Stephen Rew, vocal music teacher at Eagle Glen Intermediate School, is the 2013 Teacher of the Year for the Raymore-Peculiar School District.
Jamie Bogner, school nurse at the Ray-Pec High School north building, is the 2013 Support Staff Employee of the Year for the district.
The announcement of both awards came during the May 1 dinner to honor the finalists for each award. At the conclusion of the event, banners were unrolled to announce the two winners.
Rew has been teaching at Eagle Glen since 2009. He previously worked in the Ray-Pec School District, teaching vocal music at Ray-Pec Middle School, from 2005-2008.
Bogner has worked for the school district since 1999, when she began working as a substitute teacher and substitute nurse. From 2003-2010, she was the school nurse at Stonegate Elementary School. In 2010, she began working at the high school.
As the winners, Rew and Bogner each received a $500 cash award from George K. Baum & Co., banners for their schools, business cards from the Cass Gazette, and gift certificates from Missouri Mud Co., Pizza Shopper and Butcher’s Inn. Their photos will be on display at the Administrative Services Center. In addition, Rew receives a Teacher of the Year ring from Jostens.
Rew, Bogner, and all of the finalists received a plaque, hanging flower basket and goodie bag with items donated by local businesses.
Rew received four nomination letters. Parent Suzanne Hutsell said, “My son says he makes learning music fun, and from what I have seen and heard, he is a great teacher, and the kids really like him.”
Parent Michelle Grindstaff wrote, “Last year, at the beginning of school, we had to drag our son, kicking and screaming into the choir class. He was 100 percent sure he would absolutely hate choir and singing. The thing he hated worse was the idea of joining band, so he ultimately chose choir.
“From the very beginning, our son started talking about how ‘cool’ the teacher way. Even though he still hated singing, he started looking forward to the class. When I would ask him why, he said it was because the teacher made it fun. He even got to the point of liking to sing and would sing songs to us. It was amazing to watch his confidence grow throughout the year.
“When we attended the first choir concert, our son’s ‘change of heart’ became very clear. By watching the interaction of Mr. Rew with his students, you could tell they truly adored him.”
Teacher Samantha Dobson, wrote, “Stephen has been the biggest inspiration during my first year of teaching and I cannot imagine this tear without his example of being a truly dedicated and selfless team player.”
Teacher Connie Huckeby wrote, “He is home grown, and one of our best and brightest to graduate from Ray-Pec. Stephen Rew not only honors our profession in the classroom, but has the moral character that brings honor to us as educators with his work in the community, and in it personal life. Who better to represent us than one of our own who has come back to make a difference at Ray-Pec and in the lives of other Ray-Pec students?
“Did I mention what a talented and creative teacher Stephen Rew is? He has the awesome ability to get his students excited about singing! That is not an easy task at the 5th and 6th grade level. Students that age do not think it is cool to sing, and especially not in public. If they must be in choir, they rarely look up or open their mouth wide enough for sound to be heard. Yet Mr. Rew not only has them looking up, opening their mouths, and singing out, but actually moving while singing.”
Eagle Glen Principal Randy Randolph said, “Mr. Rew is a leader in our building and has served on a number of district-level committees. I have been impressed with Mr. Rew and his ability to develop a positive rapport with all students at Eagle Glen. He has taken the time to learn every student’s name. He greets students by their first name as they walk into the gym for morning announcements. Mr. Rew is the kind of person who puts students first on a daily basis.”
Rew is a 1999 Ray-Pec High School graduate. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Cinthia, who is a fifth grade teacher in Lee’s Summit. They have two children. He received a bachelor’s degree in music education in 2004 from the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music.
After graduation, he taught one year in the Drexel School District, before coming to Ray-Pec. He received a master’s degree in 2009 from UMKC. Since 2003, he has been director of music for St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Raymore. He recently released his first CD of Christian music.
Each Teacher of the Year finalist was asked why they became a teacher. The foundation for Rew’s decision began in seventh grade at Ray-Pec Middle School, when, as a new student, he was encouraged to audition for the musical theatre class. The class taught him how to speak in front of people, and it was also where he first met his wife.
As a high school student, he was a cadet teacher with Pam Schnake for working with seventh graders in theatre classes at the middle school. “I loved that I could see improvement over time. I loved that I could come up with creative ways to teach them.” He felt he was called to be a teacher.
Other finalists for the 2013 Teacher of the Year award were: Drew Ackerson, seventh grade social studies teacher at Ray-Pec East Middle School; Stephanie Cain, special education teacher at Raymore Elementary School; Andrea Calkins, second grade teacher at Creekmoor Elementary School; Michelle Claus, third grade teacher at Peculiar Elementary School; Tricia Elmore, kindergarten teacher at Timber Creek Elementary School; Pepper Grimm, kindergarten teacher at Stonegate Elementary School; Amy Hellums, art teacher at Ray-Pec High School; Evelyn Peck, sixth grade math teacher at Bridle Ridge Intermediate School; and Kristie Robinson, third grade teacher at Creekmoor.
Bogner was nominated by Lanette McClendon, a paraprofessional and former recipient of the Support Staff Employee of the Year award. In addition, a separate nomination letter, with comments and signatures from 42 people, was submitted.
Here are some excerpts:
“Jamie greets hundreds of students each day by name. Her manner with our students is always professional, warm and welcoming.”
“She is such an awesome morale booster for the north building. Everyone loves her!”
“She rocks at decorating!”
“Even when the kids are lined up at Jamie’s office, she has a smile on her face, and love in her heart, for every ailment. When so many kids lack an adult in their life to kiss the wounds and hug the pain, Jamie is there for everyone, even if it’s just to lend a listening ear. What would any of us do without her?”
“I have never seen Jamie in a bad mood. Ever.”
“Jamie goes the ‘extra mile’ every day for the students and staff at Ray-Pec High School. and she does it with a smile!”
Nurse Supervisor Jennifer Johnson said, “Jamie is everything you want as an employee and colleague. She is professional and courteous to everyone she comes in contact with. Her gentle nature and kindness comes through with each child that she helps in her health room. Jamie gives so much of herself with each child she helps, whether it is a simple smile along with a band-aid or some motherly advice for a student with a broken heart. Working beside Jamie has made me a better person and a better nurse.”
Each Support Staff finalist was asked to tell how their job makes a difference in the Ray-Pec School District.
Bogner said, “I feel I was meant to be a school nurse. I feel my job in the health room gives me the opportunity to make a difference helping people every single day. It may be as simple as a hug or acting as a first responder to an emergency. I also have been given the opportunity to mentor students. Over the years, I have worked with many students in our building. I now work with these students two to three times a week over the lunch period. I am very fortunate to have a job which allows me to help students and staff every day. I know that I am not perfect at my job. But I know that it is the perfect job for me.”
Bogner was a finalist for Ray-Pec Support Staff Employee of the Year in 2007, and was also nominated for the award in 2012.
Other finalists for 2013 Support Staff Employee of the Year were: Lisa Baird, attendance secretary at Creekmoor; Patty DiMarco, school nurse at Bridle Ridge Intermediate School; Phyllis Fox, school nurse at Ray-Pec East Middle School; Gale Garten, attendance secretary at Ray-Pec High School north building; Michelle Myers, day lead custodian at Timber Creek Elementary School; Brenda Reinholdt, financial secretary at Bridle Ridge Intermediate School; and Gail Schmidt, paraprofessional at the Early Childhood Cottage.
The selection process for the Teacher of the Year and Support Staff Employee of the Year awards began earlier this year with the collection of nomination letters. Teachers had to have completed three years of teaching in the district; and support staff nominees had to have a minimum of one year in the district. Administrators are not eligible for the awards. There are also requirements for attendance, positive evaluations and recommendations from the principal or department supervisor.
Each finalist had an interview with judges. The judges for the Teacher of the Year program were: Bob Huston, Cass County Assessor; Bryan McDonald, superintendent, Harrisonville School District; and Andy Underwood, superintendent, Belton School District. Judges for the Support Staff Employee of the Year program were: Dana Seitter from the City of Raymore and Cherie Turney from the Raymore Chamber of Commerce. The judges reviewed resumes and nomination letters, and at the conclusion of the interviews, selected the winners.