Sterling Heights High School teacher is ‘outstanding’

MISD honors teachers from local districts

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published April 12, 2019

 Sterling Heights High School English teacher Lisa Denomme was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year at the high school level for Macomb County by the Macomb Intermediate School District.

Sterling Heights High School English teacher Lisa Denomme was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year at the high school level for Macomb County by the Macomb Intermediate School District.

Photo provided by Warren Consolidated Schools

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STERLING HEIGHTS/WARREN/CENTER LINE — When Sterling Heights High School held its pep rally last month after raising $27,000 during charity week, Warren Consolidated Schools Superintendent Robert Livernois had a special announcement.

It was revealed that SHHS teacher Lisa Denomme was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year at the high school level in the Macomb Intermediate School District.

“I cried of course. I was just completely floored by it,” said Denomme, who teaches Advanced Placement English language and composition, and English 12. “To have this kind of validation is just amazing. It was such an honor.”

Every year, the MISD recognizes outstanding teachers, who are nominated by their peers, parents and students to be considered in their respective school buildings from their districts. From there, an Outstanding Teacher of the Year is named countywide at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

All the recognized teachers for 2019 will be honored during a special dinner April 17 at the MISD building in Clinton Township.

Denomme, who said senior Kate Barber nominated her for the honor, began her teaching career at SHHS in 1999. It’s also where she completed her student teaching. Denomme initially wanted to be an actress, so she enrolled in the theater program at Wayne State University. However, she quickly realized the stage really wasn’t her calling and then “fell upon teaching.”

Denomme changed majors at WSU, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in education. She also holds a master of arts in teaching from Saginaw Valley State University.

“Teaching is such a natural fit for me,” she said. “It has definitely been the right career move.”

In the classroom, Denomme is known for setting clear expectations for her students from the very first day of class. She also carries a “deeply vested interest” in her students.

“Students know what she expects of them, and in turn, what they can expect from her. She allows the students to assist in designing their learning and has them participate in providing instruction to their own class,” SHHS Principal Craig Miller said in an email. “On any given day, you can walk into her room and hear discussions amongst students, herself, and her student-teacher taking place regarding current events, which she has managed to weave into whatever concept or content being taught. Utilizing real-world examples helps her students connect the material being taught.    

“Mrs. Denomme is incredibly deserving of this award. This is a tremendous honor for the Stallion family as well,” Miller said. “We know we have great teachers at Sterling Heights High School, and this just provides further evidence of that. She tailors her instruction to reach all learners regardless of learning styles.”

The most rewarding part of teaching for Denomme is “when a student shows a little growth” either academically or personally. One highlight this time of year is watching the seniors receiving their acceptance letters to college.

The English teacher still loves theater and even brings that passion into the classroom.

“We read plays from time to time. We do Shakespeare,” Denomme said, adding the students will talk about special effects, what the setting in the story would look like, and how the performers might say a particular line.

Denomme also will use various accents with her students, including a pretty good impression of wrestler Hulk Hogan when reading “Beowulf.” And she’s not afraid to shy away from humor to make an impact on her students.

The end of the school year is always bittersweet for Denomme. She is a fixture at the school’s commencement ceremony every year, and in recent years has been announcing some of the graduates’ names.

“At the end of the ceremony when Principal Miller has them move their tassels, I always get teary-eyed,” Denomme said. “It’s such a great moment to see the kids take that final step. I try to remind students to have a good balance in life.”

Also in WCS, Julie Walters (Harwood Elementary School) and Ryan VanThournout (Beer Middle School) were recognized by the MISD as outstanding teachers at the district level.

In other local districts, the following teachers were honored:

Center Line Public Schools: Yvonne Beauchaine (Peck Elementary School), Joe Martin (Wolfe Middle School) and Mary Steinberg (Center Line High School).

Fitzgerald Public Schools: Becky Girling (Mound Park Elementary School), Kristin Lewis (Chatterton Middle School), and Christopher Bierman (Fitzgerald High School)

Van Dyke Public Schools: Patricia Gartin (Carlson Elementary School), Angela Capadagli (Lincoln Middle School) and Mary Groesbeck-Balamucki (Lincoln High School).

Warren Woods Public Schools: Kim Valade (Briarwood Elementary School), Andrea Colaluca (Warren Woods Middle School) and Paul Halicki (Warren Woods Tower High School).

At the county level, Linda Smith (Fox Elementary School, Chippewa Valley Schools) and Shayne Reckling (Bemis Junior High, Utica Community Schools) were also each named as a MISD Outstanding Teacher of the Year.

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