Spengler, Resney take home 2014-15 teacher of year honors
Special to the Bonanza
TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — Russell Resney and Veronica Spengler have been named 2014-2015 Teachers of the Year.
Michael Gelbman, publisher of the Sierra Sun/North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Charlie Riley, owner of Truckee Hometown SEARS, hosted a reception for all nominees on June 5 at the Sun’s Truckee office, where they announced this year’s winners.
“It is nearly impossible to select just one winner,” said Riley. “This year we decided to choose one secondary and one elementary teacher that best represent all the nominees.”
Gelbman awarded Russell Resney, science and math teacher at Incline High School, as the secondary level winner.
Resney’s commitment to students in and outside of the classroom were recalled, as was the extra workload he voluntarily took on this year teaching Algebra 2, in addition to his full schedule of physics, calculus, and chemistry.
Incline K-12 Principal Leslie Hermann was in attendance to recognize Resney’s outstanding service to Incline High School.
“Russell is a consummate professional, a true craftsman who gets both the art and the science of teaching,” said Hermann. “His new name: Russell “Rockstar” Resney!”
Colleagues at Incline High School commented on Resney’s award.
“Resney is a master of so many fields with a massive dedication to kids,” said one colleague. “Congratulations for years of dedication!”
Resney humbly accepted the award, and later reflected on feelings of gratitude.
“I love what I do, so I owe an awful lot to the people who let me teach,” he said. “I need to thank students for letting me teach with them, to parents for putting up with the craziness, to my fellow teachers from whom I have stolen a vast array of ideas, to my kids who have put in some long hours, and to my wife for her infinite patience when it comes to all the things I should be doing instead of working on the next lesson plan.”
Riley presented the elementary level award to third-grade Kings Beach Elementary teacher Veronica Spengler.
Riley noted parent and colleague nominations describing Spengler’s open communication style and ability to create an encouraging classroom environment.
Kings Beach Principal Kyle Mohagen, present to support Spengler, described her as a great colleague.
“I am very honored to have been able to work with such a great teacher,” said Mohagen. “She gives her heart and soul to her students and is well deserving of the Teacher of the Year honor.”
Spengler enjoys the recognition this award brings to all teachers who share her philosophy.
“It brings a recognition through me to all those teachers who believe like me in their children’s progress in all areas, academic, social, and emotional, and show it through their actions,” she said. “When children join a community of respect, trust, and validation, the learning just happens.”
Spengler feels that everything her first year at Kings Beach has been a blessing.
“Overall, this recognition is a result of collaboration with Kyle Mohagen, my principal, my third grade team Julie Otis and Cana Trahan, my children, and their parents who have been so supportive during my first year teaching at Kings Beach Elementary,” she said.
HONORING OUR TEACHERS
The other 2014-15 nominees recognized on June 5 include Julie Fagnani, Tom LeFevers, Cathy Tsaniff, Carolyn Stewart, Mike Pyle, Allison Everist and Brienne Lopez.
Also in attendance was Robert Leri, superintendent of Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, who shared his support of the Teacher of the Year program.
“I continue to be so appreciative of the efforts of our Hometown SEARS, the Sierra Sun, and other sponsors to provide this opportunity for our community members to recognize and honor great teachers in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District and in the Incline Schools,” said Leri. “Each of the teachers recognized reflect the outstanding teaching and learning taking place in our classrooms every day.”
Program sponsor Doug Wright, president of Mountain Hardware and Sports, was pleased to help recognize deserving teachers.
“Mountain Hardware is proud to support the teachers in our community,” said Wright. “We feel fortunate to team with Charlie Riley and Hometown Sears as well as the Sierra Sun, Tahoe Dave’s and the other businesses that share in this effort.”
Dave Wilderotter, owner of Tahoe Dave’s, also attended. He said he is proud to support such a worthy cause of recognition.
“It was so rewarding to visit with all these finalists,” said Wilderotter. “I am an adult and I was inspired; I can only imagine how their energy translates to the kids they teach.”
The Truckee Hometown SEARS/Sierra Sun Teacher of the Year program will continue into its fifth year next year. Program sponsors encourage community members to re-nominate teachers who did not have a chance to get recognized this year.
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