The Reynoldsburg Board of Education recently honored 57 teachers as 2017 Raider Fellows for going "above and beyond the call of duty" to make a significant impact on students and the community.
Superintendent Tina-Thomas Manning had tears in her eyes at the April 18 school board meeting after watching a video of students talking about their teachers and holding up signs bearing one-word descriptions of their teachers: awesome, nice, kind, helpful, passionate and extraordinary.
"I've seen this video quite a few times and still can barely get through it without tears," Thomas-Manning said.
Her voice broke as she spoke about the teachers.
"These people behind me don't take praise very well, so it is up to us to praise them," she said.
This is the third year the district has presented Raider Fellowship Awards, which include a mounted, crystal plaque and a check for $3,900 to each teacher.
"We pride ourselves on providing the children of our community the best-quality education possible," Thomas-Manning said. "The recipients of the Raider Fellowship Award have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make an impact not only on their students' education, but their lives."
Criteria for the award include recognizing teachers who have served students in an "expanded" role, or in "nontraditional" and "hard-to-fill" roles.
All three describe teachers who have demonstrated high-impact work that benefits students beyond the classroom, redesigned educator roles or accepted and succeeded in difficult assignments, Thomas-Manning said.
She said the district has awarded more than $1 million in Raider Fellowships since the program began three years ago.
One of this year's award recipients, intervention specialist Kathy Ewing, was honored for high impact in an expanded role because she held a prom for special-needs students and invited students with disabilities from other districts to participate.
Ewing arranged the location for the dance, transportation, food, supervision and other facets, said district Director of Communications Valerie Wunder.
Board member Debbie Dunlap said the video of students praising their teachers also left her in tears, partly because her firstborn son will be graduating soon.
"So many teachers and staff members have played such an important role in his life," she wrote on her school board Facebook page. "Congratulations to all teachers who are cool, scien-terrific and relatable. Thank you for being a partner with me in my child's life."
Teachers who received awards were Lorraine Gaughenbaugh, Debra Flaherty, Tammy Groezinger, Kathryn Thompson, Taylor Lang and Heidi Leeds from Summit Road Elementary School; Dawn Malo, Nicholas Twyman, Carol Kohs and Anne Jumper from Slate Ridge; Lori Noskowiak, Kayla Hamlin and Caitlin Almodovar from French Run; Janet Benedict, Jenifer King, Kristina Calkins, Mindy Martin and Laura Wills from Taylor Road; and Ian Davis, Angela Forino and Caroline Rittenour from Herbert Mills.
Also receiving the awards were Melissa Pope from Rose Hill; Carmen Adkins, Mia Brower, Angie Griffin, Tracy Macedonia, Christina Watts and Mary Ellen Weeks in district roles; Aimee Babb, Shauna Crim, Nicole Ford, Hunter Haswell, Heather Keane, Tara Rahm, Austin Walsh and Dakia Washington from Hannah Ashton Middle School; Andrew Boan and Katherine Demchak from Waggoner Road Middle School; and Paul Drake, Mawdo Fall, Matthew Fetrow, Thomas Smith, Bridget Wilson and Sarah Zinsser from Waggoner Road Junior High School.
Anna Levina, Jim Coley, Andrea Callicoat, Joseph Griffith and Steven Ridgway from eSTEM Academy also were named Raider Fellows, as were January Murgatroyd from Encore Academy; Kellie Gedert, Kathy Ewing and Joseph Sorenson from (HS)2 Academy; and Susan Borthwich, Briana Johnson and Carmen Robinson from BELL Academy.