Thompson Education Foundation Announces “2016 Educator of the Year” Recipients

2016 TEF Educators of the Year

Thompson Education Foundation (TEF) honored excellence in education with the recognition of six Thompson School District staff members during the foundation’s 8th annual Educator Appreciation Breakfast and Educator of the Year awards at Embassy Suites Loveland on Friday, February 26, 2016. An audience of 540 staff and community members gathered to celebrate educators in the district and discover who was selected in the six award categories.

Ninety-five educators were honored with nominations from coworkers, parents, students and community members. The nominees were evaluated by the Educator of the Year committee and the Thompson Education Foundation Board of Directors for excellence in education through their ability to empower, challenge, and inspire. Criteria for selection for the awards included a candidate’s dedication to their work, a high level of skill, and the ability to inspire those they interact with in the course of their work.

Classified Employee of the Year: Monica Daugherty, Attendance Clerk, Bill Reed Middle School

Monica Daugherty was praised for making a positive impact for so many people for so many years through her tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm. One nominator simple stated “Monica is, quite simply, the Heart of our school.”

APT Employee of the Year: Dr. Bill Siebers, Chief Human Resources Officer, Administration

Nominators wrote that Dr. Siebers isn’t afraid to tackle the tough stuff and does it with compassion and confidentiality. He was singled out as a “true leader, highly motivated and inspirational.”

Elementary Teacher of the Year: Jason Hooker, 5th Grade Teacher, Ivy Stockwell Elementary School

Parents say that Jason Hooker “has incredible energy, enthusiasm, and rapport with students, allowing for the kids’ creativity to flourish as they learn.” He was praised for his ability to “make sure every student feels special.”

Secondary Teacher of the Year: Greg Morrison, Mathematics Teacher, Loveland High School

Student nominators for Greg Morrison recognized that “Mr. Morrison pushes students to the best of their ability” and “connects individually with each and every one of his students.” Morrison is described as teaching every class as if it is his last opportunity to teach. A student also said “Mr. Morrison really made me love math.” (Greg Morrison received this award in 2012 as well.)

Principal of the Year: Sarah Walgast, Principal, Big Thompson Elementary School

A nominator noted that Sarah Walgast “is passionate about making sure all kids get an outstanding education.” Walgast was also praised for creating a culture of problem solvers, collaborators and creators at Big Thompson.”  In the view of a parent, “Kids from our school will benefit from having Sarah Walgast as their principal for their entire lives.”

Thompson Education Foundation Educator of the Year: Kendra Vair, Social Studies Teacher, Conrad Ball Middle School

Nominators for Kendra Vair recognized that “she believes in everyone’s inherent ability to learn and pulls is out of even the most challenging students” and “she engages students’ passions and talents, allowing them to demonstrate their learning through individual areas of strength.” A staff member said “Kendra Vair is always available to help support and collaborate with others and is a constant source of integrity in our building.” Another staff member shared “This teacher has been the single most influential and inspiring individual in my teaching career. “

The Thompson Education Foundation Educator of the Year recipient was chosen from among all the 95 nominees across the categories.

Each recipient received a glass award and a $200 gift card from TEF’s board of directors. King Buick GMC provided 2-month car leases for each category winner and a 24-month car lease for the 2016 Thompson Education Foundation Educator of the Year.

Educator Appreciation Breakfast Sponsors

A+ Sponsors:  King Buick GMC, Elevations Credit Union, Embassy Suites Loveland, Coldwell Banker – Cliff Johnson, Northern Colorado Specialist

Event Sponsors:  Adams Bank & Trust, Arte Pizzeria, Edward Jones – Doug Rechkemmer & Christopher France, Foothills Credit Union, Good Samaritan Loveland Village, Kaiser Permanente, KidsPak, Starr & Westbrook, University of Northern Colorado – Extended Campus

Table Sponsors:  Roger & Anne Bates, Stu & Barbara Boyd, Leroy & Terry Cline, Community Funded, Fred’s Used Websites, Keysight Technologies, Kibbey Fishburn Funeral Home, The Group, Inc., The Lakes at Centerra

Door Prize Sponsors: Barnes & Noble, Family Mortgage Company, Friends of the Loveland Public Library, Grimm Brothers Brewery, Henry’s Pub, Law Office of C. Jan Lord, Loveland Aleworks, Rialto Theater Center, The Summit Windsor


ABOVE PHOTO: (from left) Dr. Stan Scheer (Superintendent), Lori Hvizda Ward (President, TSD Board of Education), Kendra Vair (Thompson Education Foundation Educator of the Year), Greg Morrison (Secondary Teacher of the Year), Dr. Bill Siebers (APT Employee of the Year), Monica Daugherty (Classified Employee of the Year), Sarah Walgast (Principal of the Year), Jason Hooker (Elementary Teacher of the Year), Darren Gunn (President, Thompson Education Foundation)

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