The classroom of Garfield Middle School art teacher Leah Roudebush is a funky, fun and welcoming space for her students where making art is not the only objective. Human connection is the ultimate goal.
“I see it as my responsibility to connect with each child using art as a means to make an initial connection to where then I can develop those relationships…I want my school, my classroom, to be a place of creativity, love, responsibility, trust and growth. It is my mission to make each student feel valued and loved” says Leah.
Leah, who has been with the District all 17 years of her teaching, thrives on those connections. And she makes sure those connections extend beyond her classroom into the school and even the greater Garfield community. She and STEM teacher Jaime Chanter started the GMS Create Club this year to give students more opportunities to stretch their creative muscles.
However, she is most proud of the school’s Holiday Open House, which Leah began two years ago. Families in the community are welcomed into the school to select from donated holiday décor items that they can take home for free. “Everyone should feel the spirit of the holidays if they choose to do so and I wanted that for our Garfield families at no cost to them,” Leah says. This year, it expanded into coats, hats and mitten donations as well when Leah noticed students coming to school without proper winter gear.
Says Leah’s nominator, Garfield Principal Robin Beavers: “She is a shining star and we could not be more proud to have her on our team!”
Grant Elementary lunch and recess monitor Janet Trentel knows that kids need to be kids and that keeping their body healthy and fit is as important as the work they do in the classroom. To that end, Janet goes above and beyond her monitor duties to give the students at Grant outlets to move their bodies while also having fun.
Janet, who has been with the District and Grant for about 10 years, started a recess running club that she has turned into a fun activity. She provides the runners with charms each time they reach a running milestone. A chart with the total miles for each student has the kids engaging in friendly competitions for who can pile up the most miles running around the school perimeter.
Spending time with the students is the highlight of Janet’s job. “I have fun with them,” she says. Janet’s nominator, Grant health aide Melissa Diemert, says Janet takes the time to get to know every student by name. “She is such an asset to our school and she takes great pride in her work with the students,” Melissa says.
Besides the running club, Janet also coaches Grant’s D.A.R.E. basketball team, which practices before school two times a week. Having been a coach since her grown children’s younger days, Janet enjoys serving as a District middle school cross country and track and field coach as well.
Janet’s kindness and willingness to lend a hand where needed does not go unnoticed by her fellow Grant staff members. Melissa says it best: “Janet Trentel helps to impact Lakewood students on many levels and I'm grateful to have her on the Grant team.”