The Pattonville School District announced the honorees for Pattonville Teacher of the Year and Pattonville Support Staff Employee of the Year during its annual District Appreciation Night on May 7.
Abigail Williams, an instrumental music teacher at Pattonville Heights Middle School, was named Pattonville Teacher of the Year. Glennora Genail, a custodian at Pattonville High School, was selected Pattonville Support Staff Employee of the Year.
Williams was chosen for Pattonville Teacher of the Year by a committee of staff and parents after being named Pattonville Middle School Teacher of the Year. She has been an instrumental music teacher for 14 years. She works to ensure her students learn to play an instrument, become comfortable performing and have the opportunity to hear others play. She sponsors weekly after-school help sessions for her students, as well as an annual trip for eighth-grade band students to a music festival in Kansas City.
“An exciting day of teaching for me is the day my band is going to sight read a new piece of music,” Williams said. “We have drilled the basic technical skills required to play the instruments for hours over the years. These skills will be put to the test during sight reading. Of course, our goal is not to think about those things as we play. Our goal is to make music together, to move beyond the symbols ... to communicate.”
As a teacher, Williams goal is to make a difference in the lives of her students. She wants to share with them the love of music she has and explore the amazing things music has to offer with them. Abigail sees each day as a crisp, white piece of new sheet music — whether it’s easy or difficult, she knows she has been working on the skills necessary to handle whatever comes her way. Working with music every day is rewarding for Williams because she is reminded daily of the power that music has on people.
Genail was chosen for the honor of Pattonville Support Staff Employee of the Year from a field of three finalists. Genail said she feels like support staff are the foundation of the Pattonville. Each night Genail sanitizes, dusts, sweeps, mops, empties trash and ensures the cleanliness of the high school. These duties not only keep the high school attractive but also ensure the health and safety of the students, faculty and staff, showing Pattonville’s mission by promoting a positive image.
“I feel confident when I leave at 11 p.m. that the administrators, teachers, support staff and students will be greeted with an area that has been cleaned with loving care, professionalism and is conducive to learning,” Genail said. “I strive to maintain the classroom in such a state that there will be no interruption in the learning process.”
Genail takes great satisfaction in her job and shows respect for everyone she comes in contact with. While at work, Genail — who is the custodian for the D Wing, which is at the front of the high school — often comes into contact with people who are not students of the district. She helps guide visitors when they are looking for the gym for a sporting event, keeps rooms clean when students come for G.E.D. classes and is welcoming to students from other schools that participate in after-school events, like Junior Achievement. For those who work at the high school, she said, this “is their home away from home, and I take great measures for them to feel comfortable.”
Finalists for Teacher of the Year were Tammy Anderson, fifth-grade teacher at Bridgeway Elementary, who was named Pattonville Elementary Teacher of the Year, and Amy Adam, an English teacher at Pattonville High School, who was named Pattonville High School Teacher of the Year. Teacher of the Year semifinalists included Elizabeth Brisch, an elementary gifted education teacher in the ALPHA elementary gifted program; Jennifer Zurweller-Ballmann, a kindergarten teacher at Bridgeway; Christy Cox, a math teacher at Holman; Jessica Smith, a communication arts teacher at Holman; Erin Mulanax and Kenneth Smith, both high school science teachers.
Finalists for Support Staff of the Year were: Linda Burnett and Janet Grumke, both secretaries at Holman Middle School. Semifinalists for the honor were Jon Downs, a paraprofessional at Holman and Debbie Forbes, a custodian at the high school.
View photos from District Appreciation Night at http://events.psdr3.org/Photo%20Gallery/2011-2012/index.html.