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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Harvest Elementary, Saline
"After the first day of school, my son came home saying he loved school! He has never said that before, not that he's ever complained about it either. I think Mrs. Larzelere engages the children and tries to ensure every child reaches his/her potential. My son has been blessed with amazing teachers every year he's been at Harvest Elementary, but what sets Mrs. Larzelere apart is her commitment to her students even in the face of the trials of her personal life. Hopefully she doesn't mind me sharing this with you, but this year has been especially difficult for her and her family. Her husband has been diagnosed with cancer. She has been focused with the children and my son has had a fantastic year so far with her. She's just a wonderful teacher!"
– Lena, Ann Arbor
Harvest Elementary, Saline
"When I asked my kids who I should nominate, they both said 'Ms. Klump!' My oldest says, 'She's very kind and helped me learn concepts very well.' He still remembers her even though it's been four years. My youngest says, 'She's nice and he learned a lot in her class. She never lost faith in a student when trying to learn something. She's fun and not too strict.' As a parent, I felt both my sons received a great education from her class, and that was also apparent in the scores they received from NWEA. I feel fortunate that both my sons had a great teacher who's been able to effectively teach them, even though they have different learning styles!"
– Lena, Ann Arbor
Klager Elementary, Machester
"Mrs. Shue spends a great deal of time inside and outside the classroom preparing for her kindgergarten class. Everything she does, from worksheets to classroom notes to grading the kids' papers, shows an incredible amount of love, care and creativity. She truly LOVES teaching and taking care of her classroom kids. She is effective and committed to making sure every child learns responsibility, respect and the love of learning all with an incredible amount of patience, light-hearted humor and attention to details. As a result, my child absolutely adores her and loves going to school ready to learn something new every day. He comes home delighted with his assignments and eager to tell us about the day."
– Aileen, Manchester
Joanna Van Raden
Klager Elementary, Manchester
"Mrs. V, as the kids know her, has shown an incredible amount of commitment to the school's mission where ALL students will be challenged to obtain the skills necessary to realize their highest personal potential. She realized immediately that my son's abilities were beyond the general level of the classroom and was able to consistently challenge him with extra activities and assignments within the classroom, despite the challenges she faced in having to teach 28 other children. When those efforts were not enough, she spearheaded conferences between the principal, the fourth grade teacher, and us to give my son the opportunity to continue to be challenged by transitioning to fourth grade right in the middle of the school year. As a result, my son is incredibly happy to be pushed ahead and challenged at his own personal potential."
– Aileen, Manchester
Dearborn Heights Montessori, Dearborn Heights
"Ann is an exceptionally dedicated teacher. I have seen how she managed 13- to 15-year-olds in a respectful manner. The students in turn acted very respectful and mature. She ran her classroom like a business. She knew how to keep the focus of the students as not to bore them with traditional teaching methods. Her methods were very innovative and on-key to the needs of the age group that she taught. Both of my daughters attended her class when they were in seventh and eighth grade. They both miss the style of teaching that Ann and the Montessori approach provided them. I cannot think of a teacher that would be more deserving of recognition than Ann."
– Pamela, Dearborn Heights
"Adolescence is a challenging time, pivotal for students who may become disillusioned with school or find themselves making risky choices. Middle school teacher Ann DeVore creates situations with real work and responsibility as she maintains a reliable, safe structure in her middle school environment where students can try on different selves. There are weeklong internships with businesses in the community. Service opportunities exist to fulfill requirements within the school community and surrounding community. Her middle school students operate a short-range radio station from the classroom. Students manage the hot-lunch program; economics becomes real for them as they track orders, count money, monitor checkbooks, keep track of expenses and sales receipts, deal with vendors and keep customers happy. Guest adults instruct cooking, sewing, gardening, knitting, art and speech classes during regularly scheduled elective classes. There have been student-directed Shakespearean plays and student-written plays. Middle school students operate light and sound equipment during performances. Woven throughout these experiences and her high expectation for academic performance, is Ann's language of personal responsibility, honor and self-assessment. Ann understands that goal setting and time management are challenging for adolescents. The year is divided into six-week themed cycles so that there are six new starting points, and no student can get buried in long overdue work. She designed her own curriculum to teach organization, time management, goal setting, note taking and test taking to prepare all students for high school. Ann arrives at 6:30 a.m., supervises a breakfast study club before class when she is available for students and an afterhours study hall until 5 p.m. She communicates by email and stays abreast of technology and social networking. Her graduates go on to become valedictorians at area high schools in disproportionate numbers to other programs. Ann is chairman of the school curriculum revision team, having taught all other grade levels. She advises other middle school programs as consultant for the American Montessori Association. Ann has particular talent at inspiring and encouraging students of all backgrounds and abilities to succeed. Students of Arabic, Asian, East Indian, African American, Mexican American descent and all economic levels have attended her program. She has welcomed students with cerebral palsy, apraxia, Asperger, autism, ADHD, behavioral and emotional problems and prepared each one to succeed in high school. Ann DeVore turns adolescents' lives around by expecting responsibility and inspiring them to make their education their own. Her dedication, innovation and excellence in teaching has improved outcomes in many lives!"
– Susan, Livonia