Taft Center for Innovation preschool teacher Jaret Bregitzer may only have less than two years as a classroom teacher under his belt - including much of last year remote - but he already orchestrates the room like a pro.
“Mr. B has the enthusiasm of a new teacher but the craft of one that has been here for years,” said librarian April Hoy, who makes weekly visits to Jaret’s classroom. April, Jaret’s nominator, notes in particular how Jaret values his students’ input despite their young age and marvels how Jaret makes his students part of the process in creating their classroom environment.
“I want to have the kids included in ways to change the class that reflects their interests”, says Jaret. “I want to encourage them to share their thoughts so they all feel heard.”
Jaret blends both traditional and open-ended teaching methods and focuses on keeping his students engaged and curious. He encourages their curiosity with his Wonder Wall of Post-It notes full of questions from topics students wonder about. As much as practical, he listens and adapts to their suggestions, such as wanting to build a drive-through restaurant during dramatic play time, complete with cardboard cars! Just one of many examples where Jaret’s hallmarks of collaboration, imagination, and enthusiasm shine through.
Emerson Elementary assistant custodian Keith Hoile has one mission when he arrives at his job each afternoon: to make someone’s day. Keith attends to his second-shift duties always with a smile on his face and always looking for ways to put a smile on someone else’s face.
Keith, who joined the District in 2005, is known for his kindness to all and his dedication to his job. His colleagues notice that Keith is always on the lookout for any way he can help improve the building for students and staff, whether it's putting a bookcase together for a teacher or picking up loose crayons and pencils on the floor.
“He notices little things, as well as big things, that will make the school a better place,” said teachers Jenn Mollison and Laura Heckman-Spear in their nomination for Keith.
Keith’s giving heart is no more evident than in a random act of kindness he has started in the cafeteria. Keith looks for a child who needs a lift or did something outstanding and he anonymously adds money to that student’s lunch account for a snack. As the child comes through the lunch line, the lunch ladies give the child a coupon telling them that someone anonymously put money on their account. “You should see their faces light up,” says kitchen manager, Leann Prindle.
It’s easy to see the truth in the statement from Jenn and Laura: “Keith inspires gratitude in those around him…and has single-handedly strengthened a culture of caring at Emerson.”