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The Ripple Effect - Staff Awards 2023-24 school year
NCS is celebrating the many great staff members who influence the lives of others and cause a "Ripple Effect" that will impact many more lives in the future. To nominate a staff member, please visit the following link: https://bit.ly/NCSRippleAward

This week's winners:
Week of April 23 - 
Darren Athey - John Clem physical education teacher
Nominated by a colleague who said, "Mr. Athey is the perfect example of the above-and-beyond teacher. He is always learning and striving to give his students the very best from big things (championing new systems, technology, and curricula for our school and the district as a whole) to little things (knowing every name, tying every shoe, and caring deeply about every student in the building). He's an outstanding teammate to every staff member at Clem, and a trusted leader in our district."

Sharon Van Kirk - Hillview 5th grade teacher
Nominated by a student who said, "I never liked school before being in Mrs. Van Kirk’s class. School didn’t make me feel very smart because of my reading. And I always felt like a burden on the teacher. With Mrs. Van Kirk, my belief in myself has improved and she breaks things down so I can understand. Come to find out I am pretty good at math and reading. Math is my new favorite subject- I didn’t have a favorite subject before. Because of Mrs. Van Kirk I feel confident, smart, worthy of extra time to learn and not a burden."

Jackie Miller - Wilson 7th grade teacher
Nominated by a colleague who said, “Jackie is a 1st year teacher, who is working really hard and doing a great job.  Jackie is fun to co-teach with and her students are always asking to go to her room to ask questions or work with her. ... She is never too busy to help a student out.  On top of being the 7th grade ELA teacher Jackie also does the yearbook and website as well.  Great job Jackie!!”

Week of April 16 - 
Olivia Haas - District and Cherry Valley Nurse
The students who nominated Olivia said, "She is so good at her job. She is very nice. She creates the best bulletin boards, including one we get to color!"

Robert Johnson - NCS Digital Science Teacher
The staff members who nominated Robert said, "He goes above and beyond for students and staff. He is always willing to help with anything." and "Whether it's lending a helping hand to fellow students struggling with their coursework, volunteering his time for various school events, or supporting teachers and staff members with their tasks, Robert consistently goes above and beyond to ensure that everyone feels supported and included."

Hope Gibson - Heritage Middle School 6th Grade Teacher
The staff member who nominated Hope said, "Hope is a second year teacher who has gone above and beyond for her students. She works hard to plan lessons to motivate her students and encourage a love of reading. She has been an amazing Team Leader and works for the good of the team and not just for herself. She has taken on many leadership roles including Student Council Advisor and BLT member."

Week of April 9 - 
Mary Cowan - Liberty Middle School 7th Grade Science Teacher
Mary was nominated by a staff member, who wrote that she "comes to school every day with such positivity and enthusiasm.  She is always willing to help and go the extra mile for her students, colleagues and parents.  Mary is such an important asset to Liberty," and a student who wrote "She does so many fun and interesting experiments and always makes taking notes exciting because you never know what jokes she'll make or what fun videos we'll watch! She makes me love going to science class every day!"

Amanda Cline - Ben Franklin 2nd Grade Teacher
Amanda was nominated by a parent who said, "she has made a huge difference in my son's life. ... Mrs. Cline has completely changed his outlook on school and I am so thankful that he is in her class this year!"

Sarah Ahrendt - NHS English Teacher
Sarah was nominated by a student, who said, "This teacher has taught me valuable lessons about life. We have shared many laughs together. I'm not afraid to ask her about anything, and she has such a positive attitude. She has proofread many of my essays and made sure everything was on point. When I'm having a bad day she always knows how to make it better. She has great advice when it comes to anything."

Week of April 2 - 
Ashley Lopez, Carson Elementary 1st Grade Teacher
Ashley was nominated by a parent who wrote that her son was "struggling immensely with his behavior from kindergarten into 1st grade. Mrs. Lopez has worked so hard to make sure my son can be successful and able to stay in school. We are seeing such an immense improvement in him this school year. It has been a building wide effort but I really feel like Ashley was a very big part of the puzzle that has helped my son blossom! Now he wants to be a teacher when he grows up."

Stephanie Rakestraw, Heritage Middle School 6th Grade Social Studies teacher
Stephanie was nominated by a colleague who wrote, "Stephanie is always doing what's best for kids! She comes with a great attitude and is the hardest worker. She goes above and beyond for all the 6th graders here. In addition, I could not ask for a better colleague. She is a team player and is always willing to help."

Brittany Ter-Saakov, Legend Elementary Secretary
Brittany was nominated by colleagues who wrote that "Brittany is the glue to our school. She is our sunshine in the morning to greet us. She is always holding many hats and doing so many different tasks that everyone needs. She truly is a blessing to Legend. She loves every kid and makes sure they know that with her hugs! Brittany is truly an exceptional person."

Week of March 11 - 
Robyn Cormican, speech pathologist at Cherry Valley Elementary
Robyn was nominated by a colleague who said she is "genuine, creative, respectful, objective, and a valuable resource for working with students who may have challenges with verbal communication."

Ashley McCafferty, 1st Grade Teacher at Hillview Elementary
Ashley was nominated by a parent who said, "She is very kind. Always helped my son when he needed it. Always pushed him when she knew he could do something but just needed to try a little harder. My son always felt comfortable with her, and would always talk about how nice and supportive she is."

Elizabeth Fry, Intervention Specialist at Newark High School
Elizabeth was nominated by a colleague who said she "goes above and beyond for every student not just the ones in her classroom but also at multiple ASA programs and spend her on money on making sure the kids have what they need to be successful in learning."

Week of March 5 - 
Erin Jackson, Kindergarten teacher at McGuffey Elementary
Erin was nominated by a parent who said she always goes above and beyond for her daughter "and all of her classmates. She is so kind, compassionate, and the integrity she exerts everyday distinguishes her from even the best of peers! She’s truly the best and we appreciate her so much!" A staff member said "Erin is the epitome of kindness, love, acceptance, and caring. When I walk into her classroom, I know I am going to witness remarkable things. Her creativity amazes me. She takes ideas from lessons and creates fun activities the students can do to help with other areas of their learning, such as fine motor skills..."

Ann Davis, Dean of Students at Cherry Valley and John Clem
Ann was nominated by a parent who said she "has been instrumental in transforming our school district into a remarkable hub for opportunity and learning. With her unwavering dedication and commitment, she has created an environment where every student is treated fairly and given equal opportunities to thrive. Mrs. Davis understands the importance of providing a level playing field for all students, regardless of their background or circumstances."

Week of Feb. 26 - 
Laurena Collins, NCS Digital math teacher
Laurena was nominated by a student who said, "She is honestly one of the best teachers I have ever had. She is so sweet and caring. I’m so glad to have her as my teacher. I honestly don’t know if I could get through class without her. She always knows how to light up someone’s day. She’s just a ray of sunshine and I love it."

Tod King, Liberty Middle School 7th grade social studies teacher
Tod was nominated by a parent who said, "My 7th grader loves his class and has learned so much in history. He looks forward to his class every day," and a fellow staff member who said, "Tod is a wonderful teacher that truly cares for his students. He makes learning fun and memorable for students."

Cortni Athey, McGuffey Elementary 3rd grade teacher
Cortni was nominated by a parent and former student who said she is her favorite teacher and has made a great impact in the student's life.

Week of Feb. 19 - 
Lauren Dutiel, 3rd Grade Teacher at Legend Elementary
The parent who nominated her said that Mrs. Dutiel "has been very kind and understanding to our son. She is a great teacher."

Ali Olasin Scott, Hillview Elementary Secretary
The staff member who nominated Mrs. Scott said "She knows what we need before we even ask! She is always supportive, helpful, caring, and thoughtful in her daily gestures and encounters with students and staff members. This building runs smoothly in a large part due to her contributions and daily effort to make this building the best it can be!"

Janella Caudill, Newark High School Art Teacher
The parent who nominated Miss Caudill said she "has inspired my boy to look forward to her class and (he) has never before shared with me who he has picked as a favorite teacher."

Week of Feb. 12 - 

Mark Lyons, Maintenance
Mark was nominated by a colleague who said he is "always willing to come and help us out whenever we call.  He is always pleasant and can fix anything!"

Carol Smith, 8th grade Language Arts Teacher at Wilson Middle School
Carol was nominated by a colleague who said she "always goes above and beyond to help others out. She is knowledgeable of the content area and will help in any way need.  Carol is often found working with students and her love for reading and passion for ELA shows through."

Sarah Morrison, Kindergarten Teacher at Hillview Elementary
Sarah was nominated by a parent who said she is "Excellent in teaching. She has great communication, provides so much support and guidance to 2 of my children, such a positive impact on me and does great encouraging my kids showing them they can do it!"

Week of Feb. 5 - 
Amber Keene, 3rd grade teacher at McGuffey Elementary
She was nominated by a colleague who said, "she is a wonderful team member. She works so hard on making slides and material that we need as a team to teach a topic. She is very passionate about teaching and works very hard every day make sure the kids are learning."

Amy Hamilton, 5th grade teacher at John Clem Elementary
Amy was nominated by a former student who said, "I´m nominating her because when I was in her class, she would help me. ... If I got into drama, she helped me and dealt with the drama. And if she saw me crying, she would ask me what's wrong and help me and find out why I was crying or who made me cry."

Week of Jan. 22 - 
Kristyn Malanowski, Mentor Teacher
Kristyn's colleagues nominated her because "She has gone above and beyond as a mentor teacher since I started with NCS last year. She is always there for me when I need to vent or have a rough day. On the flip side, she is always there for me to celebrate the wins. I wouldn't have survived my first year of 5th grade without her, nor would I have been so confident going into my second year."

Cara Noyes, Music Teacher at Cherry Valley Elementary
Colleagues who nominated Cara said, "Cara not only plans fun and educational music activities for our students, but is also involved in multiples areas to help Cherry Valley become a well-oiled school. ... I don't know how she juggles it all but, Cara is a fine example of our Cherry Valley Family." The students who nominated her said "because she helps me learn my music I like to learn and also understands me," and "she is so nice during classes and doesn't give up."

Renee Duvall, Intervention Specialist at Liberty Middle School
Renee's colleagues said she "is an amazing person and teacher.  She is passionate about helping all students succeed in middle school.  She works endless hours preparing for IEP meetings and planning with her cohorts each week in science and math. ... Her ripple effect on Liberty is noticed daily by students and staff," and "She finds a way to ensure all students understand concepts that they are presented, no matter what she has on her own plate.  She is patient, kind, caring and encouraging day in and day out."

Week of Dec. 11 - 
Lori Bradford, Title Reading Teacher at Legend Elementary
Lori was nominated by multiple colleagues who said she is "extremely patient, kind, helpful, and knowledgeable. She is our “go to person” when it comes to reading. I feel extremely lucky to have Lori as a colleague because she is always supportive and always takes the time to help in any way she can." ... "Lori is always kind to everyone and really cares about students learning to read. She volunteers to read with one of my students she taught last year whenever she has a few free minutes in the afternoon. I know the student appreciates this and so do I. She is such a positive person."..."Lori has the most kind, gentle and engaging way of interacting with the students she works with and encounters daily. From a warm smile to a genuine interest in the thoughts of students, she personifies what it means to be an engaged, connected, compassionate teacher. She has always been kind and considerate in her dealings with staff and will always work with teachers for the good of her students. I have worked with Lori for many years and she has always been a teacher example who I and many others have wanted to emulate. She is far overdue for recognition for all of her efforts!"

Taoni Irons, 8th grade Math Teacher at Wilson Middle School
Taoni was nominated by a colleague who said "Miss Irons works very hard to reach every single one of her students. She has a great rapport with students and she is always willing to give her time to help students who need it. As her colleague, she's a great team player. I can count on her if I need some help and it's great being able to bounce ideas off of her when we are planning our lessons."

Joseph Dowling, English Teacher at Newark High School
Joseph was nominated by a student who said "He inspires me to do good. He is very inspiring, and I know other students agree with me on this. He is very honest with us and doesn't belittle. He is my favorite teacher."

Week of Dec. 4 - 
Amy Cox, Dean of Students at Ben Franklin and Carson Elementary schools
Amy was nominated by a fellow staff member who said "she's always willing to help out and has a positive attitude and smile every day."

Cary Hock, Art Teacher at Ben Franklin and Carson Elementary schools
Cary was nominated by a staff member who said "Mr. Hock has been an amazing mentor and has shared a wealth of information about the district. He has gone above and beyond to help me in my first year in the district. He has helped guide me to be successful and have a great introduction to NCS."


Jayann Faller, Head Cook - NCS Food Service
Jayann was nominated by staff members for her work in organizing a fundraiser to benefit the families impacted by the Tuscarawas Valley bus accident, as well as her role in organizing food for the Citizen of the Month luncheon.

Week of Nov. 20 - 
Tyler King, Band Director at Liberty Middle School
Mr. King was nominated by multiple students who said he has impacted their love of music: "Mr. King has made my life brighter and full of fun;" "He is always there for mee...He has helped me through panic attacks, he is such a kind man."

Kathleen Gilligan, kindergarten teacher at Cherry Valley Elementary
Ms. Gilligan was nominated by parents who said she is an amazing teacher and has an incredible impact on her students.

Matt Phillips, Dean of Students at NCS Digital
Mr. Phillips was nominated by a colleague who said he "works diligently to make sure students get what they need to graduate and be successful. He is a constant source of support and inspiration for the staff at NCS Digital.


Week of Nov. 13 - 
Rachel Baughn, 2nd Grade Teacher at McGuffey Elementary
Rachel was nominated by a parent who said she had a huge impact on her son's feelings toward school. "She spoke to him in a way that made him want to listen. She held him accountable without making him feel like he was a bad kid. I am forever grateful for not only her teaching him, but the impact she had on his self-esteem."

Pat Carter, Food Service Employee
Pat was nominated by a colleague who said he is "selfless and always willing to do what is necessary even when not called upon. Pat is a staple in Newark and you can find him at nearly every sporting event in some capacity from youth to high school. He is always lending a hand and his time when it is not necessary."

Pam Vaughn, Preschool Classroom Aide
Pam was nominated by a colleague who said "she is always willing to help out and jump in during the school day. She is responsible for our crafts and she does a great job finding new crafts that the students love."

Week of Nov. 6 - 
Gemma Zimmerman, Community Outreach and Special Programs Coordinator
Gemma was nominated by a colleague who said that "she is always pleasant and always helps out others."

Samantha Smith, Intervention Specialist at John Clem Elementary
Samantha was nominated by a staff member and a community member who said she "is so amazing to work with. She has such a wealth of knowledge and is a great resource to have! Sammy is always willing to help and step outside of her comfort zone to goes above and beyond for fellow colleagues and students alike be it her own or not!" and "Samantha loves each student and plans according to each of their needs."

Jersie Walcott, Assistant Transportation Supervisor
Jersie was nominated by a staff member who appreciated when she recently helped to cover a middle school bus route and get students home safely and on time. Jersie is cheerful, cares about students and wants to help all students get to and from school safely.

Week of Oct. 30 - 
Renee French, Reading Recovery/Title 1 Reading at Ben Franklin Elementary 
Renee was nominated by a parent who said, "Mrs. French always goes above and beyond to make each student feel special in their own way. Every morning she waits at the door at Ben Franklin and greets everyone with a smile no matter how they approach her. Even the toughest kids she gives her best effort to make sure they get the support they need. Mrs. French is also known to attend after school activities of kids who ask. Mrs. French has been a huge influence in my children’s lives."

Ashley Savage, Student Advocate at Heritage Middle School
Ashley was nominated by a colleague who said, "Ashley cares very much about "her kids" and is always looking out for them and strengthening relationships with them. When she sees a student struggling emotionally or with basic needs, she does everything she can to take care of them. She also empowers them to take care of themselves. Whether it is making sure they have shoes or food, working out a problem with a friend, or making sure they have a haircut, Ashley always goes above and beyond!"

John-Paul Kemmenoe, 5th Grade Teacher at John Clem Elementary
John-Paul was nominated by students who wrote that he was fun to have as a teacher, "brought joy to everyone, (and) his science projects were SUPER fun" and "he is a great baker."

Week of Oct. 23 - 
Brianna Stewart: preschool teacher - Brianna was nominated by a parent who said, "she has made a huge positive impact on my child's education and always goes above and beyond for him."

Patti Mackintosh: social worker at Carson Elementary - Patti was nominated by a staff member who said, "Patti is always willing to help, whether it’s to help a student or another staff member. She is always putting others first, without a second thought. Patti deserves to be recognized for all she does!"

Sarah Elliott: intervention specialist at McGuffey Elementary - Sarah was nominated by a parent and a staff member, who said she "She is by far on of the best teachers a parent could ask for. ... she has helped my son grown mature and excel so much" and she "goes above and beyond for her students."

Week of Oct. 16 - 
Bill Franks: NHS PE teacher and football coach - Bill was nominated by a staff member for his relentless positive attitude and the example he sets for students and players in the classroom, on the field and in the community.

Betsy Salyer - Cherry Valley 4th grade teacher - Betsy was nominated by a parent and a staff member for the way she cares for students and takes the time to listen.

Janelle Gordon - Liberty Middle School Intervention Specialist - Janelle was nominated by a fellow staff member because "she always gives her students and responsibilities her very best effort, and has helped out the 7th grade team immensely. Janelle is a phenomenal intervention specialist."

Week of Oct. 9 - 
Sarah Doyle - Legend Elementary teacher who was nominated by a parent who said she really cares for her students.

Sarah Annett - Wilson Middle School teacher who was nominated by a parent who said she takes the time to work with students and doesn't leave anyone behind. She creates a calm and welcoming environment for the students.

Troy Skeese - Maintenance employee who was nominated by a fellow staff member, stating that Troy is a true leader, a caring person and a staff member who goes the extra mile.

Week of Oct. 2 - 
Anna Traini - NHS Spanish Teacher who was nominated by a student who said that she "gets every student involved in class, and you can tell that she really does care about every one of her students. ... I have always seen her as a role model and a great person to look up to."

Marcy Wamer - District Curriculum Coach who was nominated by fellow staff members who said she is "constantly researching all subject areas," is "devoted to raising the scores in the district" and has a great ability to analyze and provide data to her teachers."

Elizabeth Leonard - NCS Digital teacher who was nominated by a parent who said Mrs. Leonard helped her struggling 9-year-old student love to read. "Mrs. Leonard loves what she does and genuinely cares about the kids, and her impact on me and my son will definitely last a lifetime."

Each staff member who receives the Ripple Effect Award is receiving a hydro dipped rock as well.
The rocks were dipped by students, with the help of Superintendent David Lewis and led by Ben Franklin and Carson Elementary art teacher Cary Hock:
Hydro dipped rocks