District honors top teachers

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published February 8, 2012

 Jan Keeling, assistant superintendent of elementary education for the Troy School District, congratulates Susan Pickering, media specialist at Smith and Boulan Park middle schools, in the Smith Media Center Feb. 6 for being selected as Teacher of the Year.

Jan Keeling, assistant superintendent of elementary education for the Troy School District, congratulates Susan Pickering, media specialist at Smith and Boulan Park middle schools, in the Smith Media Center Feb. 6 for being selected as Teacher of the Year.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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When Assistant Superintendent Janet Keeling, then the principal of Morse Elementary School, interviewed Susan Pickering for the media specialist position in 1995, she knew Pickering had something special.

Keeling was one of the administrators in the Troy School District on hand to see Pickering receive the Troy School District Teacher of the Year award, prize patrol style, from Superintendent Barbara Fowler as Pickering worked with English Language Learners in the library of Smith Middle School Feb. 6. She also works as media specialist at Boulan Park Middle School.

As Troy Teacher of the Year, Pickering gets to choose a new car to lease from the Suburban Collection for one year free of charge. Parents, students and teachers nominate educators for the award. She was selected by a team of her colleagues as the Troy Middle School Teacher of the Year and Troy School District Teacher of the Year.

Her colleagues state in the nomination that “her impact on Troy students is phenomenal. She has an uncanny knack for recommending specific books based on knowing each student’s reading interests — an amazing feat considering how many students she serves, 1,500.”

“Mrs. Pickering has a special connection with the students,” Mary Gregory, a parent volunteer, said in her nomination letter. “Her knowledge of literature is a gift for the students, teachers and parents at Smith.”

“She (Pickering) wants to talk to you when you go in there,” Smith eighth-grader Eric Cheng, who also nominated her, said.

“She’s so happy all the time,” Smith eighth-grader Eva Lisowski said.

“She’s very positive,” Smith eight-grader Kristen Hansen said. “You love being with her.”

“This is such an honor,” Pickering said. “All the students and staff truly inspire and motivate me to work hard. It’s a blessing to work here and at Boulan.” She described her administrators as positive leaders and also praised the parent and student volunteers at both schools. She also thanked her husband, Michael, who was on hand for her surprise — “He’s the ink on my page,” she said.

Pickering said she pursued her career in library science when her youngest child attended middle school.

“This was a gift and calling that fell into my lap,” she said.

Wass Elementary School physical education teacher Mark Cavataio was honored with the elementary school Teacher of the Year Award Feb. 6. Wass Principal Matt Jansen states in Caviataio’s nomination: “Mark is a teacher that will not give up on any child and will work to the fullest extent of his abilities. … Children thrive under his instruction.”

“Mr. C is changing the way my children think about their physical well-being, and his methods are effective and fun,” stated Wass parent Rachele Lyngklip in her nomination letter.

“He is the best gym teacher in the world because he is really fun,” Wass kindergartner Luke Giorgi said in his nomination.

 

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