The Westerville Education Foundation (WEF) named three educators Teacher of the Month for September – Kristine Konik, Heritage Middle School; Katherine Wirthlin, McVay Elementary; and Kristina Cameron, Westerville North High School.
Kris Konik is the Media Specialist/Librarian at Heritage Middle School and was nominated for this award by fellow board members at Westerville Partners for Education (WPE). “Mrs. Konik has created a nurturing, inviting space in Heritage’s Media Center. She is always thinking of how to make books more accessible to her students or how to cultivate growing minds with games or maker activities.” Konik also runs the Scholastic Book Fair, volunteered her time to be on the District Middle School Redesign Committee and dedicated time to mentor young ladies at Heritage for a monthly luncheon meeting. Konik has led Heritage’s Future City team and they showcased their project at WPE’s annual Starry Night Festival. Konik also has served on the board of WPE since August of 2017. “I am not sure how she fits everything into a 24 hour day, but Westerville is truly blessed to have Kris Konik sharing her excitement with Westerville students,” says WPE President, Julie McClure.
Katie Wirthlin, art teacher at McVay Elementary, goes above and beyond with her innovative art lessons. According to her nominator, she regularly reaches out to artists, including international artists, to show different types of art to her students. In addition, Wirthlin created McVay’s only after-school club – Art Academy – that was so successful in its first year that she expanded it two sessions. Championing inclusive creative spaces, Wirthlin dedicates time and resources to ensure McVay’s differently-abled students not only enjoy art, but also are able to participate and create their own art to the best of their ability. Wirthlin collaborated with Westerville Partners for Education’s (WPE) annual Starry Night Festival showcasing suspended ceramic planets designed and crafted by McVay’s differently-abled students. “It is clear Katie Wirthlin goes above and beyond to help Westerville students. Her dedication and time show how passionate Ms. Wirthlin is about bringing art to everyone,” said Julie McClure, President of WPE.
Kristie Cameron is an ESL Teacher and Advisor for the International Club at Westerville North High School. North Principal Kurt Yancey described Cameron as “a dedicated teacher who works tirelessly to ensure the success of her students,” also noting that “Her commitment to our school is amazing and she is an excellent choice for the WEF Teacher of the Month.” Her nominator cited her work on two upcoming projects that celebrate the diversity of Westerville City Schools. She is coordinating “Hands Across Westerville,” which will take place at September’s 4th Friday, and she serves on the planning committee for the city’s annual Community Culture Celebration on September 30. She is also taking the lead on a Learning Walks project at North. “Her dedication to supporting her students and commitment to creating awareness around the issues that affect them is truly admirable,” said her nominator.
The Westerville Education Foundation’s Teacher of the Month Program is sponsored by Education First Credit Union and ThisWeek Community News, with support from Otterbein University. The Mission of the Westerville Education Foundation is to enrich the learning experience and broaden the minds of our students through the funding and support of innovative educational programs. To nominate, give or join, please visit www.WestervilleEducationFoundation.com.