Teacher Appreciation Week is May 2-6, 2022, and we are celebrating all teachers, instructors and educators past and present. We asked United Way staff who their favorite educator has been and to reflect on the impact they made on their life. Please see the responses below:
Mrs. Nageli: Sara Naughton's favorite educator "Mrs. Nageli loved to read to us, and my time in her classroom really formed my love of books and writing. Almost two decades later when I joined the team at United Way, I was thrilled to discover that Mrs. Nageli is now a dedicated volunteer of the organization and an advocate for the Imagination Library."
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Burnside (ret.): Donnie Hatheway's favorite educator "As a 22-year-old moving out to New Mexico as a second lieutenant in the Air Force, I would not have been as prepared if it were not for Lt. Col. Burnside (ret.). He taught me to always take care of my people, live and breathe the Air Force Core Values (integrity, service and excellence), and be myself." Mr. Jim Kubaney: Mike Jaruszewicz's favorite educator "Mr. Kubaney's impact went well beyond the classroom. He treated me like an adult and not a student and instilled in me a range of important life skills like professionalism, punctuality and attention to detail."
Mrs. Amy Mason: Joelyn Bush's favorite educator
"I remember one day when I had been labeled as bossy by another teacher, I was feeling really uneasy about myself and my character. Later in the day, before dismissal, Mrs. Mason pulled me aside and looked directly into my eyes and told me I was not bossy, I was just a strong girl."
Dr. Willis "Puck" Cardot: Julie Chacona's favorite educator
"Dr. Cardot was the teacher who was excellent in the classroom and more importantly, he was always very in-tune with the many social and emotional challenges that middle school students face."
Mr. Zonfrillo: Karen Donnelly's favorite educator
"When Mr. Zonfrillo finished a book he chose two students in the class to draw a picture representing the book on a piece of white paper. He would then make the drawing permanent by using an iron and wax paper and then hang the picture in the classroom. By the end of the year there were pictures from every book hanging in the room."
Mrs. Irwin: Kerrie Grande's favorite educator
"Mrs. Irwin loved us and it showed. She was the reason that I became a teacher. I used to play school in the summer with the neighborhood kids and I was always playing the part of 'Mrs. Irwin, the school teacher.'"
Ms. Linda Castano: Marybelle Martin's favorite educator
"Ms. Castano taught with imagination and creativity--one week we were on the floor roaming like dinosaurs, the next week we were Pilgrims behind a cardboard Mayflower, later we were selling cars from Turin, Italy, to our peers. She integrated everything into a lesson plan and taught us how parts of the world connected with each other."
Ms. Kay Nichols: Joanna Peters' favorite educator
"Ms. Nichols was my AP English teacher and she was strong and loud. She was there to teach and she was very passionate about that. She taught me to love books."
Mrs. Decker: Shanna Potter's favorite educator
"Mrs. Decker gave us the opportunity to write a biography about someone in our life and I selected my grandmother. That biography has been copied and bound and passed around my family since then and now serves as a written history to remember my grandmother by."
Sister Lisa Mary: Laurie Root's favorite educator
"Sister Lisa Mary was diplomatic in guiding me as I explored new authors. I remember when I told her I wanted to read William Faulkner, one of mother's favorite writers, and had selected Absolam, Absolam! as my first foray into his body of work, she mentioned that I had selected one of his most challenging books but patiently helped guide me through the reading. I think her enthusiasm for the written word was contagious--I know it certainly was for me."
Mrs. Pomorski: Gina Schaefer's favorite educator
"Mrs. Pomorski took the time to encourage me and gave me practice sheets to work on after school and during the summer. When I had her again in fourth grade, she was amazed at how much better my handwriting had become. I will never forget her taking the time to work with me on this."
Mrs. Barlow: Chris Yuhas' favorite educator
"I remember going outside as a class to observe things around us and making a list of what we saw. We then had to write our own poem incorporating the items from our list. She made us realize we all have the potential where we never thought we might, but you will never realize that potential unless you try!"