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Teacher of the year honored



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From left are Teacher of the Year nominees Gwendolyn Stewart, Jena Menges, Teacher of the Year winner William Gunther, Kelley Woodworth, Concetta Krause, and Jody Sebring. (click for larger version)
May 21, 2014 - William Gunther is this year's Clarkston Teacher of the Year. The Clarkston Junior High School health teacher was selected from 15 nominees.

"I'm a little bit awed to be among such an awesome group," said Gunther at the awards reception, May 8. "I hope to live up to all of your expectations."

This year's award program focused on health, art, music, physical education, social workers, special education, and other support teachers.

"It was a real struggle to narrow it down to one they represent what we as a community want in our teachers," said Michael Page of Clarkston Foundation, which hosted the event.

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"There's no school system where teachers work harder," said Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock. "They give to us one of the most amazing gifts anyone can give."

Teachers of the arts, sports, social work, and other special programs provide key support for students, said Deputy Superintendent Shawn Ryan.

"They connect with kids, they inspire kids," Ryan said. "They form relationships with kids and help get them through the day they give kids a reason to come to school and a reason to stay in school."

In addition to the honors, Gunther gets a car for a year, courtesy of Suburban Ford of Waterford. The dealership provides a vehicle each year to Teacher of the Year.

"It was great to get the car, but it wasn't just the car," said Beth Rogers, 2013 teacher of the year. "It's a reminder every single day that people out there appreciate us."

Nominees also included finalists Jena Menges, Andersonville Elementary and Post High, social service; Kelley Woodworth, Bailey Lake Elementary physical education; Gwendolyn Stewart, music at Clarkston and Independence elementaries; Concetta Krause, North Sashabaw Elementary ESL; Jody Sebring, NSE and Pine Knob Elementary art; Tina Verlinden, Clarkston High School psychologist; and Victoria Retrouneas-Mantzios, special education at Renaissance High School; and nominees Lane Hurd of Clarkston Elementary; Anthony Taormina of PKE; Mary Reed, SPE and AE; Laura Wilson, SPE; Dawn Dandurand, Sashabaw Middle School; Janice Heaphy, Clarkston Junior High; and Lynn Larsen, Clarkston High School.

Next year, a secondary-school teacher will be honored.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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