Zach Rondot, the Elementary School Teacher of the Year for Oakland County, third from the left, poses for photos in his classroom with his brother, Ben Rondot; his father, Bernie Rondot; and his mother, Carolyn Rondot, after they surprised him March 20.

Zach Rondot, the Elementary School Teacher of the Year for Oakland County, third from the left, poses for photos in his classroom with his brother, Ben Rondot; his father, Bernie Rondot; and his mother, Carolyn Rondot, after they surprised him March 20.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


Costello fourth-grade teacher named top Oakland County elementary teacher

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published March 27, 2019

 A fourth-grader in Zach Rondot’s class captures his surprise.

A fourth-grader in Zach Rondot’s class captures his surprise.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

TROY — Officials from the Troy School District and Oakland Schools, and members of the media surprised Costello Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Zach Rondot with the Oakland County Outstanding Teacher of the Year award in his classroom March 20.

His students captured their teacher’s surprise on their Troy School District-issued iPads as his parents, brother and grandfather filed in.

He first was selected as the Troy School District Elementary School Teacher of the Year this winter. Rondot was nominated by a parent, who said that Rondot’s “passion to create a culture of positivity makes the difference in the lives of his students.”

He received a $500 check from the Troy Foundation for Educational Excellence for that award.

All of the teachers from Oakland County school districts who were selected by their districts as teachers of the year were considered for the outstanding elementary, middle and high school Oakland County-level awards.

The nominees were screened by a selection committee that included representatives from Oakland Schools, education groups and the community, Sarah Davis, an Oakland Schools communications specialist, explained via email.

“Judges score each nominee based on application content and testimonials from colleagues, parents and students,” she said. “In each grade level, a winner is picked. The winners receive $2,000, which will be officially presented to them on May 2 at a recognition ceremony.”

In his nomination, fellow teacher Grayson McKinney said of Rondot that “Zach epitomizes what it means to be an innovative teacher. His passion for going above and beyond the standard expectations for lesson creation and delivery has driven him to embrace the most innovative practices in his classroom.”

Former student Elijah Burt said, “Mr. Rondot challenges his students, telling them to reach further than they thought possible. He has made me a more positive person.”

“You empower your students to be creative,” said Troy School District Superintendent Richard Machesky.

“It’s about them and their learning,” Rondot said.

Rondot said he comes from a long line of teachers. “My first teacher was my mom,” he said.

He explained that his mother and grandmother founded Mon Ami Daycare in Royal Oak. His grandfather was a teacher before becoming a lawyer.

“They helped me become who I am,” he said.

Rondot said he decided to become an elementary school teacher after he worked at a children’s day camp following his senior year of high school.

“That solidified that I wanted to work with kids.”

His favorite part of teaching is “preparing kids for success in the real world and to have a positive mindset.”

He said he and his class have produced a podcast, “Fourth Grade Innovators,” since November. It is aimed to inspire and spread positive messages. He said it is listened to in 10 countries.

“I’m honored and thankful,” Rondot said of receiving the awards. “I love being a teacher in the Troy School District.”