Jennifer Dewald Truckee Hometown-SEARS/Sierra Sun 2014 Teacher of the Year
Special to the Bonanza
On June 16, Charlie Riley, owner of Truckee Hometown SEARS, and Michael Gelbman, publisher of the Sierra Sun/North Tahoe Bonanza, announced Jennifer Dewald as the 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year.
The Truckee Elementary teacher was recognized for her ability to create a respectful and inspiring classroom environment that promotes student learning. Parents described Dewald as caring, attentive and approachable.
“She gets each child and she treats them with respect and understanding,” wrote one parent nominator.
Dewald taught in Los Angeles and Costa Rica before moving to Tahoe in 1996. She has taught in multiple grade levels at Kings Beach Elementary and Truckee Elementary where she currently teaches fifth grade. Dewald enjoys working with a diverse group of students and encouraging them to learn together and foster friendships.
Dewald was surprised and felt honored to be announced as this year’s winner.
“It was great, very unexpected,” said Dewald. “It is so neat to have someone recognize us in the community.”
Dewald was recognized with nine fellow teacher nominees at a reception hosted by the Sierra Sun and Truckee Hometown SEARS. In addition to the nominees, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Rob Leri and multiple principals and site administrators from TTUSD and Washoe County School District were in attendance.
Michael Gelbman, publisher of the Sierra Sun/North Tahoe Bonanza; Kevin MacMillan, editor of the Sierra Sun; and Charlie Riley, owner of Truckee Hometown-SEARS, spoke of the importance of recognizing the contributions teachers make to the community.
The 10 nominees — Dave Goggin, Yvonne Logan, Taylor Strong, Ashley Staron, Lindee Eckert, Jane Miller, Jason Tracy, Jennifer Dewald, Jill Zapata and Rita Whitaker-Haun — were applauded for their efforts and outstanding examples.
“Every day these 10 teachers work promoting in our communities students’ literacy, diversity, bilingual skills, cultural awareness, supporting students with special needs and keeping alive the humanities, especially music and the arts,” said Riley. “Jenni Dewald was selected this year because she so well represented so many of the qualities we saw in all these great teachers.”
The Truckee Hometown-SEARS/Sierra Sun Teacher of the Year program was created to recognize the efforts of community teachers. Each year teacher finalists are selected based on community nominations and spotlighted in the Sierra Sun/North Tahoe Bonanza. In addition to Truckee Hometown-SEARS and the Sierra Sun, multiple community businesses sponsor the program and provide awards for finalists.
This year’s sponsors included Mountain Hardware & Sports, Tahoe Truckee Brokers, Tahoe Dave’s Skis and Boards, The Office BOSS, Sierra Nevada College, McDonald’s Truckee, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows ski resorts.
Dave Wilderotter, program sponsor and owner of Tahoe Dave’s Skis and Boards, attended the reception and enjoyed the opportunity to meet with all of the finalists, principals and the superintendent.
“It was a lot of fun to see the teachers being awarded for going above and beyond, there was so much talent in one room,” said Wilderotter. “All the finalists were spectacular.”
Although Wilderotter does not have children of his own, he recognizes the importance of the community having well educated students.
“I got involved because there is so much transiency in Tahoe, it is nice to have the stability of the school system,” said Wilderotter. “It is so important for our community and economy to have well educated and dedicated kids.”
Dewald plans to continue to provide a stable and motivating environment for students next year at Truckee Elementary. She is looking forward to working with a new group of fifth graders and her fellow fifth-grade teachers Candy Blesse and Mardiece Patrick.
“One of my favorite parts of teaching is sharing the students, it is a complete team effort,” said Dewald. “I love the team atmosphere and camaraderie.”
Program sponsor Charlie Riley says this team mentality is why he continues to work to recognize teachers each year.
“Our community teachers are shining examples of how working together can have a big impact on our children and community,” said Riley. “It is seems so fitting that businesses and community members follow that example and come together to appreciate these teachers, I am thrilled to work with Michael and Kevin at the Sierra Sun and all the sponsors who see the importance of this program.”