Earlier this month, we had the privilege of celebrating our 2020 Heroes In The Classroom at the Seattle Seahawks game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. 2020 was difficult for parents, students, and teachers alike. The three finalist teachers were nominated by their peers for the way they went above and beyond for their students during this unprecedented year. These three teachers uniquely navigated uncertainty and continued to care, connect, and inspire their students.
Below we include some quotes from the nominations that students and parents submitted to recognize the amazing work of these teachers.
Teacher’s Name: Stacey Simmons
From: Mountain Way Elementary
“This woman is rocking the distance learning game!! She is so patient and kind and communicates with parents extensively and has made this whole ordeal easy for parents. She is an amazing person and teacher and she deserves everything good this world has to offer. Truly an outstanding part of our school!”
“I have not met her in person, but she is so patient and calm with all of the craziness that is distance learning. Second grade is tough and she has nailed it. She has a character called Professor Grumblemore that she dresses up as for her science lessons and the kids were all SHOCKED when they finally realized it was her the whole time. Just an outstanding human who has made an impact on the way that I view distance learning. She helped me see the positive and helped me realize that we can do this!”
Teacher’s Name: Karen Kaarvand
From: Mary Lyon Elementary
“She inspires her students to want to participate in the learning process by creating connections to them.”
“When everything fell apart with Covid, Ms. Kaarvand kept communication lines open with parents and her students. She told them how much she missed them and let me know what to expect “next year.” This shift to online has been hard on everyone but Ms. K shines. She made a treat bag to go with the materials pickup all in special bags for her class, but the true gift is that she can STILL connect to (the term “herding cats” comes to mind) the students via remote technology. I could go on and on. Ms. K is my hero and I KNOW that she would use any award in meaningful ways to create positive educational experiences for her friends at Mary Lyon.”
Teacher’s Name: Jay Nowicki
Teacher’s School: Gatewood Elementary
“I have been working with Jay Nowicki for almost 7 years now and am constantly blown away by his passion for teaching. He loves to tell stories about his life and share his love for the outdoors. His years of skateboarding turns into a math lesson.”
“My favorite thing that he does every single morning is how he talks about his lunch. It sounds simple, but so many kids look forward to this and almost always share it with their parents. While going over the schedule each morning, Jay tells the kids what is on the menu for school lunch. At that point, the students all raise their hands and he calls on one who says “Mr. Nowicki, what are you having for lunch today?” The kids love hearing about what he’s eating each day, and like I said, they tell their parents every evening. It’s one small but incredibly important way that he connects to the kids.”
Do you know an extraordinary teacher that deserves to be celebrated this year? Nominate a 2021 Hero in the Classroom for a chance to win $2,000 in school supplies, plus a personalized Seahawks jersey and game day experience! Submit your nominations here.