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Top Teacher Award Nominations 2012

Metro Parent asked southeast Michigan parents to tell us which teachers have made a difference in your child's life. Check out all the 2012 nominees and see what moms and dads had to say!

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Tammy Duffield

Brownell Middle School, Grosse Pointe Farms

"Mrs. Duffield has boundless passion and energy for teaching middle schoolers English and writing. She always has a fun activity to draw the students into the material that she is teaching, and her love and passion for reading and writing is contagious! The children that she teaches are always amazed at their own progress and learning."

– Jane, Grosse Pointe Farms

Jennifer Kopp

Salem High School, Canton

"I'd like to nominate Mrs. Kopp because she did so much for so many people, and still does. She is a truly genuine person and teacher, with adorably funny quirks and surprising talents/interests that make her even easier for high schoolers to talk to. Mrs. Kopp is quite obviously passionate about music of all types, and can relate to much of what her students listen to, in addition to exposing them to choral music and actually learning to read and write sheet music. She goes out of her way to help you, is very friendly and approachable, and a true inspiration in how she conducts not only her students, but her life. I'm happy to say that ever since I graduated, we've kept in touch online, and even just seeing Facebook statuses she posts help brighten my days."

– Laura, Canton

James Fisher

Ferry Elementary, Grosse Pointe Woods

"Over the past two weeks, 24 fourth and fifth graders have been running a new country on a newly discovered island. They established a government, a currency, designed a flag, wrote a constitution and developed business to line Fisher Way. This was after traveling back several hundred years to Native American times, when they built wigwams. Fisher Island was the creation of James Fisher, one of the best teachers in the metro Detroit area. The island was one of the many ideas he has to get his students excited about school. His sense of humor brightens the classroom. He teaches the students in a fun way and plans outside of the box in order to go past the normal student experience. He develops creative ideas, such as Fisher Island and the Native American tribe, and puts them into action. Every fourth and fifth grader in his class thinks he makes school fun and enjoyable. Most of the time we don't even realize we are learning. Mr. Fisher believes in sticking to the curriculum, but allowing us to use our own intricate brains to explore topics and ideas. We master the concepts quickly, and we can't wait to see what Mr. Fisher has ready for us next. If any teacher deserves the Teacher of the Year award, it has to be Mr. Fisher. His love of teaching is astonishing and our love for him is unstoppable."

– Fisher fifth graders, Grosse Pointe Woods

Colleen Byrne

Bennie Elementary, Allen Park

"Mrs. Byrne is an AWESOME first grade teacher. She understands every child's needs. She works with a child at their level and does not rush them until they are ready to move on. Not only is she caring and loving to each child, but she the most kind-hearted individual I know. My son comes home from school every day with a smile on his face because she takes the time to let every child know they are special. My son has never appreciated school as much as he does until he met his first grade teacher. She makes things FUN and teaches every student that nothing is BORING and if you need help, she will help until you understand. I never met a teacher that is so spontaneous and SPUNKY as her. As much as she would appreciate an award, nothing would be better to her than the smile on a child face knowing they accomplished something they couldn't do and believed in themselves more than anything. This is why Mrs. Byrne should have the teachers award!"

– Cameron, Taylor

Kimberly Vrooman

Cleveland Elementary, Livonia

"I would like to nominate Mrs. Vrooman, my first grade teacher, because I like that she has a class store called V-Mart. The store helps teach our class about math. You get money throughout the week for rewards because we do our homework. On Fridays, we make a pile of bags and she tells us how much money we have all together. She has cool things in there like addition and subtraction books, erasers, pencils, tops, buckets, paper and stuffed animals. She puts price tags on them too. If we don't have our own snacks, she has snacks in her room. She has graham crackers or animal crackers. She reads us cool books and has two baskets of those books. One is labeled 'Great Books that Mrs. Vrooman Reads to Us.' She is a good teacher. All the kids like her."

– Brendan, Livonia

Beth Shaum

St. Paul Catholic School, Grosse Pointe Farms

"I would like to nominate Mrs. Shaum because of her enthusiasm and creativity in teaching, especially in her literature class. Earlier this year, her sixth graders Skyped a children's book illustrator. She encourages her students to attend author lectures via emails to parents. For example, on winter break, she let parents know about the Feb. 28, Newbery-winning author Christopher Paul Curtis visited Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor. She has created amazing literature circles with blog posts for her students. Both my boys have had Mrs. Shaum. Please consider her for the Top Teacher Award."

– Patti, Groose Pointe Farms

"Mrs. Shaum is a sixth grade teacher who specializes in reading. She has a love for reading that is so infectious it spills over to the kids. She fills her room with books that she has hand-selected and purchased. They are available for the kids to borrow, bring home and return when they are finished. Mrs. Shaum brings authors into the classroom and updates her students with author visits in our surrounding communities. She runs her classroom with quiet motivation and her students respond beautifully. She has opened our daughter's eyes to the fun of reading. I would strongly recommend Beth Shaum for the southeast Michigan Top Teacher Award for 2012."

– Julie, Grosse Pointe Park

Linda Guenzel

Isbister Elementary School, Plymouth

"This teacher is beyond wonderful. She is a great teacher, but beyond that, she has a heart of gold. She has taught both of my sons. One being an 'A' student, and one that struggles with his grades. Not only was she wonderful to both of them, but she took my younger son (who has OCD) under her wing, and his grades and self confidence have improved dramatically. I can't tell you how much this has changed our life in this home. My son is excited about learning for one of the first times in his life. I look forward to my daughter (hopefully) having her next year. Please consider Mrs. Guenzel for this award. She is top-notch!"

– Donna, Plymouth

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May 9, 2012 12:40 pm
 Posted by  Kristina

My son Jaxon is currently in Mrs. Ricci's Kindergarten classroom. She is so loving and patient. She challenges her children and keeps them moving forward. She works with each child at there level and keeps them moving forward. She inspires them to learn and to love learning. My son just loves her!

May 22, 2012 11:56 pm
 Posted by  looghe

My son had Wayne Janda for 3rd grade at Pinewood, he has got to be the best teacher he has had so far. His grades were great he excelled in math. I could not have asked for a better teacher. He is one of those
teachers who makes learning exciting and fun. If a child was having a hard time he goes the extra mile to help.

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