Recruitment & Retention Opinion

Honoring Teachers Who Made A Difference: Stories Of Thanks

By Emily Douglas-McNab — May 08, 2013 5 min read
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In recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week and the outstanding service of millions of educators across the country, I asked several of my colleagues to provide stories about a teacher or teachers who made a difference in their lives. You will see that the stories below are a fun, positive, and refreshing reminder of the impact a great educator can have on many lives! I will share these first-hand accounts in two blogs this week. I invite you to share your own stories in the comments section below!

Mr. Frank at John Glenn High School in New Concord, OH: 1996
Mr. Frank was such a wonderful teacher. He was so intelligent and passionate about challenging and encouraging us to do our very best. I was lucky to have a seat in his classroom.
-Leslie Damron, PMP, in Westerville, OH

Shirley Jones, Choral Director at Meade County High School in Brandenburg, KY: 1980s-1990s
Shirley Jones taught me what the combination of dedication and high standards can achieve. A consistent and award-winning music educator, she knew how to strike the right balance of encouragement and pressure to raise everyone’s level of performance. But rather than being an external motivator, Shirley Jones knew that deep down that every student she worked with wanted to be great at something - she just helped move each student toward that destination.
-Dr. Jason E. Glass, State Director, Iowa Department of Education

Jerry Boland and the late Ted Westin at Penn Cambria High School in Presson, PA: 1973
Jerry was the band director and Ted directed the choir. They encouraged me to dream.
-Sherman Moyer in Columbus, OH

Neil Collins at Alice Drive Jr. High School in Sumter, SC: 1970-1971
Mr. Collins was a new teacher of 8th grade social studies that year. His big things were to teach us how to take notes and he was creative with his learning techniques even back then. We had to take notes for every lecture and turn them in for a grade. My favorite creative learning technique was when he taught us about trench warfare in WWI. He had us get paper wads, set up the classroom with trenches and had us reenact a battle. Of course the principal came in when she saw the paper wad’s flying but soon backed off when she saw we were actually learning. The reenactment helped me understand the lecture that came first through visualization. The note taking got me through college and to this day, I can accurately explain and understand trench warfare.
-Patricia Rocca, PHR in Charlotte, NC

Garden Oaks and Durham Elementary Schools within Houston Independent School District, TX
Every year of Elementary school, my current year’s teacher was my new favorite teacher, though I still loved my prior teachers! Thank you, Mrs. McReynolds, Mrs. Martin, Mrs. Spinks, Mrs. Ryan, Mrs. Phillips and Mrs. Harris for the love you showed me and the love of learning you gave to me!
-Denise Gowan in Houston, TX

Sean (ELA) and Karen Wheeler (Math) at Lakewood High School in Lakewood, OH
I lift up dynamic duo Sean (@mrwheeler) and Karen Wheeler (@mathcoachlkwd)--inspired and inspiring teacher leaders walking the talk, feeding students bodies with turkey sandwiches and minds with project based learning (Lakewood High School, Ohio). Find them on the web at Teaching Humans.
-Melanie Wightman in Lakewood, OH

Mr. Canan, Physics teacher, Corvallis High School, Corvallis, OR: 1987
Mr. Canan was the best Physics teacher! He wrote his own book, used real life examples, and taught me physics principles I still teach my kids today! Just to give you an idea, on senior skip day, everyone went to his class and then skipped the rest of the day! Oops!
-Teresa Daulong in Spring, TX

Pat Vujevich at A.I. Root Middle School in Medina, OH
While growing up, my mother was a teacher. I witnessed her hard work and dedication over the years, but didn’t do a great job of recognizing it. Now, as a grown adult, I realize all she did to not only help her students learn, grow and succeed, but also shape me into the hard working and determined individual that I am. I’m proud of her in so many ways, and would like to thank her for her caring, nurturing and encouraging spirit. She’s made the world a better place.
-Julie Vujevich in Columbus, OH

Wilma Wheeler at Union Cross Elementary School in Kernersville, NC: 1991-1992
Wilma Wheeler was my 2nd grade teacher by title, but became a life-long mentor and role model. As a 2nd grader, I did not know my own potential, but she pushed my beyond my limits to ensure that I was successful. Failure was not an option in her class. Because of her dedication to my success and all the students she taught, I chose a career in education and I now serve as a Principal. I hope that I can inspire others just as she inspired me!
-Alison L. Harris, Principal in Charlotte, NC

Father Ober at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, OH: late 1980’s
He made AP Modern European History interesting. Witty, funny and extremely intelligent, Fr. Ober showed me what a great teacher could be.
-Steve Oreskovic, NBCT, Classroom Teachers Association Vice President in Charlotte, NC

Mrs. Morley, 10th grade English at Grandview High School in Grandview Heights, OH
Mrs. Morley encouraged me to write the stories and poetry she knew were hidden behind my cocky jock exterior. Her sensitivity sparked a life-long love for writing in all forms. I’m very grateful.
-Rick Studer in Columbus, OH

Ms. Laurel Kunes at Mentor Exempted Village School District in Mentor, OH: 1995-1996
Ms. Laurel Kunes - Choral and Band Director, Mentor Public Schools. Recruited from the Junior High School football team to be in the show choir, this special lady taught me how to find my voice during the middle years. Went on to sing and play sports through High School, and sing for the Singing Men of Ohio at Ohio University.
-Thom V. Griffith, MLHR, in Columbus, OH

Chris Lineberry at Independence High School in Charlotte, NC
Mr. Lineberry had the ability to motivate his students like no one else. He taught us as much about learning, life and ourselves as he did about literature and language. Not only did he believe in me, but he empowered me to believe in myself.
-Danielle Gladden, 4th Grade Teacher in Mint Hill, NC

Gayle Tankersley at Copley High School in Akron, OH: 1989-90
Miss Tankersley was my Composition teacher my senior year at Copley High School. She inspired me to think harder, process my thinking through writing, and set high goals for myself. She was also a mentor who cared deeply for me and helped me figure out what parts of myself I valued and should strive to develop. I hope I was as impactful for my students during the decade I taught high school language arts and journalism.
-Lisa Riegel in Columbus, OH

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