Suburban Ford Honors Teacher of the Year with New Set of Wheels
Flickinger Elementary School teacher Angelo Harwood was named "Teacher of the Year" for Utica Community Schools March 20.
But the fifth-grade history and civics instructor found it nearly impossible to describe his feelings Wednesday upon learning that his "Teacher of the Year" title also comes with a new set of wheels.
Named Utica Community Schools' Teacher of the Year for 2013, Harwood received the standard certificates and gift basket, with the wholly unexpected addition of a one-year lease on a new car, courtesy of Suburban Ford.
Jeannette Junior High School Spanish teacher Jodi Lyn-Fox Ruiz and Utica Center for Science and Industry math instructor Stacey Knoll also received Teacher of the Year honors at the junior high and high school levels, respectively.
“It’s been a truly humbling experience,” Harwood said of receiving the award. “I’m not often at a loss of words, but I’m at a loss now. There are so many people to thank along the way. It’s a great profession, what I do with these kids.”
Joined by their families, colleagues and district administrators, Harwood, Ruiz and Knoll were the guests of honor at a special breakfast Wednesday at Utica's Administration Building.
"These teachers remind me that teaching is not a lost art," said Utica school board President Carol Klenow. "Without outstanding teachers, our children would not succeed."
As part of the nominating process for Teacher of the Year, current and former students were asked to say a few words about their respective instructors. Some of this praise included:
- “Mrs. Knoll never makes a student feel inferior or stressed, and keeps the learning environment relaxes, but alert.”
- "Senora Ruiz touches the lives of students daily. She not only aids students academically, but also mentally and emotionally."
- Of Mr. Harwood: "You are the best teacher ever. At the beginning of the year, I hated history, but when you taught it was so fun. I am going to miss you lots. My favorite part of fifth grade was you."
- "To her students (Mrs. Ruiz) is known as the 'mom' of the school because she helps everyone."
- Of Mr. Harwood: "You are the best teacher in the world. You are unforgettable. I wish you would go and teach sixth grade next year. Instead of 'Thanks for playing.' I will say 'Thanks for teaching.' Also, I want you to know you probably double sized my brain."
- Of Mrs. Knoll: "She is the most energetic teacher I have ever had, and her seemingly inexhaustible energy is what keeps math from being boring."