Excellence in Teaching Awards Celebrate Cleveland Educators

Composite of portraits of Excellence in Teaching award winners

We are thrilled to unite with The George Gund Foundation, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), and the Cleveland Teachers Union, to honor outstanding educators within Cleveland public schools.

This week, we will celebrate the inaugural Excellence in Teaching Awards, which recognize teachers in our community who demonstrate creativity, innovation and instructional expertise in classrooms across the district from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Ten winners were selected, and 18 additional teachers were chosen as honorees, from a very competitive pool of candidates. The winners receive a $5,000 prize and will also be sharing their teaching practices with peers in the 2016-2017 school year.

The Excellence in Teaching Awards promote the Cleveland Plan to ensure every child in Cleveland attends a high-quality school and every neighborhood has a multitude of great schools from which families can choose.

Meet the 2016 Winners below, and learn more about the winners and the 18 honorees right here:

Ms. Dora Bechtel, Campus International, 2nd-3rd grade teacher
“Ms. Bechtel is an amazing teacher, a master at her craft, who knows the content and deeply engages her students.”

Ms. Stephanie Chiariello, John Marshall School of Civic and Business Leadership, 10th grade Social Studies teacher
“Ms. Chiariello provides the vision we need to ensure we are staying true to our mission of creating principled civic and business leaders who will foster a more sustainable and equitable city.”

Ms. Molly Gus, Scranton School, 6-8th grade English-Language Arts teacher
“Ms. Gus empowers her students to set high standards for themselves and soar above those standards. She is amazingly creative, always seeking new ways of doing things and looking for professional development opportunities.”

Ms. Laura Masloski, Nathan Hale School, Preschool teacher
“Ms. Masloski makes learning an awesome adventure. She works tirelessly to make sure work is differentiated for each student based on their current ability. She continuously shares innovative strategies and ideas gained from her own research.”

Ms. Holly Morell, Joseph M. Gallagher School, 3rd grade teacher
“Ms. Morell has become a cornerstone of what an excellent teacher looks like. She creates such importance around the educational environment that students do not want to let her down. She encourages her peers and spends countless hours coaching and visiting with them if they are struggling.”

Ms. Christine Richard, New Tech East, 10-11th grade Social Studies teacher
“Ms. Richard was able to inspire her students to create a campaign for human rights issues in the nation and abroad, teaching students that even as young adults, they can have a tremendous impact on the world around them through advocacy.”

Ms. Christine Sims, Cleveland School of Science and Medicine, 11th grade English teacher
“Ms. Sims has always been a classroom innovator. Her greatest strength is her ability to increase student motivation and achievement by ensuring her classroom practice is culturally aware, grounded in the real world and adolescent centered.”

Mr. Spencer Small, John Marshall School of Information Technology, 10th grade Computer Science teacher
“Mr. Small models an ideal learning environment of respect, challenge and support. He has inspired our team with his unwavering positivity and dedication to our kids and is a role model to the teachers with whom he works.”

Ms. Bonnie Whitmer, Robinson G. Jones School, Kindergarten Special Education teacher
“Ms. Whitmer has a thorough knowledge of subject matter, pedagogy and classroom management. She makes careful plans but is flexible and quickly adapts to student needs. She is a teacher’s teacher.”

Ms. Stephanie Wojtowicz, Mary B. Martin School, 4-5th grade Math and Science teacher
“Ms. Wojtowicz is motivated, positive and compassionate. She displays the highest standards of honesty and integrity and welcomes and provides support to new faculty members. She approaches students with love, respect and empathy.”