MRH Names Teachers of the Year
None of them saw it coming.
Four talented educators got surprise in-class visits today by MRH Superintendent of Schools Karen Hall, as well as their respective principals, as the district unveiled its Teachers of the Year.
At the Early Childhood Center, the honor went to Katie Nauman. Her principal, Dr. Cyndi Hebenstreit, said, "Katie is a teacher who is committed to understanding children’s ideas and celebrating their wonderings. She believes in the importance of the environment as the third teacher and strives to create spaces that allow children to leave their imprint. Children and colleagues benefit from her strong organization, excellent follow through, and deep knowledge of constructivist practices. Katie’s commitment to the ECC community is acknowledged and has made the ECC a better place for all."
In presenting the Elementary School award to Layne Thompson, Dr. Jason Adams, principal, called Thompson "courageous, passionate and dedicated." He added, "As a teacher leader, Layne assumes leadership for the K-6 Reading Curriculum Action Team and actively participates in curriculum development for reading, writing, and social studies. She also works to co-facilitate the Literacy Training for teachers new to MRH. In addition, Layne was an early adopter of Restorative Practices and instrumental in MRHE being named a Missouri School of Character."
MRH Middle School teacher Carla Pezzani-Rovira was also selected for the award. In his nominating letter, Principal Mike Dittrich wrote "Whether it is advocating for students academically, supporting their social and emotional needs in the classroom, or being a volunteer sponsor for our new LGBTQ+ club, Mrs. Pezzani-Rovira strives to make sure all students have a voice or serves as their voice when they do not know how to advocate for themselves. She sees it as her own personal mission to ensure the success of each teacher in the building. Carla is always pushing herself and her colleagues to be innovative, make connections to standards, and is continuously asking herself questions on how to make sure she is providing the richest and most beneficial instructional experiences in her classroom."
The final recipient actually received two awards. Math teacher and coach Joe Spinks was named High School Teacher of the Year and All-District Teacher of the Year. Several of his student-athletes were on hand with glowing praise and hugs for Spinks, whom principal Dr. Kevin Grawer described as intense, driven, focused and hilarious.
"To enter his classroom is to enter a movie scene in which the teacher is a skilled mathematician who performs a non-stop show of work, practice, one liners, review and discovery," said Dr. Grawer. "It is entertaining and enlightening to see Mr. Spinks in action. I find myself in the back of his room laughing and learning. The pace is relentless and slows down at times for kids to work quietly. And they do work in silence. Then, Mr. Spinks grabs their attention and gets after it again. Joe Spinks never shortchanges a minute of his class. His kids get his full attention and he gives them theirs."
Spinks will next be honored by the Mid-County Chamber of Commerce as their Teacher of the Year. And in November, he'll be feted at the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Awards at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Clayton.
For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.