December 2016 Recognition - Teachers of the Year

Every year in November our schools select their building Teacher of the Year as part of American Education Week. Candidates are judged on the respect and admiration of colleagues, parents and students. Selection is also based on their ability to inspire and educate students of all backgrounds and abilities. The building Teachers of the Year then go through an application and interview process to be considered for District Teacher of the Year. Tonight, we honor all of our building Teachers of the Year, and we will conclude with the announcement of our District Teacher of the Year!

Barfield Early Childhood Special Education Center: Tara Dunaway

Tara started helping out in our Early Childhood program fresh out of high school in 2003. It was then that she says she felt the calling to be a teacher. In 2008 she was hired as an Instructional Assistant and she earned a teaching position in 2013.  Over the years, she has grown as a professional, combining the energy of her drive with reverence for her profession and earned the respect of her colleagues.  Whether in the classroom teaching her students in novel and fun ways, or on a committee to help the school and district continually evolve, Tara is a positive force.  She is driven by her purpose to help kids and says she has the best job on the planet and feels blessed each and every day that parents trust her to educate their children.

Boone Trail Elementary: Katie Strokotter

Dedicated.  Hard working.  Creative.  Caring.  These are only a few words that describe Katie Strokotter.  Mrs. Strokotter has been a part of the Boone Trail Family for 14 years.  She started out as one for our 1st grade teachers, and is now the tech-savvy computer teacher. She always has a “can do” attitude and makes time to help any student or staff member with a project or technology question.  She comes to work everyday with a smile and a positive attitude and greets students and staff with a kind word while asking how their day is going.  Students in her class describe her as funny, amazing and understanding. They love going to her classroom because they know she always has an exciting activity planned for them, and she makes learning fun. Boone Trail truly appreciates everything Mrs. Strokotter does to support the students and staff each and every day.


Crossroads Elementary:  Amanda Roettger

As an educator, Amanda is a model of excellence.  She is one of those dedicated teachers who continually seeks out new ideas, strategies and materials to enhance her instruction. Not only does Amanda believe that every student can learn, she is able to draw from a wide-range of instructional practices to ensure every student does learn. Amanda is an inspirational teacher who treats each student with dignity and respect.  She maintains a student-centered classroom and her students take pride in their learning. One of Amanda’s greatest strengths is her leadership skills.  Amanda is the 1st grade chair and is a member of the district ELA curriculum team. Her skills for teaching coupled with her curriculum knowledge have made her a valuable resource for the Crossroads staff.  Crossroads Elementary is proud to have Amanda Roettger as their Teacher of the Year and thanks her for making “Every Student, Every Day” a reality.


Discovery Ridge Elementary:  Callee Barrett

Ms. Barrett’s positivity is inspirational to colleagues. You leave every interaction with her encouraged and more committed than ever to students and their success.  Ms. Barrett builds a caring climate for her 28 young learners by starting each day off with a relationship-building class meeting. She understands that each child is a unique learner and differentiates for them to help them be successful. Two of her kindergarten friends shared that “she’s nice because she hugs people when they’re sad” and when we do a good job “she let’s us have dance parties!”

Ms. Barrett is active in the life of Discovery Ridge. She serves on the Character Committee and develops opportunities for staff to build caring relationships with each other. Her students make great gains because she builds a safe, caring learning environment for each one.


Duello Elementary:  Andrea (“Andi”) Swantner

Mrs. Swantner is a kindergarten teacher who works to close the achievement gap in our youngest learners.  She truly believes that every person and child in our building is a leader.  She knows her students and their strengths-giving her the ability to empower them to step up into leadership roles. Andrea is a leader in collaboration and professional development.  Often, you see colleagues in her room asking for or seeking her advice.  She is highly regarded and has done an outstanding job making PD enjoyable for ALL staff members.  Mrs. Swantner is an educational innovator. She is always pushing the norms to be creative and influential for her colleagues and our community. Andi believes that her role does not begin or end in the classroom.  Mrs. Swantner gives an extraordinary amount of her personal time to ensure that her students have exciting days at school and the resources to help them succeed and develop into lifelong learners.


Green Tree Elementary:  Pam Winter

Pam’s love and genuine devotion to her students is demonstrated in everything she does. She is more than a teacher. When students walk through the doors, she acts as a counselor, crisis manager, and a champion for students’ needs. She is also a true innovator. This year, her classroom has transitioned to the workshop model, allowing students more freedom and personal investment in their work. Her classroom is designed to help students hone their artistic skills as well as support other academic areas. In addition to teaching, Pam acts as an advocate for student needs. Her dedication to teaching students with a wide range of abilities is evident in her work with the CDL classroom, for which she designs a special curriculum. She also fights for equitable and accessible tools and equipment for all her students. Her kind smile, warm heart, and passion for teaching makes students want to come to come to school every day.

Heritage Primary:  Amanda Canty

Amanda constantly tries to determine how to better support every learner!  She is a wealth of ELA professional development and such an asset to Heritage and the WSD.  Heritage has been directly affected by her expertise and her training at NY Teachers College. When you are around Amanda, you want to be a better teacher! She is a great role model and she inspires her students to care deeply about each other and everyone around them. There is such a sense of love and family when you enter her classroom.  But Amanda's passion for students doesn't stop at her classroom door.  She cares about every student and classroom at Heritage.  She is always complimenting students and leading by example. She is so involved in so many areas of our school and district from PBIS to curriculum planning- she does it all!  We are lucky to have her on our Team! 


Heritage Intermediate:  Tina Meyer

During her time at Heritage, Tina has developed a reputation as a teacher who excels at meeting the needs of her students. Beginning the first day of school, Tina makes it a priority to get to know each of her students’ academic and emotional needs. Along with getting to know her students, she is constantly communicating with parents-- including them as an integral part of student growth. Tina’s classroom is a wonderful environment ... She advocates for her students’ needs and doesn’t stop until she figures out a way to help them experience success. Tina is actively involved —taking on numerous roles to help Heritage continue to be a great place for students and staff. She works hard to help her colleagues and she is a role model for what it means to be an excellent teacher. 

Lakeview Elementary:  Alexa Hanna

DYNAMIC, CHARISMATIC, GENEROUS, EFFECTIVE, INFLUENTIAL, AND ENERGIZING...these are all words used to describe Mrs. Hanna.  She is a "go-getter" and her positive attitude is contagious. No matter what kind of day she is having, Alexa always has a smile to share.  

She holds high expectations with her students and utilizes many methods to differentiate her teaching.  She knows her students’ strengths and weaknesses, and instead of expecting them to adapt to her teaching style, she modifies her teaching style to adapt to them.  As a result, students feel good about themselves and are empowered with confidence.  Alexa’s dedication to Lakeview reaches far outside of her classroom walls. She serves on numerous school and district-wide committees and initiatives and is also completing her counseling hours at Timberland High School for her Master's Degree. Mrs. Hanna is a dedicated, caring, hard-working, and passionate educator.


Peine Ridge Elementary:  Lara Hodnett

Lara Hodnett has worked for Peine Ridge as the librarian for the past two years and her love of reading creates excitement among students.  Lara strives to extend her own learning and understanding with technology and to widen students’ experiences and understanding as well.  She also goes above and beyond to make sure she supports curriculum from the classroom with materials, lessons, and books.  Lara is a key to the successes we have with students at Peine Ridge.  Each week our teachers meet to collaborate and Lara attends the sessions to listen in and to ask what each team needs.  The best thing about Lara’s efforts, is she does it in such a friendly way - always willing with a smile and positive attitude.

Prairie View Elementary:  Laurie Higgins

Mrs. Higgins started at Prairie View as a long term substitute years ago. Her commitment to her students and her overall growth potential made her a perfect fit for joining the Prairie View Team.  Over the years, Laurie has shown herself to be a dedicated and motivated classroom teacher who spends a great deal of time preparing and planning rigorous and relevant lessons for her students. Laurie goes above and beyond to meet the unique needs of all of her students. She builds strong and meaningful relationships, and puts her heart and full ability into everything she does. Laurie is known for being positive and flexible in all situations, always looking for the best possible solution. She is always willing to lend a helping hand, even when her plate is already full.  Laurie consistently demonstrates a growth mindset, as she is a leader in professional learning. When summarizing the work of Mrs.  Higgins, three words come to mind:  Dedicated, Passionate, and Positive.

Frontier MS:  Matthew Gill

Coach Matt Gill is the epitome of what a Teacher of the Year should be.  He is a dedicated professional with a positive attitude, which matches the Frontier motto of "Attitude is Altitude".  He is kind, caring, and has a strong relationship with students and staff.  His friendly demeanor and the constant smile on his face are just two ways he shows that his students' best interests are his number one priority.  Not only is he willing to go above and beyond in the classroom, but he is also willing to take on extra duties.  A few years ago, he started the FMS Archery Club, which has been wildly successful and reaches a diverse group of students.  Additionally, this year, he was more than willing to totally rearrange his first hour teaching schedule in order to meet the needs of a student who needed specialized instruction. Matt serves as a phenomenal example to students and staff.  

Tasha Morris is the South Middle School
Teacher of the Year and she sent her regrets that she could not be here this evening...

Wentzville MS:  Laura Weisacosky

Laura has been a teacher at Wentzville Middle School for the past fourteen years. Her passion for Science led her to participate for several years on the Science Curriculum Team, she coached the middle school track team for three years and she is a current member of WE Lead. Laura has helped to develop the WMS Stream Program with the state of Missouri into an integral part of the ecology unit which offers students an opportunity to monitor the health of Peruque Creek.   Mrs. Weisacosky was nominated by numerous past and current students. One wrote: “She always helped me with my work. I looked forward to her class every day and she is super funny.” Another shared...“She always taught us well and had a lot of fun labs. I always looked forward to her class and field trips in Science.”


Holt High School:  Deborah George

Debi has taught at Holt since 2012. Her creativity and humility are two of her best attributes. One might walk into her classroom to see students acting out part of Frankenstein, participating in book club discussions, or having individual writing conferences. Student work is proudly displayed on the ceiling and walls of her classroom. She is not afraid to try new methods and she participates in an ongoing book study group with colleagues from all three district high schools. Her passion and creativity help increase student learning while making it relevant and pleasant. Her first response to finding out about being named teacher of the year was that she was just honored to be part of such an incredible faculty and school district.  Debi is humble and may not like the attention, but she definitely deserves the accolades!


Liberty High School:  Sandy Pizzo

Sandy has a passion for her students that is evident in both her time in the classroom and in after-school activities. She is the sponsor of FCCLA and has on many occasions helped other organizations by volunteering her time and expertise. Sandy has worked hard this year to embrace the new ProStart curriculum, providing a positive outlook and can-do attitude. Sandy's great energy is recognized by both students and staff who said, "She is one of the first to drop something and help out anyone no matter the situation". Having three children of her own, Sandy understands the importance of individualized instruction. She truly looks at various situations from a perspective asking what is best for the student and continues the process by then advocating for the student.


Timberland High School:  Bill Petersmeyer

Bill is a Social Studies teacher at Timberland and he has had a tremendous impact on students and staff over the years.  The students that Bill has in class consistently perform at a high level.  He has shown great success with his AP Government classes in getting students to take the test and do well on it.  This is certainly a testament to great teaching.  The students describe Bill as a teacher that truly cares for their well-being and wants the best and brightest future for his students.  The Timberland staff describe Bill as someone that goes above and beyond for any staff member or student at Timberland.  Bill’s high energy and positive approach brings smiles to student and staff members faces when they see him.  Mr. Petersmeyer’s energy, enthusiasm, positive attitude, and love for students make him an ideal selection as Timberland’s Teacher of the Year. 


Ladies & Gentlemen, our 2016-2017 Teachers of the Year!

And now with the announcement of our District Teacher of the Year,
Dr. Curtis Cain…

Dr. Cain announced Duello's Andi Swantner as the WSD Teacher of the Year. Congratulations Andi and to all our Teachers of the Year!

Last modified: Wednesday, 28 December 2016, 1:30 PM