WITF and Rotary District 7390 Announce 2022 Teacher Impact Awards Winners
Educators from seven counties are honored for their exemplary work
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[HARRISBURG, PA] – May 6, 2022 – In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, which began Monday, May 2, WITF and Rotary District 7390 announced the seven winners of the 2022 Teacher Impact Awards. The awards honor teachers for their exceptional dedication to their students and community.
Rotary District 7390 established the “Teacher Impact Awards” in 2005, with the idea to promote teaching and learning in its seven-county area. “With teachers back in the classroom after a couple of challenging years, we’re proud to recognize their inventiveness in meeting the needs of their students,” said Janice Black, chair of the project for Rotary District 7390.
Students, alumni, caregivers, colleagues and administrators submitted nominations for consideration. A committee of current and former educators, Rotary members and WITF staff reviewed each nomination to select winners. One teacher was chosen from each county within the Rotary’s district coverage.
Since 2019, WITF has partnered with the Rotary to present the awards and produce a television program.
“It was inspiring to read the nominations we received this year. Teachers are working tirelessly to have meaningful classroom discussions and are determined to connect with and mentor their students. As an organization founded by educators more than fifty years ago, WITF is proud to celebrate these remarkable teachers who spark lifelong learning in our region,” said Debbie Riek, WITF director of education.
Each of the seven honored teachers will receive a $500 check from our Teacher Award Partners. These gifts, which can be used to purchase materials for use in their classrooms, are provided by the Adams County, Lancaster County, and York County Community Foundations, as well as The Foundation for Enhancing Communities.
The 2022 Teacher Impact Awards are supported by Capital Blue Cross.
The 2022 Teacher Impact Awards winners, listed alphabetically by county, are:
Teacher: Jonathan Makowski
School District: Conewago Valley School District
Grade(s) & Subject: High School English and Journalism
Nominated by: Jennie Brady
Excerpt from Nomination: He [Makowski] guides us in so many ways beyond school. He’s always asking how we are and will talk with us based on how we respond. If we’re struggling with something, he will sit and let us talk to him and somehow always offers the perfect response. He gave me advice the other week that I can always choose to be kinder to someone than I think they deserve. That has stuck with me, and I know it will forever. Just that phrase alone proves to me that he’s meant to be a teacher. He handles our situations with grace, he lets us express how we feel but also brings us back to reality with how to handle it.
Teacher: Diane Root
School District: Shippensburg Area School District
Grade(s) & Subject: 5th Grade ELA, Math, Science & Social Studies
Nominated by: Patricia and Nadia Blount
Excerpt from Nomination: Mrs. Root is unlike any teacher I have ever had. She teaches with the goal of her students truly understanding the material being presented. She will NOT accept failure from any single student in her class! She recognizes the potential of each student’s abilities. After teaching a concept, Mrs. Root asks if everyone understood. If one person says that they do not understand very well, Mrs. Root patiently and creatively teaches the concept again. Mrs. Root makes learning fun by making up chants to help us remember facts. She also rewards us with treats if we have proven that we have worked hard at a task. The class theme that she chose for us this year is based on the Olympics: “Citius, Altius, Fortius, Communiter”. This she reminds us daily means “Faster, higher, stronger, together.” Together as a community, we can accomplish anything. It would mean so much to me for Mrs. Root to be honored with this award.
Teacher: Michael Bricker
School District: Central Dauphin School District
Grade(s) & Subject: High School Drawing and Painting/Photography
Nominated by: Brandon Bitner
Excerpt from Nomination: Michael Bricker – or just Bricker (as he is known around CDHS) – is one of the most passionate and caring teachers that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. He is constantly striving to create lessons that reach his students on multiple levels – specifically to who the students are as people. Yes, Bricker is an Art teacher, but he’s not as concerned with creating the next great artist in his classes so much as he is with trying to create better humans through the medium of Art Education. Bricker constantly advocates for students at CDHS, not just his own. He is very in touch with social justice and civil rights issues and always promotes positivity, equity, inclusion, and equality for all.
Teacher: Tammy Sweeney
School District: Manheim Township School District
Grade(s) & Subject: US History, AP World, IB CAS Coordinator
Nominated by: Pritesh Tanna
Excerpt from Nomination: Ms. Sweeney is more than just a passionate teacher of history. She takes so much personal interest in each of the students and is incredibly engaged and involved in the school. She leads service and overseas trips for students to multiple places in the world each year. Her favorite is a trip to Thailand. This will be an adventurous trip and service project combined. I have traveled to Thailand previously, but I know for certain that Ms. Sweeney will make this an extraordinary adventure. She has been preparing the students and parents diligently for this adventure on a monthly basis for the past two years.
Teacher: Sabrina Ramirez
School District: Lebanon School District
Grade(s) & Subject: K-5th Grade STEM Teacher
Nominated by: Michael Murphy
Excerpt from Nomination: In the five years since the genesis of the STEM program, Ms. Ramirez has reached an incalculable number of students through her direct teaching as well as coaching other educators in methods and strategies to embed STEM learning in their classrooms. Her influence goes far beyond the walls of Northwest Elementary School and reaches all buildings in our district. The students of Lebanon School District are realizing a brighter future in highly desirable career fields because of the work of Sabrina Ramirez.
Teacher: Rosario Eppley
School District: Susquenita School District
Grade(s) & Subject: High School Spanish Language and Culture
Nominated by: Craig Funk
Excerpt from Nomination: She [Eppley] lit the pathway to understanding the importance of cultural diversity, sensitivity and competence in my personal life and professional career. Personally, she has shown me an overabundance of grace, support, and kindness at every step of my life. Mrs. Eppley pours her heart into her job, students, family and gives back to her community in any way possible. From late hours preparing Spanish lessons, to coordinating school plays and musicals, to serving as a leader of the Spanish National Honor Society, she is an example of self-sacrifice. Rosario Eppley has left an everlasting imprint on my life, as a personal friend and mentor, helping to mold me into a better person and health care provider.
Teacher: Matt Robinson
School District: Dallastown Area School District
Grade(s) & Subject: High School Business
Nominated by: Rebekah McCauley
Excerpt from Nomination: Students have a positive rapport with Mr. Robinson, often participating in appropriate humor and building a positive student-teacher relationship with him because they can see that he cares deeply about his role in their lives as a teacher. Earlier this year he led a “supply chain simulation” during the school for his students, and he created an extensive website chock full of resources for his financial literacy students. He plans field trips for our FBLA club including regional leadership workshops and presenting information to elementary classrooms within our district. I cannot think of a better candidate to receive an award than Mr. Robinson, a dynamic teacher who is deeply devoted to his students and to their learning about his subject matter.
The WITF and Rotary District 7390 will celebrate the 2022 Teacher Impact Awards winners at a an in-person ceremony at the WITF Public Media Center on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, at 6pm. The buffet-style hors d’oeuvres banquet is open to the public and is an opportunity for the community to say “thank you” to educators for their commitment and dedication to their students.
Tickets cost $35 per person and are available for purchase at witf.org/events.
The 2022 Teacher Impact Awards television special featuring the 2022 winners will premiere on WITF TV Thursday, June 23 at 8 p.m., and will stream on-demand beginning June 23 through the PBS Video app and at video.witf.org.
WITF will accept nominations for the 2023 Teacher Impact Awards in January 2023 at witf.org.
WITF is a trusted provider of public media news and programming for approximately 2.3 million people in 19 counties of Central Pennsylvania, encouraging children and adults to Live Inspired®. A member station of PBS and NPR, WITF children’s programming includes public television on WITF TV, WITFK PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and the PBS KIDS app. Other services include an English and Spanish website for caregivers of early learners at ready.witf.org, an EITC program Explore in the Classroom and a variety of free family events that bring PBS KIDS Characters, STEAM activities and families together. WITF’s mission is to inspire lifelong learning by connecting people and communities of Pennsylvania through trusted journalism, thoughtful discussion and educational experiences. For more information, visit witf.org.
Christina Zeiders: 717.805.5058 | firstname.lastname@example.org