WEF Teachers of the Month for February 2020

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The Westerville Education Foundation (WEF) named three educators Teacher of the Month for February: Joshua Ice, Blendon Middle School; Natalie Gardner, Mark Twain Elementary School; and Scotti Smith, McVay Elementary School.

Joshua Ice was nominated by the parent of one of his students, Meagan Hogan. “My daughter only has choir every other day, but I know when she does, it will be a better day,” Meagan said. Meagan attributes an increased passion for choir at Blendon to Mr. Ice stating “The amount of choir students almost tripled this year, and it is because everyone wants to be taught by him.” In addition to being a phenomenal vocal coach and leader, he has also provided the students with opportunities to sing to the community around the holidays and also raise money for Neighborhood Bridges with their “caroling for a cause.” Mr. Ice has also successfully directed a musical at Blendon which was a huge success last year and promises to be again this year. “He will definitely go the extra mile to help better the lives of his students!”

Natalie Gardner is a first grade teacher at Mark Twain Elementary who was nominated by parents of two different students, Jillian Lang and Sarah Simpson. Both nominators describe the positive impact Natalie has on her students. “When you walk into her classroom you feel a sense of comfort and calm which you wouldn’t think a first grade class full of 6/7 year old would be described,” said Ms. Lang. Ms. Lang described how helpful Natalie has been in supporting her child who struggles with anxiety. “Her words seemed to soothe the children and encourage them at the same time. She is so dedicated to my child’s education she continued to tutor him the entire summer as well as continuing after school this year during second grade.” Sarah talks about the great results she has seen in Natalie’s class. “Miss Gardner is a wealth of enthusiasm and she does an excellent job of motivating the children in her classroom to learn and strive for success.” 

Scott Smith was nominated by parent, Jenna Smith, whose daughter was new to the school this year. She describes how comfortable Scotti has made her in this new environment. “She has a knack for finding out what a student needs and going the extra mile to make sure that student gets it,” said Jenna. McVay Principal Jim Swain also described the unique way Scotti has of finding a way to connect with and engage each of her students. She creates exciting projects to develop their problem-solving skills and creativity, has a meaningful “Student of the Month” award system that rewards positive behavior, and utilizes the 3D Printer in a creative way to produce photo frames for the students. Says Jenna, “I really hope she receives this award because she definitely deserves it!”

Learn more about WEF online at www.westervilleeducationfoundation.com.