May 07, 2014 - Along with Betty Campion Awards, Teacher of the Year nominees were also recognized by theOxford School Board April 16.
Oxford Virtual Academy Executive Director Andrew Hulbert kicked off "Teacher of the Year," nominations with Peggy Boggs, who Hulbert described as "an absolute unbelievable addition to the (OVA) middle school."
"She has kids coming to her at all angles (and) she certainly has innovated what we do on a virtual level," he added. "If you open up her computer, there (is) so much stuff on there, more different ways that she can actually get into an engaging atmosphere when they're two hours away you would think they were sitting down here in a big circle. It really has been a beneficial addition to us and we're extremely thankful to have her."
Oxford Middle School Principal Ken Weaver was proud to announce eighth-grade math teacher Kristin McDonough.
"One of things I would emphasize most is she is always about the students. She cares deeply and passionately about the students and that is always her foremost concern about them – their well-being and how well they're doing in her class," Weaver said. "She goes above and beyond always and is always trying to find ways to help students and get them into a better situation."
OMS Assistant Principal Carolyn Cregar agreed.
"I would say the same thing about Kristen is she is first and foremost always trying to figure out ways to help kids and not just in math but in any subject," added Cregar.
Kindergarten teacher Kylee Ribant got the vote from Daniel Axford's staff and parents.
"In just the couple years she's been here, she has really developed her leadership skills (and the) staff really turns to her for her expertise in instruction," DA Principal Chad Boyd said. "She's just a real natural leader in our building. We received many nominations from both parents and teachers."
One comment that a parent wrote summed it up perfectly, according to Boyd.
"When my husband and I enrolled our son in school we never dreamed his kindergarten teacher would become possibly the most important teacher in his life," wrote the parent. "As this journey continues, we feel that Kylee's honesty, integrity, open heartedness, friendship, collegiality and support have taken her from teacher to family."
Lakeville Principal Kristy Gibson-Marshall gave kudos to Fifth Grade Teacher Ryan Wasmund.
"One of things that our staff said about him was that 'he is a dedicated professional who puts students first.' That's such an important thing to us as educators – that our students are first and he is such a great marker for me that they recognize that in him," Gibson-Marshall said. "He is well prepared for class and all about maximizing student learning. He uses technology and mentors a lot of our staff on technology. The whole thing ends back with he cares about his students. Ryan is a pretty fabulous addition to Lakeville."
Due to the absence of Oxford Elementary Principal Jeff Brown, Leonard First Grade Teacher Jessica Peyerk spoke on behalf of OES's nominee Fourth Grade Teacher Jillian Opalach, who she had the opportunity to work with while at Leonard.
"She was a very enthusiastic (and) dedicated teacher right away when she started at Leonard. She was great having on the staff at Leonard and we missed her and now OES is lucky to have her," Peyerk said. "She is definitely inspiring and enthusiastic and ready to teach and cares about what she does. "
Peyerk got the nod from staff and parents for Teacher of the Year, not only at Leonard, but representing the whole district.
"For me to try and paint the picture of what kind of teacher Jessica is, we could be here for a long, long time," said Leonard Principal Paul McDevitt, who's had the pleasure of not only working with Peyerk, but having his daughter go through her class.
"The way she engages those lower level kids is amazing. When I came from high school down to the elementary and I walked into her classroom the first time and just watched her interaction with kids, I was like, wow, that takes a lot of work to keep that group of kids doing what she wants them to do and she does it through song, dance, clickers and she's got so many neat ways to engage the kids throughout the entire day," McDevitt said. "When you're working with a bunch of 6 year-olds and you have 27 six-year-olds all day long everyday and you have teach them to read and stuff it's a big job and nobody does it better than Jessica Peyerk."
While she works at multiple elementary schools in Oxford, Music Teacher Peggy Mueller got the praise from Clear Lake Principal Brad Bigelow.
"Not only is she a tremendous teacher, but more importantly she is a tremendous person,' Bigelow said. "She is definitely a role model we put in front of kids every single day, which is just fantastic because I know she is in front of my daughter every single day. Peggy's passion for teaching, her energy is just infectious."
Last, but certainly not least, Oxford High School Principal Todd Dunckley recognized Language Arts Teacher Crystal Corbett.
"Over the past few years I've watched her go from a very good teacher to a great teacher," said Dunckley. "She was always that soft spoken, warm hearted, caring person . . . She really became a leader in the staff."
Dunckley noted that Corbett has also been "a real force in revising the English curriculum at the high school." The time Corbett gives for free to tutoring and helping kids on weekends or after school does not go unnoticed to Dunckley's eyes.
"The week before (Spring) break I sat in a meeting with her as one student was ready to throw in the towel on in his senior year and I watched her turn him and make him believe again to the point where he's not only going to graduate but he's very confident about himself and I give all credit to a master teacher," he said. "OurTteacher of the year, Crystal Corbett, I couldn't be prouder to have on our staff."
Oakland Schools also recognizes bus drivers and two of Oxford's drivers Ann Weeden and Joyce Butterfield were recipients of the "Excellence in Transportation" Award.
"Ann is my right hand. I can't say enough about her," said Transportation Supervisor Bruce Biebuyck.
Butterfield has been transporting students back and forth from school since 1977. She retired from Lake Orion Schools in 2005 and joined Oxford Schools as a substitute driver.
"Subs, if they don't want to sub they don't have to sub. They can go do what they want, go shopping or whatever," explained Biebuyck. One year Ann was here every day. She never says 'no' and we've had a hard time getting drivers this year and I don't know if (she's) missed a day this year. She goes way above and beyond. If she's between runs, she'll come and take my keys and go wash my truck or go out there and sweep the floors. I wish I had 10 of her."
Thank you teachers and staff for your continuous hard work.
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.