District honors top teachers

By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — After Wyandotte Public schools won top honors in county-wide teacher awards the past few years, Wayne RESA, the county’s educational service agency, discontinued the awards.

So the district took matters into its own hands, recognizing its top teachers and staff at a May 17 board of education meeting.

“The county decided to start compiling the data and they noticed a trend — that we were winning all of them,” Supt. Patricia Cole said. “They thought perhaps they should cut the program out because we were monopolizing it.”

Twelve teachers, administrators and support staff, nominated by district administrators, received the awards for their work during the current school year.

Director of Special Education Carla Harting was named the district’s Administrator of the Year. She is to replace Cole after her retirement June 30.

“She’s wonderful in every aspect of the educational program,” Cole said.

Sean Soules, who was named Roosevelt High School’s Teacher of the Year, was honored for his passion for the language arts curriculum he teaches to juniors and seniors. RHS principal Patrick Hickey, who presented the award, said Soules sparks an interest in literature in even the most disinterested students.

“Once they get out, they do have an interest in it,” Hickey said. “I think that says a lot to Mr. Soules and why we value him so much.”

Wilson Middle School Teacher of the Year Michele Mans was honored for her dedication to her students and her use of innovative classroom tools. Mans, a seventh-grade language arts teacher, was hired 11 years ago after serving as a student teacher at the school.

Denise Trudell, who co-presented the award, recalled how Mans remembers her students’ family members and life goals years after they leave her classroom.

“For more than 10 years, she has been teacher, counselor, cheerleader and even mom to more than 2,000 students,” Trudell said. “And she could name you every one of them.”

Carolyn Waggoner, who was named the district’s Support Person of the Year, has worked as an administrative assistant in the district since 1978. Now working for Harting, she is often called upon to consult with special education programs across the county. She is a team player, who always encourages everyone to do their best, Harting said. She is to retire at the end of this year.

Garfield Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Rachel Doran was named Rookie Teacher of the Year for the long hours she puts in working on lesson plans in her classroom every night. She works tirelessly to help her students succeed, RHS Assistant Principal Kelly Kazmierski said.

The district’s Center Teacher of the Year, Kevin Malone, who teaches building trades at Josephine Brighton Skills Center, was honored for his commitment to the school’s students. Principal Sal Falzone said Malone treats all students with respect and dignity. When a student exhibits a behavioral problem and Falzone asks who they’d like to speak to, they most often choose Malone, Falzone said.

The Center Program’s Rookie Teacher of the Year was Sarah Vallie, who is in her second year of teaching cognitively and emotionally impaired students at the Lincoln Center. She also has taken on added responsibilities, including helping to draft a school improvement plan and taking part in RESA transportation training.

Also awarded were: Kelly Kirby, Ancillary Professional of the Year; Laura Maslar, Center Ancillary Professional of the Year; Lori Marklein, Lincoln Center Paraprofessional of the Year; Sherry Butler, Madison School Paraprofessional of the Year; and Laurie Dolce, Josephine Brighton Skills Center Paraprofessional of the Year.

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