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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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Mary Johnson

Bruce Collins Elementary, Sterling Heights

"Her unique skills and vast experience in early childhood development were instrumental in my formative years. Mrs. Johnson provided me with skills that enabled me to transform from a quiet child with limited social skills to become a well-rounded and independent young woman that can handle any social situation. From Mrs. Johnson, I also learned how to use the computer. In learning this valuable piece of information, I am able to adapt with today's modern technology. Mrs. Johnson's caring and nurturing style of working with children has left a profound and deep impression on me that I will never forget."

– Julie, Howell

Ms. Witte

St. Peter's Lutheran School, Eastpointe

"As a current teacher myself, I know how hard it is to connect to students on a daily basis. Ms. Witte is a secnd-grade teacher that is dedicated to her students/classroom and makes connections with her students that will last a lifetime. My daughter Alexandria has blossomed in Ms. Witte's classroom. She was a shy and quiet student in the beginning of the school year, but now has gained confidence, poise and determination to complete her work to her fullest potential. Also, Ms. Witte takes each student into account by gaining as much information about the students (as possible), as well. She will ask questions of each student and provide the students with multiple opportunities to bring in their culture, ideas and likes into a project. Ms. Witte has a love for sled dogs; she has brought her sled dogs to the classroom so the students can learn about the dog sport. Also, she has the kids track the Iditarod race throughout the race time period. Then, Ms. Witte brings her dogs and sled to the school, so the kids can ride on the sled while the dogs pull it through the snow. This is a teacher that is dedicated to her students by providing high-quality instruction, as well as providing the students with an enriched curriculum that brings new interest and knowledge amongst the students. My daughter will remember Ms. Witte throughout her lifetime as being patient, kind and a teacher who cared about every child in her classroom."

– Kelli, St. Clair

Wayne Janda

Briarwood Elementary, Warren

"Mr. Janda is very dedicated and loves his students. Sometimes, he is still at school until 8:30 p.m. after all the other teachers have gone home. The students in his class really respond to him and his teaching methods; they are having fun and learning at the same time. Mr. Janda deserves a moment to shine!"

– Denise, Warren

"Mr. Janda is one of the best teacher's I've ever met! He is currently my daughter Molly's second grade teacher. Mr. Janda has an infectious enthusiasm for teaching. His positive attitude coupled with his ability to connect with the students on their own level make him an inspiration in the classroom. He is always looking for ways to engage the students in active learning and challenges them to be their 'Bronco Best' at every opportunity. The last time I stopped by the class unexpectedly, I saw my daughter and her classmates on their feet cheering on students competing in a math game about fractions. If Mr. Janda can make fractions that exciting, he can teach these kids anything! He also spends a great deal of time helping the students improve not only their minds, but their character. He stresses community and integrity in the classroom. His high standards and connection with the students make him an A+ teacher."

– Elizabeth, Warren

Mrs. Shaum

Graebner Elementary, Sterling Heights

"Mrs. Shaum truly has a love for teaching. This year, she has a class of 25 kindergarten students, and almost all the children are like mine: hyper, talkative and overly playful. She handles the classroom with ease. She is firm but nice. The children love her. I volunteer in the class once a week, and I am always amazed at her patience and understanding. The kids have learned so much despite the fact that they seem to rarely listen. My daughter is extremely talkative and can't sit still, but Mrs. Shaum is always so good with her; it amazes me. She is truly one of the best teachers I have ever dealt with."

– Michele, Sterling Heights

Mrs. Friedrich

Browning Elementary School, Sterling Heights

"I would love to nominate Mrs. Friedrich. She is a kindergarten teacher at Browning Elementary School in Sterling Heights. My daughter is in her class this year. We are a military family that has been in Michigan for three years. As a military family, our children go through hardships that many children do not have to face. Mrs. Friedrich has gone above and beyond with helping my daughter this year adjust to all the changes that we face. My husband is currently stateside but travels a lot. He will be leaving in March for schooling in Georgia while we stay here. At the end of this school year, we will move to the D.C. area. This has been hard for my 5-year-old. She is very unsure of all that will go along with these changes. Mrs. Friedrich has talked with me in great details as to how to help my daughter out. This is Mrs. Friedrich's first year in kindergarten, as she taught fourth grade last year. She has brought a lot of love and fun to her class this year, and all the kids love her. Mrs. Friedrich is an A+ teacher in my book!"

– Trish, Sterling Heights

Mrs. Kocovski

Graebner Elementary, Sterling Heights

"Mrs. Kocovski is my son's kindergarten teacher. She has 26 children in the class, and she takes the time to know each of them. She is always positive; even when everyone is sharing colds, she makes sure to be in class. The kids are so important to her. I feel like she takes care of my son as if he were her own (and she has three of her own!). I love the communication Mrs. Kocovski is committed to with the parents. It feels like we are all on the same team. We are very fortune to have such a hard-working, positive, sweet, kind and loving teacher as her. She really is a trooper. My son loves her. All the kids love her. I think she is a great teacher and deserves this award!"

– Krystn, Sterling Heights

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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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