The Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, Chugiak-Eagle River Community Foundation and the Eagle River Area Rotary Club hosted the Annual Excellence in Education Awards dinner on Tuesday March 28. The dinner is held to recognize an outstanding educator from each of the 12 public schools in our area. We are proud of the commitment of the educational professionals in these schools who bring a high quality of education to our community.
Listed below is each of the honored educators with a snippet from their nomination and introduction information read Tues., March 28, at the education awards dinner held at the Bill Stoltze Dining Hall at the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center.
Alpenglow Elementary: Michelle Jerome
“To say that Michelle Jerome should be recognized for her outstanding work and dedication to the Alpenglow community is an understatement. She has dedicated her skills to the students, families, and staff for nine years. Her service to the Alpenglow community has far exceeded the requirements of the job. Jerome has demonstrated time and time again that she is passionate about teaching and improving students’ academic, social, and emotional success. She is one of those rare teachers who take the extra effort to make sure all her students’ needs are met.”
Birchwood Elementary: Mary Huls
“Mary is a dedicated Special Education teacher assistant with 20 years of service to the Anchorage School District. A Special Education teaching assistant wears many hats throughout the day as their roles and responsibilities vary depending upon the needs of their students. Her peers describe her ability to exhibit a positive attitude, initiative in solving problems, and a calm demeanor; she demonstrates optimism, hope, tenacity, tolerance, humility, and perseverance. Her positive attitude shines through even when facing difficult situations.”
Chugiak Elementary : Beth Senchantixay
“The kind, compassionate, thoughtful, and thorough approach she brings to her teaching, partnered with the grace and kindness she uses when cultivating positive relationships with students and families make Beth stand out as an outstanding educator. Beth’s positivity is contagious; she has a unique and meaningful connection with every student, staff member, or parent she works with; and her expertise her field is remarkable. This year, Beth has managed a very large class with many unique and challenging needs. She made a concerted effort to make a deep and meaningful connection with each student—getting to know their personal interests, about their families, and what their dreams are.”
Chugiak High School: Stephanie Thornton
“She is head of our World Discover Seminar Program. Students gain the most from Stephanie’s dedication. She and her team have created a safe place at Chugiak for students who want to discuss issues and spread a tolerant world view. She organizes field trips to build camaraderie and to model peer mentorship as older students welcome younger students. As new teachers join the program, Stephanie trains them and hosts retreats for the teacher team to help them deliver the most effective instruction.”
Eagle Academy Charter School: Stacey Moncur
“Stacey is enthusiastic and creative in her approach to teaching. She changes her voice, accent and speed of delivery to keep student interest. Each student knows they are valued, appreciated, their opinions matter, and they are loved. Additionally, everyone in the classroom knows it is a safe place for children to express ideas and volunteer answers without fear of repercussion. When asked what she loves most about teaching, Stacey responds, “Kids!” She loves seeing their faces when they ‘get it’ and seeing them grow throughout the year. Stacey is a teacher who inspires excellence and encourages her students to shine brightly.”
Eagle River Elementary: Deni McCloud
“Deni is a master teacher who exudes passion for educating young minds. When report card time arrives, Deni is the teacher who composes thoughtful narratives for the comments that follow work habits. She is the type of teacher who is able to beautifully deliver material in an exciting, engaging, and creative way. Her passion for igniting student’s interest in learning is palpable. She works tirelessly to support students at every level and in each subject. When Deni was asked what she liked most about the world of teaching, she beamed and glowingly replied, “I love my kids. I love to see the spark when they get it. When they figure out something we’ve been working on and they find the answer it’s an awesome reward.”
Eagle River High School: Chief Master Sgt Bill McNew
“Chief is a natural organizer and along with his co-instructor, Col Ennis, he has built a highly recognizable AF JROTC program, one that students are proud to be a part of and one that is now woven into almost every facet of the school’s operation. Behind each color guard, leadership camp, drill competition, campus cleanup, lock-in, awards ceremony, or canned food drive with the organizational know-how of Chief. He steps in to help organize events, when other organizers had to step aside: Veteran’s Day Luncheon, Cookie Drive to support the troops, door greeters, helping in the parking lot – he has the air of “We’ll make it happen”.”
Fire Lake Elementary: Kara Freeborn
“Mrs. Freeborn does an excellent job of differentiating her instruction for each of her students. She builds strong connections with her students, parents and outside agencies who support her students. A coworker states, “Her breadth of knowledge of different curricula has made her invaluable in the success of her students.” Her attention to detail and data keeping is exemplary.”
Gruening Middle School: Katelyn Barringer
“In her three short years at Gruening, Ms. Barringer has earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues in how she teaches. Her passions include world travel, tying into the 7th-grade curriculum of world geography. Her students have the utmost respect for her and how she runs her class. Students are engaged in the subject matter, are learning valuable information about the world community in which they live, and they have fun doing it. Barringer also teaches “Mysteries of History,” where students look at unique events and time periods in history. Taught with a hands-on approach, independently, or partner-based research projects, this is a popular class.”
Homestead Elementary : Joan Eliassen
She has served the staff and students of ASD for 18 years and has been school nurse at Homestead for the past 12 years. Eliassen goes well beyond the anticipated care of students by involving herself in the Lions’ Club Eye Screening program, assuring that every child has an eye exam and glasses if needed. She also organizes an annual flu vaccination clinic while caring for everyday issues of student health. Eliassen works with parents for the welfare of children while assuring a smooth transition between home and school as related to issues of health and wellness. She serves on the school safety committee, assists office staff, responds to questions and needs, and always displays an attitude of appreciation for those with whom she works.”
Mirror Lake Middle School: Wayne Goetz
“Mr. Goetz always offers his support and resources to teachers across content areas, espousing the belief that nurturing growth of our students is a collaborate effort. Mr. Goetz is very dedicated to helping students and differentiating to make individual needs is a fundamental part of his teaching paradigm.”
Ravenwood Elementary: Holly Beebe
“Holly deserves this award because she is extraordinary and exemplary in everything she accomplishes. She has served as volunteer, kindergarten teacher assistance, and noon supervisor for over 15 years. She is kind, compassionate, responsible, task-oriented, efficient and always goes the extra ‘smile’ to assist staff and students. Holly has a calm demeanor, a wealth of patience, and displays a warm smile and sparkle in her eyes. Her disposition is forever uplifting and encouraging to students and adults. She is approachable, with a gentle spirit, and encourages students she engages whether in the classroom, on the playground or in the MPR during lunch.”
Principals at each of the twelve public schools selected the individual whom they believe to be most inspiring at their schools to receive the 2017 Excellence in Education Award.
“The Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber, along with the Chugiak-Eagle River Foundation, Eagle River Area Rotary Club, and BP are pleased to recognize these educators who bring their time, talent and energy to the youth in our schools. The dedication to excellence helps shape the next generation of Alaskan citizens,” Dana Thorp Patterson, executive director of the Chugiak Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, said. “We want to thank the schools and their leaders, and the sponsors of these awards for their support of these educators.”
Editor’s Note: The ECHO News wishes to extend its sincere congratulations to these honored teachers and our gratitude to all teachers for the dedication they give to local students every day.