intuition. Kids who get to work with Jenna have no doubt how much she cares about them and their learning.”

Our last Teacher of the Month is Pamela Waltenbaugh. Pamela teaches Chemistry for grades nine through twelve at Cloverleaf High School. Jamie Lormeau nominated Pamela and said, “[She] is one of the most gifted educators I have known in my 28-year career. Not only is she highly knowledgeable in the area of pedagogy and her content area, but she is especially talented at creating a classroom environment where even the most reluctant students want to learn and do well. Hers is a rare gift – the teacher that can be demanding yet warm, hold high expectation, yet build confidence among the students that they can reach them. She is an obvious choice for this recognition.”

Congratulations to all of our April 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: 5/11/2021 3:00:00 PM

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