Hayes Elementary media assistant Michelle Coleman loves books and reading. However, it’s the connection she forms with students that keeps her coming back to a job that she loves and has been doing for two decades with the District.
“They are so kind and bring fresh ideas to me,” Michelle says. “It’s so easy to have a conversation with them.” Michelle takes pride in knowing what interests a student and finding just the right book to match the interest out of Hayes’ library collection. She also enjoys sharing some of her hobbies with the students, bringing in the Irish tenor drum she plays or her beekeeping equipment.
In addition to her duties in the library of book circulation maintenance, tech assistance and story time readings, it’s Michelle’s willingness to pitch in wherever needed that spurred Hayes secretary Arlene Marek to nominate Michelle.
“Michelle is always volunteering to go above and beyond,” says Arlene. “When she is done with her work she asks for more.” Michelle it seems, is everywhere a helping hand is needed. She is even outside in the morning greeting students and waving goodbye to them at dismissal, rain or shine! On her own time she decorates bulletin boards, helps with Student Council, and is the school’s unofficial photographer.
After 11 years at Hayes, Michelle says the adage “If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life,” still holds true.
Harding Middle School math teacher Quinci Teer approaches her day with a mission to educate her students with much more in mind than equations and integers. “It is important to educate the mind but also the heart,” says Quinci.
To that end, Quinci, who joined the District in 2015, begins her class with her students with socio-emotional time to set the tone for the day. She might ask a student to share a time when they were brave or made the effort to include someone. Her students write “lift-ups” on Post-It notes that share messages of positivity and gratitude about fellow classmates or the teacher. The lift-ups are posted around the room as reminders of the positive messages. Quinci believes this all sets a tone and creates a sense of belonging for her students that helps put them in a better frame of mind for learning.
“Quinci Teer is an amazing teacher,” says Quinci’s nominator, Harding teacher Sonja Kreps. “She has such a calm demeanor, but also commands respect from her classes. She holds each student accountable but also makes learning math fun.”
Quinci makes the accountability part fun as well through her Ranger ticket reward program. Recent milestones met by one of her classes earned them a pancake breakfast, cooked by the class!
Quinci carries over her message of positivity, respect and responsibility as head coach of Harding’s 8th grade girls’ basketball team.
Says Sonja: “Ms.Teer holds her team to high standards both on the court and off, and models this behavior herself. Ms. Quinci Teer is an upstanding teacher and role model.”