It is widely agreed that teachers and nurses are some of the most dedicated and inspirational working professionals. Their work impacts each of us at some point and the contributions of even one of these committed, compassionate individuals can make a huge impact on our lives. Each May we have the opportunity to recognize both of these professions during National Nurses Week and Teacher Appreciation Week. These weeks are filled with gifts, notes of thanks, and celebrations.
At WGU, we spend the weeks surprising our new students with our WGU Loves Teachers and Nurses Scholarships and bringing well deserved treats into hospitals and schools. In addition to those activities, this year, our team at WGU Washington wanted to pay special thanks to a few of the outstanding educators and healthcare providers in our state.
We invited employees at hospitals and schools to Share the Love by nominating their colleagues for recognition at their place of work through a pizza party hosted by WGU Washington and credit for hotel stays, spa treatments, or other experiences chosen by the recipients. There were many amazing people nominated with incredibly moving words from their peers.
We have had a blast celebrating in classrooms and with hospital teams across the state. Is has been a wonderful experience sharing the love with our winners and showing them how valued and cherished they are by their colleagues. Here are some of winning nominees chosen by our team:
“We enthusiastically recommend and nominate Mrs. Neili Marozzo for the WGU Share the Love recognition. She is a gifted educator who is committed to helping all her students (and colleagues) achieve excellence.
Neili teaches her students Dragon Pride, and her efforts result in more self-efficacy for her students. This is a highly researched area that suggests significant effect size improvement for learners. Needless to say the classroom culture, management, and positivity supports her learners in their pursuit of readiness for 3rd grade!
Mrs. Marozzo’s classroom is a cognitively busy environment. She shares with her students her fierce belief in their abilities. Neili promotes a positive mindset and shares with her struggling learners that they may not have the material mastered yet. Mrs. Neili Marozzo is a strong advocate for children, a fierce professional who has determination and belief in learning, and one of the kindest people we have met in our lives.”
“Preschool teachers rarely get recognition compared to other teachers, simply because our society as a whole sees it more as 'daycare' than 'school,' because of the amount of play that goes on in the classroom. Being a preschool teacher, with 20 three to five year old children, with many of those children having an Individualized Education Program, is not easy. I support this classroom and am always astonished at how organized, fun, and exciting the classroom is when I visit. That being said, Mariza has the patience of a saint. I have not once ever heard her raise her voice. Even on the worst days she remains cool, calm, and collected. Most people are unable to do this. She uses art to engage all the children and because she understands it is the only language we can all speak.”
“Mary is not only a role model team member for our back office, but her infectious personality and drive also resonates with the front office as well. Driven by helping our families and kids we treat every day, she has established herself as a force of caring, understanding, and quality patient service. Always using her many years of experience to give standout patient care, she establishes a quick bond with the kids we see in our office, by giving them a sense of compassion and a little bit of her ‘Mary humor.’ Ready to give a high five or fist bump to all the kids visiting our clinic, she makes everyone she treats feel like family. Mary is the kind of individual that makes you as a coworker want to work harder, she is wildly talented and a real leader in the workforce. Her standard of care is top notch, and understands how important compliance in a medical office is."
“Marco has a true passion for student success, especially for the underserved students. He understands his demographic and the many barriers they encounter every day. Yet he manages to instill a love for learning in each and every student he has. Every question that a student makes is a teachable moment. He goes beyond his required curriculum. He motivates the students to see their worth and how far they can go. Being a male teacher is challenging but also empowering for many students who do not have male role models. He understands this privilege and therefore participates in many opportunities he has within the school. Marco is part of his Action Team Partnership, All-Stars sports team and coaches their Robotics Club. Throughout his engagement he has built many relationships with his students, families and co-workers that will withstand time.”
“Rikki Stenson embodies the qualities of an outstanding educator in a multitude of ways. She is a highly dedicated, passionate educator. She has an incredible craft of incorporating rigorous, hands-on instruction with the most current technological resources. Her 1st grade classroom seems to run itself as her first grade students have definitely taken ownership of their own learning. Each day she is intentional about how she can meet the needs of her individual students, not only academically but also emotionally and socially. Her day-to day instruction is fostered by her incredible knowledge of the Common Core standards and best teaching practices. She is continually seeking out professional development through blogs, podcasts, conferences and books to grow her instructional practice and is eager to share with her colleagues. Her students absolutely adore her and feel that they are all number one in her eyes and that they are capable of success - no exceptions!”
“Sheryl is very thoughtful in delivering relevant topics for her students to engage in. For example, this year she assigned her students research topics to help improve public education. Her students wrote papers, presented, and invited administrators and school board members to interact with their research as well as serve as an audience for their presentations. Because our students also saw this as an opportunity to improve our high school, they became strongly motivated to let our administration know of their newly developed ideas that came by the way of their experiences at our school as well as what they have found that has worked on other high school campuses. Some nice changes have taken place because of the efforts of these students. That real life learning that actually did more for our students than just help them earn a grade. A project like this also takes a level of confidence and vulnerability on the part of the teacher.”
“Ryan has been teaching for the last 21 years at our school, as well as coaching soccer, basketball and track. He has created a program in the wood shop that not only challenges the students to think through a process and be creative, but also how to be productive members of society. The students learn how to work with materials, machines and also each other. He continuously teaches how to communicate with others and to speak up for themselves. The advanced class actually builds a shed and sells it to members of the community, which then in turn brings funds into the wood shop program so that it can continue. Ryan is always looking for ways to improve his program so that each student can be successful. The students admire and respect Ryan. He can't walk down the hall without several students yelling out hello to him and seeking him out for counsel.”
“Brandon puts not only his employees, but also his patients first. He always speaks to everyone with respect and kindness, no matter the situation. It is near to impossible to find an employer that makes you feel like you are appreciated, which Brandon does daily without fail. He makes you know he appreciates you every day which in turn reflects on how we perform our jobs every day and how our patients are taken care of. In my thirty plus years of being in the work force, Brandon is best ever. The mentality ‘you are replaceable’ is rampant. In no way does Brandon reflect this mentality. ‘A division is only as good as the person who is in charge’ and we have an amazing team because of him! Not only do we benefit every day, but our patients get the best treatment as well due to how he makes us feel on a daily basis. He cares and supports his employees and maintains a sense of integrity that rarely exists. We are so thankful, he is one in a million.”
“Stephanie Knapp is one of my all-time most competent teachers that I have seen in my 28 years in education. She is dedicated to her students and goes above and beyond in all areas to make sure each of her students is successful. She builds relationships with her students and their families, sets high expectations for all of her students, both academically and behaviorally. She teaches students independence when managing their own behaviors and choices. She stays current on research on best methods to teach all students. She uses engagement strategies to keep all students engaged in every lesson every minute of the day, including transitioning from one activity to another. Her welcoming and positive personality make it easy for students, staff and parents to interact with her in ways that help students succeed - not just her own students but students across the building and district - because she is a highly respected educator who others seek out for guidance and teaching strategies.”