Troy School District Superintendent Richard Machesky, right, tells Troy College and Career High School teacher Jeff Rainwater that he was selected as the Teacher of the Year for the Troy School District at the school Feb. 10.

Troy School District Superintendent Richard Machesky, right, tells Troy College and Career High School teacher Jeff Rainwater that he was selected as the Teacher of the Year for the Troy School District at the school Feb. 10.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Troy School District names top teachers

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published February 12, 2020

 Troy College and Career High School senior Eryk Golos, left, and senior Chandler Bird learn that their teacher, Jeff Rainwater, was selected as the Teacher of the Year during a surprise announcement at the school Feb. 10.

Troy College and Career High School senior Eryk Golos, left, and senior Chandler Bird learn that their teacher, Jeff Rainwater, was selected as the Teacher of the Year during a surprise announcement at the school Feb. 10.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Advertisement

TROY — A slogan in Troy College and Career High School teacher Jeff Rainwater’s class says: “Teaching is not a job … it’s an adventure.”

He said he started out his working life as an accountant, but he hated it.

“I always wanted to teach.”

So he went back to college at age 27 and earned his teaching certificate.

He started at TCCHS as a long-term substitute and has now been there for 20 years.

When asked why he stayed, he said, “These kids here. They are amazing.”

Rainwater was recently selected as the overall Troy School District Teacher of the Year, as well as the High School Teacher of the Year. He teaches world history, American history, modern humanities, creative writing and SAT prep at the nontraditional high school.

“It’s overwhelming. I’m touched and honored to be a reflection of the staff,” he said.

His favorite part of teaching is the interaction with the kids and having them succeed.

Teachers, parents and students nominated Rainwater for the award. He will receive a lease for a vehicle of his choice from Suburban Collection.

“It’s his heart that makes him so special,” TCCHS counselor Deb Sheldon said in a short video about Rainwater and his impact on other teachers and students. “Jeff is amazing.”

“I don’t think anybody is more deserving,” said Troy School District Superintendent Richard Machesky after he surprised Rainwater with the award in the gym at the school Feb. 10.

“It’s an honor to be here today and be part of this process,” said Suburban Collection President and CEO David Fischer Jr. “We’re here to help recognize you.”

“All we did was try to encapsulate what you do for this building,” said Principal William Turner. He said a student’s mother approached him last summer to ask how to nominate Rainwater as the Troy Teacher of the Year. “It was a very easy thing to facilitate.”

“Students look to him for direction, and graduates return over and over to share their adult lives with him,” Sheldon said in her nomination. “Just this past weekend, Jeff took three students who had never been to Frankenmuth up to see the quaint town.

“On his own time, with no one watching or knowing, he drove them there, helped one student become a more confident driver so she could start driving for herself (she lost her mother to cancer freshman year of high school, and her dad was just admitted to assisted living) and simply showed all of them how great life can be. Over the years, Jeff has helped to move and furnish at least three different student apartments by finding household items and delivering them to students who were forced to make new living arrangements.”

 

Students weigh in
“He genuinely cares,” said 11th grader Lauren Lekaj. “I can go to him with anything. He always made sure I was OK. He’s like everyone’s dad.”

Senior Maiya Miller served on the nominating committee. She explained that her friend’s mother, Deanna Sage, wanted to nominate Rainwater for the award. “He helped me through a lot,” Miller said. “He took me under his wing, like a father.”

She said one of her favorite “Rainwater mantras” is, “There are no problems, only solutions.”

“Every single colleague is deserving,” Rainwater said of the award. “I’m honored to represent the building this way.”

Carolyn Mayer, a kindergarten teacher at Wass Elementary School, was selected as the Troy School District Elementary School Teacher of the Year.

“The children that Carolyn works with know her and love her. Carolyn works hard to make connections with students and see them as the unique individuals that they are,” said Wass Principal Matt Jenson in his nomination. “She treats the children with respect and as a result is treated respectfully by them. I have observed Carolyn go above and beyond for many kids by making accommodations in her room to truly differentiate her instruction to meet specific and unique student designs and needs.”

Amanda Fisher, a sixth grade English and literacy coach teacher at Larson Middle School, was selected as the Troy School District Middle School Teacher of the Year. Her nomination states that she betters the lives of everyone she encounters.

“She sparks a flame in her and piques her interest into genres, ideas, projects, even relationships that maybe she would normally shy away from,” said parent Carmen Kile in her nomination. “I think it is just her apparent kind and easygoing, easy-to-talk-to nature.”

Fisher and Mayer both received $500 checks from the Troy Foundation for Educational Excellence.

Kerry Birmingham, the director of communications and strategic initiatives for the district, said there were 44 nominations, a large number, for Teacher of the Year. The three winning teachers will be entered in the countywide competition.

Visit troy.k12.mi.us for videos on each winning teacher.

Advertisement