The Westerville Education Foundation (WEF) named three educators Teacher of the Month for December – Lauren Routsong, Hawthorne Elementary School; Susan Zimmerman, McVay Elementary School; and Doug Hildreth, Westerville Central High School.
Lauren Routsong is a third grade teacher at Hawthorne Elementary School. Her nominator and fellow teacher, Katie Ensell, describes her as a teacher who goes above and beyond to create an inclusive classroom and to build quality relationships with students and parents. Routsong’s commitment to supporting her students in and out of the classroom is demonstrated by her advocacy to provide food for pupils with food insecurities, providing materials for students to continue their learning at home, and her engaging, hands-on lessons in her classroom. Her nominator also highlights her supportive communication with parents through varying methods, including utilizing Class Dojo, a classroom app, to ensure that parents receive updates, photos, behaviors, and messages. She also takes the time to make personal phone calls to share positive feedback with parents. Ensell says, “Lauren is an amazing educator. She is constantly working hard in order to help all of her students to find success.”
Fifth-grade Teacher Sue Zimmerman was nominated by the parent of a student she had last year at McVay Elementary. Her nominator describes the lasting impact that having Zimmerman as a teacher has had on her daughter. “Ms. Zimmerman inspired Caroline to work with her strengths and abilities in the classroom and outside the classroom as a volunteer with Girls on the Run. She worked and ran side by side with Caroline, modeling encouraging instruction.” The nominator describes how Caroline, exhibiting behavior she learned from Zimmerman, helped a younger child struggling to play a game at a recent event by coaching, demonstrating and encouraging him and even modifying the game to help him achieve success using his own personal strengths. Says her nominator, “I am very grateful for Ms. Zimmerman and the model she chose to be to my daughter. Maybe, one day, a mother will tell a similar story about her teacher, Ms. Caroline.”
Doug Hildreth is a band director at Westerville Central High School and, as head director of the Warhawk Marching Band, is a strong proponent for music in Westerville schools. “His love and belief of music is contagious and students pick up on his enthusiasm,” said his nominator, Chris Palma. Hildreth has had a significant impact on the Westerville Central Marching Band in the last year, turning it from a competition band to a festival band in order to make music more approachable to students and accepted by their peers. He has worked closely with the administration to integrate band into students’ schedules so that it will not interfere with other curriculum courses that pupils need to take. Hildreth has worked alongside Central Music Boosters over the past few years to make Central’s Breakfast with Santa a great success, according to Music Boosters Vice President Laurel Danalewich Reinoehl. Hildreth is also a Westerville Education Foundation Fall 2018 grant recipient. He was awarded $2,300 for his AP Music Theory Piano Lab Project to purchase 10 Yamaha piano keyboards and stands for Central students.
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.