WILMINGTON — The Wilmington Schools Foundation presented the 2022 Williams Excellence in Teaching Awards to five Wilmington teachers at the staff recognition breakfast held at the end of year.
The Williams Award was established in 1995 by the WHS Class of 1945. It honors the memory of two devoted teachers, Woodrow and Esther Williams, who dedicated their professional lives to excellence in education. The awards are given each year to teachers who reflect the enthusiasm, dedication, preparation, and inspiration the Williams exhibited.
Samantha Woodruff, principal of Wilmington High School, spoke of the high school nominee, Jeff Stevenson, who teaches social studies at the High School.
“He is a team player and is always engaged in professional learning and reflecting while implementing strategies to help students in the classroom,” said Woodruff. “He has mastered the art of storytelling and engaging students in the history curriculum.”
Stevenson has been social studies teacher for 23 years of his 38 years in education. Not only is he a teacher, he is a coach, sport facility manager, mentor and a friend.
Bert Martini, principal of the Wilmington Middle School, spoke about seventh-grade math teacher Kenneth Platt and seventh-grade intervention specialist Nick Hughes.
“They are rock star co-teachers,” said Martini. “While developing strong relationship with kids, they also have high expectations for behavior and academics using a variety of instructional strategies. They are dedicated to student success and earn high growth ratings for their students by the state.”
Denver Place Elementary principal Cortney Karshner-Rethmel expressed admiration for gifted teacher Melissa Krause, describing her as a strong teacher leader in the building.
“She has such a strong passion for teaching,” said Karshner-Rethmel. “You can see how strong it is in every conversation you have with her and watching her in the classroom with students. She has had such a positive impact on the students and staff at Denver.
“When Melissa went into a co-teaching model she quickly saw that what she planned and did in the classroom affected the gifted students as well as all the students. She quickly became a valuable part in the planning especially this year starting a new program in math.”
Director of Pupil Services Natalie Harmeling said about Elexis Wiederhold, preschool teacher at East End Elementary, “It is amazing to see Elexis in action with her colleagues and students. She was born to be a teacher! Her passion and enthusiasm for this profession and her students are remarkable.
“She knows each individual’s developmental level and interests and through a balance of structure, inquiry, and exploration, Elexis provides opportunities for students of all levels to be successful. One of her strongest attributes is when facing a barrier or problem, Elexis is quick to brainstorm possible solutions.”
These five dedicated and deserving teachers were awarded framed certificates of honor and presented with a financial gift to be used for their classrooms.