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distinguished educator 2009-2010

December 2009 - Carolyn Davis


Today we awarded Carolyn Davis 2nd Grade Teacher at Lyle the Distinguished Educator Award during a TEAM time assembly. Wow - a K-3 building in a school wide assembly is sure different!


The most important quality that makes a teacher special was shared by Will Button. When asked what makes Mrs. Davis a special teacher he said, "She is a Duck Fan!"


Here is what the parent who nominated Mrs. Davis had to say about her:


My son had a great year in her classroom. He was taught well and was prepared for the next grade. I was very impressed with Mrs. Davis and her classroom. Her classroom was a room full of learning.

I feel Carolyn is one of those teachers that goes about her day doing her best for the children she teaches, always finding ways for them to learn. Her kindness and enthusiasm makes for a great teacher. She has learned much, teaches well and inspires all around her. I am thankful that as a parent, I too, can glean from her to help my own children succeed.


Here is what her students had to say about her . . . .

  • She is fun!

  • She helps us learn.

  • She gives our parents homework.

  • She gives us extra homework.

  • She is hard.


Please join us in congratulating Carolyn Davis. She is an awesome educator and a phenomenal teacher.



December 2009 - Judy Boustead


Today we awarded Judy Boustead PE Teacher at Lacreole Middle School the Distinguished Educator Award for the month of October. She received this award in front of 750+ middle school students and her friends and family!


Here is what the students who nominated her had to say:


Mrs. Boustead is not just a teacher, she is an inspiration to me and many other girls too. She is a mentor and teaches you more then just good health habits. She teaches you little life lessons every time you talk to her. I was so lucky to be introduced to Mrs. Boustead right before I had to deal with all the middle school hype. - Courtney Pope


My PE teacher Mrs. Boustead makes me believe I can do anything, but with practice. With her, practice does not always make perfect.- Amy Pope


I know an amazingly talented woman who has helped many kids get through the rough spots of middle school. Not only does she help push them by teaching them the things she has to she teach them, she teaches them extra things too. She is one of the most gifted and talented teachers I’ve ever had. She was always willing to share her personal story with us, and we all felt close. She felt like another one of my friends that I could go up to and start a conversation with about anything. - Deaven Vessell


Here is what LCMS students had to say about her:

  • She really deserves this because she is such a good teacher

  • She is really nice and helps us out

  • She helps us get it

  • She pushed me to learn

  • She pushes kids that aren't even her students

  • Awesome, plain and simple

  • She is a good dance teacher


Please join us in congratulating Judy Boustead.  I think each of you would agree she is one special person and an awesome educator. She is a positive role model to many many female students, but also an inspiration to many of us.



January 2010 - Stephen Travis


Today we awarded Stephen Travis, Social Studies Teacher at Dallas High School the Distinguished Educator Award for the month of November.


Here is what the students who nominated him had to say:


Some of the fondest memories of my time at Dallas High School revolved around my global studies teacher, Steve Travis. I was continually impressed with his knowledge of past and present events in world history. He was always reading newspapers and encouraging his students to do the same. He was supportive of our opinions and never made us feel as though our questions were out of bounds. He was not inclined to sugarcoat world events in an attempt to shelter us, but believed that he must treat us as future adults who had the capacity to make changes for the good.


Mr Travis is one of the, if not the most, passionate teacher at Dallas High School. His knowledge and dedication leave a deep impact on students who are eager to learn. Mr. Travis challenged me to think critically, value different perspectives, and communicate my thoughts about issues. I learned more about our government and culture in his civics class than I did in my school career. The knowledge I gained from him is precious and priceless.


Here is what his students had to say about him . . . .

  • Passionate

  • Knows a lot about world history and social studies

  • Knowledgeable

  • Dedicated


For those of you that don't know Mr. Travis, he is a constant champion for kids. He leads the National Honor Society program and as many school activities as is possible. Go to the Soup Bowl Auction . . . . Mr. Travis is there. Watch any sporting event . . . Mr. Travis is there. Attend a play. . . . Mr. Travis is there. He supports kids quietly with his presence and encourages them along the way.

In addition, Mr. Travis is a supporter of education and of teachers. He challenges my thinking just as he challenges his students. He does it in a way that causes a person to think and evaluate decisions before they are made. Awesome teacher, amazing leader and a huge asset to each of us in our school district.


Please join us in congratulating Stephen Travis! He is very deserving of this award!



February 2010 - Trina Martinelli

A week ago, we awarded Trina Martinelli, 2nd Grade teacher at Lyle Elementary School the Distinguished Educator Award for January. Trina was nominated by 2 parents of students in her classroom.


Here is what a previous students parent had to say:


Trina has gone above and beyond to help my son be successful at school. she really helped him throughout his school year with specialized attention and did so always in a way that he knew that she really cared about him. When I look back on my own childhood school years, a few teachers truly stand out to me. For my son, Trina will be one of those teachers and she is now one of those treasured teachers for me as well.


Here is what a current student's parent had to say:


I believe she deserved this award because she helps her students with their organizational skills, self-confidence, handwriting and has positive rewards for individual and classroom goals. She is a clear communicator!


Here is what her students had to say:

  • She is nice!

  • She is Jace's mom!

  • She is my mom and she lives at my house.

  • She is really nice for our class.

  • She has good stuff for our life like math.

  • We get to do high fives and knuckle bumps at the end of the day!

  • She is really funny and likes to do jokes on us.


Please join us in congratulating Trina Martinelli. For those of you who have worked with her, you know she is an incredible teacher and extremely deserving of this award!



February 2010 - Penny Johnson


Last Friday we honored Penny Johnson, Catering and Culinary Arts teacher at Dallas High School with the Distinguished Educator Award. She was nominated by a student who says she is their families favorite teacher and he is the 3rd brother to go through her program.


Here is what Ricky had to say about Mrs. Johnson:


Penny is welcoming with open arms. She works hard to get to know the students. She has tried to connect not just with us as students ,but on a personal level as well. Penny's personality really makes the class fun. She is funny. Sometimes in the chaos of her job, she gets us laughing at how she handles all of the stress. I encourage you to honor this deserving teacher who has poured her heart and soul into her job and the kids that take her classes. She inspired us to be better people and love life!


Here is what her students had to say about her:

  • She loves us!

  • Helps us out on stuff, more than just catering.

  • She does so much; events, catering, class etc.

  • She has an outstanding personality.

  • There is really just too much to put into words.

  • She is a really nice teacher. Thank you for teaching me.

  • I have known her since I was a freshman and she always pushes me to do my best.

  • She treats us like workers.


Please join us in honoring Penny who is an incredible educator who has definitely made a difference in the lives of her students and has developed at premier program at Dallas High School with the catering program.



April 2010 - Lee Jones


On Wednesday we honored Lee Jones, Dallas High School Science Teacher, Robotics Advisory and King of grant writing as the February Distinguished Educator. Lee was nominated by his students Mary Isham and Glen Nichols.


Here is what they have to say about him:


He has dedicated an enormous amount of time the past few months into our robotics club. Not only has he constantly kept us informed on current business and kept us on track, but he has also worked miracles getting grants for the program to continue this year.

Mr. Jones is a phenomenal teacher. He genuinely cares about our education and takes the time to help you understand concepts you are having trouble comprehending. He motivates us to go above and beyond what is expected of us, and his support helps us get there. He is undoubtably deserving of this award.


Here is what his students had to say about him:

  • He is really interested in what he is teaching

  • He is OK with being wrong

  • On the first day of class we got to build a fire ball

  • He keeps the class interesting

  • We get to play Jeopardy

  • He is always willing to help

  • Very good at explaining things


Please join us in congratulating Lee Jones. He is an exceptional educator and goes above and beyond for his students in his classroom. He has sparked an interest in chemistry, explosions, robots and ultimate frisbee in his short time at Dallas High School!



May 2010 - Carrie Starks


Yesterday we awarded Carrie Starks, 5th Grade Teacher at Whitworth Elementary School the Distinguished Educator Award. Carrie was nominated by her cadet teacher Ben Simpson.


Here is what Ben had to say:


My brother Kyle had Mrs. Starks in 5th grade. He struggled for a very long time with autism. Mrs Starks went out of her way to help him. I was told a story when she gave him a puzzle. she had kept it in the classroom for many years and no student had ever been able to solve it. Kyle solved this puzzle not only in one, but in many ways. Kyle stuck out to Mrs. Starks and she saw what capabilities he potentially had. Many teachers wouldn't have looked into this kind of talent, but she did. She gave Kyle special attention and made him feel loved. If you asked my brother to this day, he will remember this story and be telling you that Mrs. Starks was the most impacting teacher he ever had.

I know that if I were to pursue a career in education, I would follow in Mrs. Starks; footsteps. She is someone who doesn't just punch in her time and check out. She invest quality time into making sure students have an opportunity to be successful. She is the perfect role model.


Here is what her students had to say about her:

  • She is funny and tells us stories about when she was young

  • I love how she teaches writing

  • Cool, funny, best teacher ever

  • Coolest teacher in my life, because I have had worse teachers

  • She has many different voices for many different things

  • I love it when she reads to us, she uses different voices and it makes the story better

  • She is strict

  • She helps with homework and understands when you are having a hard time

  • She helps us get ready for middle school


Please join us in congratulating Carrie Starks. As I listened to her students tell why she was deserving of this award, I knew you'd hear these comments year after year because they told us exactly who Carrie is. Carrie is a dedicated educator who believes the success of her students is her mission in life. She does everything it takes to reach each student. Watch her teach, she is engaging, energetic and a master at making sure students are learning!



May 2010 - Shana Lavier


Friday we awarded Shana Lavier, DLC teacher at Dallas High School the Distinguished Educator Award. Shana was nominated by two parents Denise Jones (John Miller's mom) and Kendra Sambuceto.


Here are parts of their nomination letters (read these they are amazing!):


While most teachers are busy balancing education children and inspiring them to do great things, sometimes you come across one that initiates opportunities that never before seemed possible.

Three years ago while shopping, I saw a group of young ladies dressed up in their prom finest picking up flowers. At that moment it struck me that my daughter would never get to dress up like that and go to a prom. As life would have it she was brain damaged at birth and was destined to spend her academic years in special education never experiencing sleep overs with friends, playing on the basketball team or even dating, most things that teenagers experience every day.

As fate would have it, Shana Lavier was struck with the same reality. As she has grown to care for these students, she decided to make it happen. That's right, a prom . . . one just for them. Not only has she done a fantastic job instructing them in academics and vocational skills, she has considered their real feelings as real people and their dreams.


As a mother of a child in the DLC room at Dallas High, I have noticed exponential growth in my son, both academically and socially, since Shana became his teacher. Her enthusiasm, tenacity, and "never say can't" attitude has been a perfect foil for my instinct to overly protect him. With her guidance, my son comes home with more confidence, new skills and a sense of inclusion that he revels in.

I believe Ms. Lavier's greatest achievement thus far is her diligence for inclusion. She has recognized, enhanced and promoted my son's skills so that now the rest of the student body recognize him and accept him for whom he is.


She leads by example and teaches not only academics, but also inclusion, acceptance, tenacity and kindness.

Please join me in congratulating Shana. For those of you who know Shana she is amazing in her energy and commitment to all students not just those in her DLC classroom. The prom she organized for the DLC students at Central and Dallas High Schools was nothing short of amazing!!!



June 2010 - Brian Rebischke


Today we awarded Brian Rebischke the Distinguished Educator Award at an all school assembly at Oakdale. Brian is the music teacher for both Lyle and Oakdale Elementary Schools. Brian was nominated by his colleagues and the Distinguished Educator selection committee.


Here is what the students had to say about Mr. Rebischke:

  • He is a really good music teacher.

  • He is the best music teacher ever!

  • He's funny.

  • Mr. Rebischke mostly knows everything about music.

  • He is great at music and one of the best singers ever.


  • Mr. Rebischke teaches us fun songs


Here is what the staff had to say about Mr. Rebischke:

  • Mr. Rebischke can get kids to line up very quietly at lunch time.

  • I have never hear Mr. Rebischke say anything negative

  • We have had awesome kindergarten programs.

  • Some of the best moments in the year have been because of Mr. Rebischke, singing with 400 students prior to break and the students singing the national anthem.

  • My daughter has Mr. Rebischke and according to her they don't just sing songs they "do songs."


If you haven't watched Brian teach, he is amazing. He can lead 400 students in song and movement. He is an amazing educator.

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