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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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Donna Finn

Holy Family Regional School, Rochester Hills

"Mrs. Finn in a second grade teacher. She facilitates learning in a non-intimidating, positive classroom environment. She allows children to display their personality while facilitating learning. She facilitates class discussions around the topic she is teaching. She is a fun teacher but gets the content covered. Her teaching ability allows children to be themselves and feel comfortable in her classroom. She is caring, compassionate and genuine. She really tries to get to know the parents and family in addition to the children in her classroom. She likes to know about their extracurricular activities, too. My daughter looks forward to going to school each day and tells me how much she loves Mrs. Finn."

– Janet, Rochester Hills

"She is a wonderful teacher and makes learning fun for the children."

– Jill, Rochester

"She is patient and motivating and makes a point to make sure the children learn to love school. She has been a blessing to us this year."

– Gina, Oakland Township

Stacey Burns

Halfman Elementary, Madison Heights

"Mrs. Burns is one of the most passionate teachers I have ever met. She sincerely cares about each one of her students and goes above and beyond to make sure they succeed. We recently moved, so my children are new students at Halfman – and Mrs. Burns has helped my daughter adjust well academically and emotionally. She has a gentle way of teaching the children. I love the fact that before the children even walk in the classroom, they have to give Mrs. Burns a handshake, hug or a high five. I would love for her to be recognized for what a great job she does with the students and how much we love her!"

– Nanette, Madison Heights

Richele Williams

Discovery Corner Academy, Troy

"Discovery Corner Academy is blessed to have Ms. Richele Williams as their kindergarten teacher. Our son, Liam, loves going to school and learning from such an enthusiatic and dedicated teacher. Ms. Richele takes time every day to greet each student as they come into the room – and even takes a few minutes to connect with the parents. Every week, each student has 'special time' with Ms. Richele – one on one time to review lessons, receive any support that may be needed, and general encouragement. Additionally, parents receive a written report and letter every Friday detailing what was covered in class the past week and the child's progress. It is precisely because of Ms. Richele's dedication and high level of expertise that our son, Liam, is reading, relating "stories" to us about Hanukkah, Martin Luther King, Jr., Chinese New Year, Native Americans, fire preparedness, and the "famous" science experiment taste test. Having a group of energetic kindergartners would appear to be exhausting, but Ms. Richele is patient and kind to every child.  She is always well-prepared, enthusiastic and compassionate. Quite honestly, she exudes love for each student! Ms. Richele, we all love you very much!"

– Claudia, Ferndale

Kerry Kowalcyzk

Parkview Elementary, Novi

"My daughter always says Mrs. Kowalczyk is her favorite teacher. When I ask her why, she tells me Mrs. Kowalczyk cares about everyone, makes learning fun and never yells. As a parent, I feel Mrs. Kowalczyk goes above and beyond excellence and is truly dedicated to kids and teaching. She individualizes the curriculum to meet the needs of all the children in her classroom and has high expectations for each child. The learning activities she provides for the students are interactive, fun and teach to a variety of learning styles (visual, kinesthetic, etc.). Mrs. Kowalczyk treats each child as an individual and makes a personal connection with each one. Her classroom is one of movement and change. She uses her smart board and lets the kids use her SMART Board everyday, all day long, for a variety of learning activities including reading, math and science. She's implemented the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People into her everyday work with the kids. Mrs. Kowalczyk is calm and gentle with the kids and has great parent communication. I've seen her spend her own money to get a kid a book from the book fair and to buy things for kids to use in her classroom. At the end of the year, when my daughter had her last day of first grade, I cried. My daughter will always hold Mrs. Kowalczyk in her heart as a very special teacher, and so will I."

– Kimberly, Novi

Jamie Pastwa

Lake Orion Community Schools, Lake Orion

"I would like to nominate our 3-year-old son's preschool teacher, Mrs. Jamie Pastwa. She has been our son's special education teacher for two years now. Our son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. From the very beginning, she has exceeded all of our expectations. She always has a smile on her face and a positive attitude that the kids and parents appreciate. She is one of the most important people in our son's life, and we are so grateful for her and appreciate everything she does for him. She deserves to win the Metro Parent's Top Teacher Award because she always goes above and beyond to make sure her students are making progress and having fun along the way. She always keeps the parents involved and informed about what is going on in the classroom. She is more then just a great teacher; she is the best."

– Kristy, Oxford

Elizabeth Levy

Whitmore Lake High, Whitmore Lake

"Ms. Elizabeth Binder Levy teaches special needs high school students with compassion and energy. She has also served as a counselor and expects to complete her second Masters Degree this summer."

– Laurie, Farmington Hills

Kevin Gallatin

Hazel Park High, Hazel Park

"Kevin is the most dedicated teacher I know. He always goes above and beyond the call of duty with his students. Whenever they need something, he provides them with love, support and respect. His job is to teach math, but in actuality, he does so much more."

– Emily, Berkley

Marlene Azzo

Hiller Elementary, Madison Heights

"Miss Marlene Azzo is an amazing third grade teacher! My son Dane has been lucky to have been in her class. She teaches responsibility and consequence all while still having fun – and her students love and respect her. She takes the time to listen to her students and care about their education, interests and home life. She is an absolute treasure to our education system."

– Stacey, Clawson

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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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