WINGS, SDOW Teacher of the Year Finalists

WINGS, SDOW Teacher of the Year Finalists
Posted on 09/03/2019
Teacher of the Year FinalistsFive finalists have been announced for the School District of Washington and Wings Educational Foundation Teacher of the Year Award for Educational Excellence.

The winner will be named at the WINGS Hall of Honor on Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Knights of Columbus Hall, and will be the district’s nominee for the South Central Region Teacher of the Year.

The Teacher of the Year finalists are:

*Kaycie Schulte, Third Grade, South Point Elementary

*Lindsay Kober, Sixth Grade, Washington West Elementary

*Julie Trentmann, Special Education, Washington West Elementary

*Erin DeClue, Pre-K Autism, Early Learning Center

*Adam Meyer, Physical Education, South Point Elementary.

Kaycie Schulte
Kaycie Schulte, Third Grade, South Point Elementary

Schulte has been with the School District of Washington for six years, and in education for 10 years.

“I chose to become a teacher when I was an A plus student at South Point Elementary,” Schulte said. “I was in high school and was writing a research paper on the career I had decided on, Optometry. Then, I watched my Color Guard coach teach some sweet kindergarteners, worked with a few one on one, and quickly changed my mind about being an optometrist. I had no other option. I knew teaching had to be it for me.”

Schulte was nominated by South Point Elementary Principal Aimee Harty.

“Kaycie is one of the most passionate and intuitive teachers I have had the pleasure of working with,” Harty said. “Kaycie spends countless hours researching and planning activities that are rigorous and engaging for students. She recently referred to these hours as a ‘labor of love.’ She settles for nothing less than the best from herself and her students. She sets high expectiations for students and supports them along the way.”

“What I most enjoy about teaching is that AHA moment. I live for it. The moment where ideas are connected to little people. Being there for the moment their eyes light up,” Schulte said. “I love when the student sees their own improvement of struggling through the tough part to mastery. They never cease to amaze me. Seeing some of them now walk through the halls or work in my classroom as A plus tutors and accomplished students is priceless.”

Lindsay Kober
Lindsay Kober, Sixth Grade, Washington West Elementary

Kober is in her 12th year with the School District of Washington and 19th year in education overall.

“I chose to become a teacher because I truly felt it was my calling. I felt drawn to my teachers at a young age. I always looked up to them and aspired to be like them when I grew up,” Kober said. “I had a special connection with several of my past teachers, many of whom I still keep in contact with. I always wanted to have that with my students. That feeling of impacting someone's life is so powerful for me because I felt it with many of my teachers.”

Kober was nominated by Washington West Elementary Principal Kim Hunt.

“I remember hiring Lindsay in my first year. I was impressed then and even more so now. One of her strengths is ELA and another is taking whatever crazy idea the administration may have and make it a success,” Hunt said. “When given the challenge to incorporate the BUILD Academy into our sixth grade day and to tie it to our standards, the team ran with the decision.
“Lindsay led the way in this endeavor working through all the kinks with The Building Trades program at Four Rivers. She tweaked the activities and curriculum to ensure the students not only got the chance to develop their business and build a dog house, but also to be successful in all curriculum areas. She then passed along the information to the others coming behind her. She had to learn a new way of teaching, as well as developing the new skill of building to ensure she could teach the students to build. She took a day to go to Four Rivers and work with staff and the teachers to build the first dog house.”

“There are many things I enjoy about my job. The thing I enjoy the most would be working with my students. Getting the opportunity to connect with them, learn about them, see them grow, see them struggle and see them light up when it finally clicks are all my favorite parts of working with students,” Kober said. “For me, it's all about the connection you make with students; taking the time out to learn about them, what they like, what they are up to, how they are feeling. We truly become a family. Students aren't as afraid to make mistakes and are a little more willing to stumble as they learn. Since implementing the BUILD program, this connection has proven to be very important. I need my students to be willing to try new things, work collaboratively and hands on. These are relatively new ideas for students and I need them to feel comfortable with me and the others in our class to succeed in this type of learning environment.”

Julie Trentmann
Julie Trentmann, Special Education, Washington West Elementary

Trentmann has been with the School District of Washington for 24 years.

“Besides the obvious of enjoying my students’ personalities and capabilities, I especially enjoy using my creativity to solve problems in my classroom,” Trentmann said.

Trentmann was nominated by friend and fellow teacher Kathy Simon.

“Julie is an expert when it comes to meeting her students’ needs. She is resourceful and creative in providing ways to ensure her students’ success. Julie created an assembly table for a young man in her high school life skills class to use at a Sheltered Workshop, which he continues to use today,” Simon said. “Julie enhances student learning by constructing games, modifying materials and equipment for students’ use, along with providing opportunities for problem solving. Adapting learning activities to meet students’ unique disabilities/disorders/syndromes is a top priority.”

“I chose to be a teacher for a number of reasons,” said Trentmann. “I struggled in elementary school even though a learning disability was not present. In addition, I wanted to be one of the teachers that I remembered and felt safe with versus one of the teachers that made me feel ashamed about my abilities. I've always known I was born to help others in some capacity, so teaching is my way of helping.”

Erin DeClue
Erin DeClue, Pre-K Autism, Early Learning Center

DeClue is in her 15th year with the School District of Washington and in education overall.

“I chose to become a special education teacher because of my son Ryan. When he was 3 years old, he was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum,” DeClue said. “Ryan started preschool in the School District of Washington and made such tremendous progress. They did such amazing things with him, and I knew I needed to become a special education teacher, too. I needed to give back to the school district what they gave to me. The teachers gave my son the words to say ‘I love you.’ They helped my son learn to read. They helped him make friends. They gave him a place where he felt he belonged. And, in 2016, they helped him earn his diploma.”

DeClue was nominated by fellow ELC staff members Nanci Simmons, Heather Patty, Danika Thibault, Jennie Godefroid and Kristy Lauer.

“Erin displays many characteristics that make her, what we believe to be, the best candidate for this award. She shows up to work every morning with a smile on her face, a positive attitude, and ready to take on the challenges that may arise when working with preschool students who have autism,” stated the nomination form. “Erin displays extreme patience in difficult situations while still providing learning opportunities. She gives the students a voice and a way to communicate when they are unable to do so on their own. She also goes above and beyond to meet the needs of not only the students, but their families as well. Erin's patience and dedication to her students makes her deserving of this award.”

What I enjoy most about my job is finding the key to unlocking my students,” DeClue said. “Finding that one thing that gains their trust and allows me to enter their world, which is really the most amazing thing in the world.”

Adam Meyer
Adam Meyer, Physical Education, South Point Elementary

Meyer is in his seventh year with the School District of Washington and 15th year overall in education.

“The main reason I got into education was because of my Dad and all the great coaches I've had throughout my playing days,” Meyer said. “My Dad (Ray Meyer) taught at St. Francis Borgia for 40 years and dedicated his life to helping kids. Coach (Dale) Gildehaus and Coach (Dave) Neier had a passion for coaching and teaching life lessons. I wanted to be like those men and form relationships and mentor students the way they did.”

Meyer was nominated by South Point PTC members Lauren Storie, Dawn Paul and Jacque McHugh.

“Last school year brought many facility challenges to staff and students at South Point. While the entire staff is to be commended for their perseverance and dedication, no one was more directly affected than Coach Meyer,” stated the nomination form. “Adam began the year with an immense task; to teach PE to 433 students without a gym. Adjusting the class location presented many daily challenges such as space availability, weather considerations and safety concerns. These were in addition to the existing challenges that educators face daily with student behavior, conflict management, and curriculum standards. Adam tackled these challenges head on and successfully navigated the year with minimal interruption in learning. Utilizing out of the box ideas to make sure curriculum standards were maintained, he came up with exciting and motivating activities.”

“My favorite part of being a teacher is watching a kid smile when they see you and then you smile when you see them,” Meyer said. “Just the little things that make all the difference in kids’ lives.”

Teacher of Year Finalists
Teacher of the Year Finalists
Five finalists for the SDOW and Wings Teacher of the Year Award for Educational Excellence have been announced. The winner will be named at the WINGS Hall of Honor on Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Front row, from left are Amy Oesterly (WINGS), Erin DeClue (Early Learning Center), Lindsay Kober (Washington West Elementary), Julie Trentmann (Washington West Elementary) and Kaycie Schulte (South Point Elementary). Back row from left, are Dawn Kitchell (WINGS), Casey Zastrow (WINGS) and Adam Meyer (South Point Elementary).