‘Exceptional teachers’

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 11/29/17

Teachers of the Year were recognized at the Jasper City Board of Education meeting Monday night.

Teachers Kayla Goetz (Jasper High School), Stewart Ochs (Jasper Jr. High), Kaatje Harrison (Maddox Intermediate), Cameron Channell (Memorial Park Elementary) and Amy O’Rear (T.R. Simmons Elementary) were all presented with certificates of appreciation from Jasper City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ann Jackson for their work in the school system.

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‘Exceptional teachers’

Posted

Teachers of the Year were recognized at the Jasper City Board of Education meeting Monday night.

Teachers Kayla Goetz (Jasper High School), Stewart Ochs (Jasper Jr. High), Kaatje Harrison (Maddox Intermediate), Cameron Channell (Memorial Park Elementary) and Amy O’Rear (T.R. Simmons Elementary) were all presented with certificates of appreciation from Jasper City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ann Jackson for their work in the school system.

Jackson read letters submitted during the judging process by each teacher to show their character and passion for education.

In Goetz’s letter, she said she started “play” teaching when she was 6 years old. Her mother was a teacher, and she knew she wanted to follow the same career path.

“Those of you that know Kayla know that her students love her and benefit from her being dedicated to the profession,” Jackson said, noting that Goetz helps English language learners at Jasper High and is involved with the Spanish Club, beauty pageants, the school parade, prom, leadership team and other school activities.

Goetz said in her letter, “It’s important to know that all teachers are not perfect. Not all schools are perfect, but we are constantly striving and aiming to be better, to be positive, while constructing an optimistic view towards everything and building on our combined future in that course.”

Ochs teaches seventh-grade math at Jasper Jr. High, and he expressed in his letter to the board that he has a deep appreciation for the relationships he builds with students and tries to keep learning exciting.

“It’s the responsibility of that educator facilitating learning to do all within his or her power to encourage that such a student-centered learning environment prospers,” Ochs said. “Whether this involves spending countless hours aligning content objectives with student interests or making an outright fool of oneself before students to make learning a fun endeavor, that is an inherit part of the job.”

He said he doesn’t criticize students for making mistakes and recognizes it’s part of the learning process.

Jackson said, “If you can make math fun, it makes a difference in how you’re able to learn, and our students love and appreciate all that he does.”

In Channell’s letter, she said her career was initially in business, but she quickly discovered she was meant to be an educator.

“The reason we’re in this business is to love and care for children, those that are placed in our life,” Channell said.

As Memorial Park Elementary’s Teacher of the Year, Channell said she wears many hats as an educator, but wouldn’t trade a second of her time spent with students.

“Some days I’m a custodian, nurse, parent, friend, counselor, cheerleader and caregiver. Everyday I have the honor to be their teacher,” Channell said. “I do my best to help students connect to each other and the world around them, and it starts in the classroom and spreads far beyond our walls.”

In O’Rear’s letter that Jackson read, she said it’s her goal to let her students at T.R. Simmons know they are loved, regardless of what they may be dealing with at home. Jackson said O’Rear lives by the quote, “Students who are loved at home come to school to learn. Students who are not come to school to be loved.”

O’Rear said in her letter that it’s easy to become discouraged by paperwork and testing, but teachers should never forget their true mission.

“We enter this profession for the love of learning and the love of children,” O’Rear said. “Instead of griping and complaining in the teachers lounge, we need to be building each other up and bolstering the morale in our buildings.”

In Harrison’s application letter for Teacher of the Year, she discussed how she tries to open up her students’ eyes at Maddox Intermediate to the world around them.

“The bulk of our focus in education should be building on natural inquiry and knowledge about topics under study,” Harrison said.

Jackson said the school system is thankful for Harrison’s dedication and love for her students.

“Kaatje has brought to us an incredible sense of engagement and excitement in the classroom, and we are so proud of her,” Jackson said.

Harrison added in her letter, “Let curiosity be your guide and watch knowledge bloom.”

The school board also named O’Rear as Elementary District Teacher of the Year. Goetz received the same honor for her work at the secondary level.

“You’ll hear a common theme through all these exceptional teachers, and that’s to engage students,” Jackson said. “We have some really outstanding teachers in our system.”

The Jasper Viking Volleyball Team was also recognized Monday evening by Jasper City Schools Athletic Director Jonathan Jordan and Jackson for setting a record during their season (57-5) — the best winning percentage in school history.

Jordan said the students were 6A Area 11 Champions, 6A North Super Regional Champions for the first time in school history and 6A State Volleyball Tournament runners up for the first time in school history. Players and coaches received certificates and plaques of recognition.

“They brought a tremendous amount of excitement to Jasper,” Jackson said.