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Sterling Heights, Utica

March 26, 2013

District, auto dealership honor UCS’ top teacher

By Brad D. Bates
C & G Staff Writer

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District, auto dealership honor UCS’ top teacher
Flickinger Elementary Principal James Steere congratulates fifth-grade teacher Angelo Harwood after Harwood was named the Utica Community Schools Teacher of the Year March 20.

He didn’t guess a number or spin a wheel, but Flickinger Elementary fifth-grade teacher Angelo Harwood had to feel like he hit the jackpot March 20.

Harwood was one of three Utica Community Schools teachers recognized as the district’s top teachers for the 2012-13 school year, but in taking home the best-of-the-best honor, Harwood left the awards banquet with a brand new Ford Mustang.

“It’s truly been a humbling experience,” Harwood said after the awards were doled out. “The people that have been involved in my life along the way — my parents, my wife, my mother-in-law, my children and all my colleagues and supporters — I thank you for getting me to this point.

“I love this profession and this job, and I truly can’t imagine not walking into school and inspiring those that are most important in our community.”

Harwood was lauded for his ability to help students become “willing partners” in the educational process, along with his time out of the classroom tutoring and leading students in Science Olympiad and student government.

“Mr. Harwood’s trademark, including yearlong model government, provides fifth- and sixth-graders with the functions of the legislative, executive and judicial branches with the UCS handbook as the constitution,” UCS Superintendent Christine Johns said.

Harwood, of Shelby Township, was awarded a free, one-year lease of his choice of Ford automobiles, courtesy of Suburban Ford of Sterling Heights.

“Outstanding educators like Angelo Harwood, Jodi Lyn-Fox Ruiz and Stacey Knoll are so important to our community,” said Jim Elder, general sales manager of Suburban Ford of Sterling Heights, in a release. 

“We are pleased to recognize their achievements and provide a new vehicle for this coming year as an added reward. It is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to the top teachers who make so much of a difference to the children in the communities where we do business.”

Along with Harwood, Jodi Lyn-Fox Ruiz, who teaches Spanish at Jeannette Junior High School, and Stacey Knoll, a math teacher at the Utica Center for Science and Industry, were also tabbed the top teaches at the junior high and high school levels, respectively.

“I always remind myself the strength of our community and the strength of our country is built on democracy and strong public schools,” Johns said. “Our schools are a microcosm of our community.

“We ask teachers to comfort students and provide stability in the classroom,” Johns added.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brad D. Bates at bbates@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1029.