We want to know WHY a Waterloo Schools staff member is making a difference in your life! Please follow this link to fill out a short survey to nominate a staff member.
Congratulations to the following staff members on being named My WHY Award recipients!
Cindy Parsons, Orange Teacher: Why does Cindy deserve this award? She is described as someone who loves her students, encouraging them to work hard and to do their best with academics and behavior. Her nominator writes, “I have worked with Cindy for over 10 years. She has always been a positive influence in my life. I have learned so much from Cindy.” Cindy is described as someone who makes her students feel special. They know she cares about them!
Allie Hildman, West Administrator: Why does Allie deserve this award? She is described as a very caring person who understands employee needs. While holding others to very high standard and expectations, she is both fair and reasonable. One of her nominators’ writes, “I am a paraeducator and Allie is my direct supervisor. She is making a difference in my life and makes my job easier by always being willing to listen and to help me come up with ideas of how to work better and effectively with my students. Allie always reassures and reminds me that we are all important to the students and together we can be “One Wahawk” and make a difference.”
Sarah Glew, Irving 1st Grade Teacher: Why does this staff member deserve this award? Because through this person, you can see the positive and fun learning happening each and everyday. By being open to new ideas and willing to enhance instruction, this award winner shows students that they come first. By doing this it inspires others to do the same, so I believe she leads by example. An individual like this is one you hope stays with Waterloo Schools for a very long time because we need more individuals like her and the positive energy she brings!. She is one of the shining reasons our district is on the rise.
Dan Hensing, East High Teacher & Golf Coach:
Why does Coach Dan Hensing deserve this award? One parent who nominated him writes: “He has taught our East High golf boys if you put work into it and have fun, it will pay off. These young men look up to him and have made such a drastic change in their scores AND in their self-esteem. Dan has made my son believe in himself!” One East golfer writes: “I can’t wait until next year because we had so much fun. We have lowered all of our scores by 25 and I really enjoyed my golf season!”A former student he coached writes: “He introduced me to the game of golf and helped me get to know myself better. He showed me when things don’t go my way just find another way and push through because my first meet wasn’t so pretty. He never gave up hope for me and that is why I am thankful for Dan.” One East High staff member writes, “Dan has continually added to the great atmosphere at East.” He is described as a great addition whose co-workers and students only have good things to say about him.
Heather Schoenberger, Hoover Special Needs Teacher: Why does Heather deserve this award? She is always willing to go above and beyond to help anyone. She does more than is asked of her, like arriving early and staying late every single day. She is always putting student needs first. Heather is an amazing advocate for our children, especially our students with special needs. She wants what is best for our students and is willing to fight for it. Heather volunteered to be my mentor without being asked. I just want to thank her for all she has done for me and I would absolutely love for Heather to be my child’s teacher someday!
Patrice Ambrose, Classroom Support @ Elk Run: Congrats Patrice Ambrose on your My WHY Award! She is someone who is willing to go the extra mile to ensure all students know they are loved and valued. No matter what, Patrice makes sure every morning she greets students with a happy and bubbly attitude.
Darlene Martin, Lou Henry Custodian: Darlene’s nominator writes, “As a new teacher at Lou Henry, Darlene has welcomed me with her tireless efforts to supply us with what we need for our new classroom.”
Stephanie Carlson, Highland 5th Grade Teacher: Why does Stephanie Carlson deserve this recognition? According to the parent who nominated her, Mrs. Carlson goes out of her way to make sure all the students in her class are accommodated to best fit their learning needs. She doesn’t see students as having special needs, she simply sees them as her students who need something and if it is within her means or capacity to do, she does it. Stephanie’s students are so happy to learn and give their best to her because they know they are getting her best! The parent writes, “This teacher made a world of difference with my son. She built his self-esteem by allowing him to shine in the areas he was good in and become a leader of the classroom. He took pride in his work and wanted to do his best because she allowed him to be his best. Mrs. Carlson capitalized on his strengths and he became a different student because of her. I wish he could stay in 5th grade with her forever or she could move on with him! She is the absolute best!”
Jeremy Ganfield, Expo Behavior Intervention Specialist: Why does Jeremy Ganfield deserve this honor? Because he is optimistic and generous and will help you with what you need when you need it, writes the student who nominated him. The student went on to say, “Mr. Ganfield REALLY cares about us students a lot and would do anything to help. He helps me when I’m stressed out or when I need to focus on school work or if I need advice.” Congratulations to Jeremy Ganfield!
Gail Farber, Lincoln ELL Teacher: Why does Gail Farber deserve this honor? Her co-worker who nominated her writes, “She is an amazing teacher and advocate for our ELL students!” Gail is always willing to aid teachers in reaching our ELL population in the classroom and does so with integrity and a smile. In the mornings, Gail is the first person a lot of our students see. She stands outside greeting students and family members cheerfully. Gail puts her students first. When a teacher needs help or advice, she is always willing and available. When it comes to her ELL students, she works tremendously hard to ensure they are making great gains in their education. Gail has established substantial relationships with parents that have a positive impact on her students. Even though her workload is heavy, she has an unwavering commitment to her students and their families.
DaNesha Arceneaux: Why does DaNesha Arceneaux deserve this award? The Carver secretary goes out of her way to make the middle school a positive place. She always has a smile and a fun and positive attitude. Her energy is contagious and uplifts all those around her. Her nominator writes, “I see DaNesha interact with staff and students in a way that is honoring to everyone. Students seek her out for help and advice. Her positive problem-solving skills are an encouragement to everyone around her!”
Tamika Culpepper: Why does Tamika Culpepper deserve this My Why award? Because she is described as beyond helpful to the students, staff and families at Becker. Tamika does everything she can to offer assistance and support, and has an amazing attitude about it. Her nominator writes, “She is a helper in all parts of the school day. The students really respect her.” Thank you, Tamika, for being a positive force in the lives of the students we serve!
Wade Timmins: Why does Wade Timmins deserve this award? Wade is described as a creative person who thinks outside the box. He organized the freshmen home visits at East that led to almost 100% of 9th graders feeling more comfortable in their transition to high school. He is a supportive person and team player who anyone would be happy to have as a co-worker. The student who nominated him writes, “He is the coolest teacher. He cares about everyone!”
Erin Miller: Why does Erin deserve this award? Erin is helpful, knowledgeable, computer savvy and organized. As the fifth grade team leader at Kittrell, she keeps us on track. Other grade-level teachers seek her advice about everything from technology to basic functions of the school. She is also a Kittrell parent and a member of the PTO. Her nominator writes, “I can text or call her at any time if I need to know anything or (get) advice on a matter. She is a dedicated colleague.” Thanks to Erin for being a positive role model and a team player who exudes commitment, dedication, care and confidence.
Angel Munson: Why does Angel deserve this recognition? She is called a wonderful addition to the Kingsley team. Even though this is her first year of coaching, she is a natural. She embodies all the characteristics of a phenomenal coach—collaborative, open-minded, hard-working and a strong communicator. She understands that, just like with students, we need to meet teachers where they are to promote growth. And best of all, she is a life-long learner always wanting to grow! Her nominator writes, “Angel pushes me to be a better coach. She works collaboratively with me to push both my practice and the practice of the teachers with whom I work to increase student success. I am so thankful to work with her!”
Courtney Tobin: Why does Courtney Tobin deserve this award? She is an amazing educator who goes above and beyond for her students. Her nominator writes, “I’ve seen her spend countless hours striving to create perfect lessons that are fun but rigorous. Her passion is infectious and she really strives to be a positive force at East and within the district.” By collaborating with her, her peers have grown as educators. Her ideas are always exceptional and she continually finds unique ways to challenge students. Her enthusiasm has pushed her co-workers to try new things that have made a positive impact.
Shelley Sedgwick: Why does Shelley deserve this award? Her nominator writes, “I feel that Shelley should be recognized for her positive impact on her peers. Shelley is one of the most supportive people that I work with. She is caring of others and wants everyone to be as happy and healthy as possible. Shelley has been great to PLC with and share ideas. She displays leadership in her decision making within her classroom.” Congratulations, Shelley, for making an impact in Waterloo Schools!
Lori Cooper: Why does Lori Cooper deserve this recognition? She exemplifies what “Help Desk” means. Lori is always very pleasant, easy to work with and makes you feel you are the most important person to help. Her nominator writes, “Although I had many questions she never made me feel like I didn’t know anything. She made you think your questions were as important as White House Security!” Thank you, Lori, for all you do to help and to support Waterloo Schools.
Chris Peck: Why does Chris deserve this honor? No one brings a more positive spirit and true love for teaching Carver students than she does. It is obvious when watching her interact with kids and staff that teaching at Carver is her calling. She retired many years ago from Logan Middle School and this year agreed to come back to fill an open instructional strategist teacher position. Chris didn’t have to come back to work at Carver, yet she did. There are not enough positive words to describe Chris. Her nominator writes, “She is the best example I’ve ever seen for a Why Waterloo. She volunteers her time to stay after school with students to help them with their academics. She is constantly making positive phone calls to families celebrating students and nurturing the positive relationships she has built. No matter if it’s PLC work, helping a struggling student, differentiating lessons or working with kids and families, she always does it with an infectious smile. I have honestly never heard one negative statement about anyone come out of her mouth. She IS the Why Waterloo for Carver staff, kids and parents!”
Alexis Denton: Why does Lexie deserve this award? Her nominator writes, “Lexie has been such a welcoming face in my first year of teaching. I know that I can go to her with anything and she will find an answer one way or another. Though she is in a new role as a literacy coach and learning herself, she always takes the time to help regardless of the amount of work she has to do. Lexie has made a difference in my first year teaching because she goes above and beyond her role to make sure teachers are feeling comfortable in their roles. She sees a need and a responsibility to make sure the six new teachers at our school are feeling supported. She not only makes herself available and approachable to anyone, but really goes out of her way to help with anything one might need.”
Meredith Vincent: Why does Meredith Vincent deserve this award? She tirelessly works to help students learn and feel successful and is always willing to lend a hand, problem solve or help plan lessons. Her nominator writes, “She is invaluable to me as a co-teacher in helping drive student learning in my classroom. She takes the time to go above and beyond for each student and the staff members she works with!” Meredith helps her co-workers to be better teachers and has such a positive impact on the Cunningham family.
Jody Barney: Why does Jody Barney deserve this award? It was a parent’s post on Facebook that led to this nomination. The parent wrote,” So I wanna brag on my daughter’s school and teachers! My daughter is thriving and her teacher is amazing!” The mom goes on to explain that Jody did an in-home visit and shared about how well her daughter is doing in preschool. In addition, the parent says Mrs. Barney knew that she was looking for paint pens for her daughter to use at home and Jody not only bought three for her daughter but she hand-delivered them to their door. “How outstanding, I love her teacher,” she said. The mom said it’s the little things like Jody takes time to do that make all the difference!
Sally Goodenbour: Why does Sally Goodenbour deserve this award? She is described as someone who goes above and beyond for her ELP students. She is always emailing staff about STEM opportunities and fun events in the area. Her nominator writes, “She gives us ideas of what to do for my son who is a high level learner. Last year she gave him extra math homework to do each week and weekly challenges. At the beginning of this year, I asked her how I would go about trying to find a German tutor for my son. Without being asked, she said she would take care of it. She stayed on it until she got a response from someone at one of the high schools.” She is a true partner in helping us educate our son and all the students she serves in Waterloo Schools!
Pam Meier-Kraus: Why does Pam Meier-Kraus deserve to be recognized? Her nominator writes, “Pam became a mentor of mine early on. I had taught for four years already, but she took me under my wing, pushed me academically, musically, and helped create my instructional rigor through good teaching.” Pam is described as pretty humble when it comes to getting recognition, ultimately doing what is best for the students. She rarely puts herself first and instead shifts the focus to creating meaningful learning opportunities for young people. Thanks, Pam, for serving Waterloo Schools students well!
Tammy Moore: Why does Tammy Moore deserve to be honored? For starters, she has multiple nominations (six!) from her co-workers who say she is a Gold Star Teacher without the paperwork! Tammy is described as someone who exemplifies excellence in education and going above and beyond the call. She humbly takes responsibility for managing the care, education and safety of students she serves. She believes in the Central students and looks after them as her own. And in fact HER children attended Central. One nominator writes, “Tammy always has a smile on her face and will assist as needed at the drop of a hat.” Called patient and kind, Tammy is a consistent person in the lives of our children and her love shows every day!
Joe Kadlec: Why does Joe Kadlec deserve this honor? He was nominated by a student who says he is an educator who exceeds teacher requirements. The student writes, “Mr. Kadlec has always been willing to help more than he had to. He was my English teacher in the ninth grade, and he was always willing to talk about the books we were reading after school and he answered any and every question I had about our assignments or novels. I didn’t always get the best grade in his class, but he didn’t get frustrated, he just kept explaining and helping. I was placed in AP language my sophomore year, and my grade dropped pretty quickly. Mr. Kadlec took me out of my original seminar and put me in his to give me the opportunity to ask questions. I also knew his expectations, and within a month my grade rose two letters. This year, I have used the studying skills that he has taught me, along with the things I learned in his English class and seminar in my AP literature class, and I have the best grade I have ever had in an English class. He is still willing to help with any literature related questions, and has revised a few of my writings, including the review piece that took me to IHSSA’s individual events all state.” Congratulations, Joe!
Sherry Davis: Why does Sherry Davis deserve this award? The parent who nominated her writes, “She goes above and beyond to assist my child. She is very caring and nurturing toward my child but also is able to assertively and encouragingly get him to focus, try his best, keep organized and socially interact appropriately with others. This mom says Sherry sends home detailed directions in his planner on a daily basis along with updates, emailed copies of his homework and pictures about her son’s day. She even passes along info to the mom about new ways to help her better assist her child at home. The mom goes on to say, “She has taken the time to watch him play sports outside of school, has passed down clothing to both of my sons, and is simply a very nice support to me as a single mother of three challenging children. She has wonderful communication skills and is very in tune with what my child needs to learn and grow and supports him and our family on an almost daily basis! I do not worry about my child’s school progress or social interactions as she does such an amazing job keeping me informed, keeping him on track, and assisting him to be successful!”