Rotary to Honor Teacher of the Year
September 19, 2007
Rotary Members Honor PSD 2007 Teacher of the Year & Finalists
More than 225 Fort Collins Rotary International Club members gathered September 25, at the Fort Collins Marriott to recognize finalists and to name the clubs’ Poudre School District 2006 Teacher of the Year.
Dr. Larry Penley, President of Colorado State University, was the keynote speaker.
The three Teacher of the Year finalists were selected from among 27 teachers recognized by the three Rotary Clubs last year as teachers of the month, and the winner will be announced at the luncheon. This is the 13th consecutive year the Fort Collins Rotary Clubs have presented the Teacher of the Year awards.
Nominees and the winner were selected because they embody the Rotary International principles of service, integrity, recognition of individual worthiness, advancement of international understanding, and personal responsibility to society, according to Tom Goding, Rotary chairperson for the Teacher of the Year program.
Background and nominators’ comments on the three finalists follow:
Janice Martinez, math teacher at Lesher Junior High, was honored by the Breakfast Club. Janice is an outstanding relationship-oriented educator with a thorough knowledge of mathematical principals, and a deep understanding of her students’ needs and the learning process. She uses creative methods to capture her students’ attention and get them excited about math. One popular project, called “Lesher Wants to Know,” involves students surveying the student body on topics of interest to the junior high age group and then analyzing their own data.
In addition to teaching, Janice also contributes to the Lesher community in many other ways. She took on the role of Assessment Coordinator, and gained staff support for data driven instruction by promoting collaboration in the model of a true professional learning community which has contributed to a more unified effort by Lesher faculty to assist with the school improvement plan, improve test scores and ultimately increase student achievement. She also serves on a staff development team, planning and facilitating the four staff development days.
Janice has also served as student council sponsor and math counts coach. She is a regular participant in the annual CSU/Community Homecoming 5K race, along with other Lesher staff.
Jeannie Craft, first grade teacher at Irish Elementary, was nominated by the Downtown Club. Jeannie has taught in Poudre School District for more than 20 years and exemplifies what it means to “be of service” to others through her work as a teacher, advocate for parent involvement in school and as a community volunteer.
Jeannie loves making a difference in the life of a child, encouraging them to dream and work hard to realize their dreams. She supports parents being their child’s first teacher and asks parents to consider what they can do to help their child be successful and reach their goals. For the past several years, she has co-chaired the Irish School Council with a parent. She has been instrumental in the increase in authentic parent involvement at Irish by advancing ideas about how parents can support PSD’s mission of educating every child, every day.
Jeannie is active in community support of the school, helping the school form partnerships with organizations to help provide students with winter clothes, eyeglasses, food, and hygiene products.
In addition to teaching, Jeannie is active in the community, volunteering her time at Salud; the Poudre Valley Hospital Foundation; Book Trust; and the Houska/Houska Memorial Day Race, which raises money to support the bone marrow program at PVH. During the summer, she volunteers by teaching the Wolf Paws Program at Poudre Valley Mobile Home Park.
Steve Wahlfeldt, journalism and language arts teacher at Rocky Mountain High School, was honored by the Foothills Club. He has taught 17 years in Poudre School District and enjoys the “rush of riding the wave of student learning, which generates new ideas and even greater learning.”
Students thrive in the learning experience that Steve offers. He consistently teaches journalism at the highest public school level possible, connecting the experience of high school newspaper journalism to the mission of responsibly keeping the public informed. He gives of his own time to maximize the success of his students, producing a quality student newspaper.
In addition, Steve is professionally involved in journalism education at the national and state level, serving as an executive board member of the Colorado High School Press Association. He also served as President, as Newspaper Sweepstakes Contest coordinator, and as Past-President. He has been nominated for the 2007 Dow Jones Newspaper Fund’s National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year. Additionally, he served on the local state planning committee for the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, which was held in Denver in April 2007.He is still an active journalist and provides many opportunities to link his students to mentors actively working in the profession.
Outside of the school, Steve has been a local youth baseball and basketball coach at the little league/recreation and competitive level.
For more information, contact Deb Hooker, PSD Communications, at 490-3549.