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Finalists for Alamo City’s Amazing Teacher 2017

We are in complete awe of the teachers who were nominated in Alamo City’s Amazing Teacher contest! We asked our readers to nominate teachers who have made an impact in their and their children’s lives. With more than 7,000 teachers in one San Antonio school district alone, there are thousands of wonderful educators in the San Antonio community, and we are honored to be featuring some of them today.

Here is an introduction to our finalists. We want our readers to help us determine who will receive the title of Alamo City’s Amazing Teacher!

Voting will open Wednesday, May 3 and continue through 8:00 A.M. on Friday, May 5. 

***Updated: The winner will be surprised this week!***

Jeremy Daggett

Music, Great Hearts Texas, Monte Vista Campus

Nominated by Inga Cotton

As a music teacher, Jeremy Daggett has helped shape the minds of every student at Great Hearts Monte Vista South (K-5). Students meet for music class every other day in a classroom in the basement of Temple Beth-El. Their instruments are their voices, plus Mr. Daggett’s lively accompaniment on an upright piano. The class covers music theory and a multicultural variety of traditional songs that the students perform for their families at twice-yearly concerts in the sanctuary at the Temple. Students crack themselves up trying to tell me how funny Mr. Daggett is. “Sometimes he does silly things in music class,” said my daughter, G.N. (1st grade), miming a pair of hands banging on piano keys. My son, F.T. (4th grade) said that on Mr. Daggett’s birthday, he pretended to be 4,000 years old. Mr. Daggett has a pretend microphone called “Magic Mike” (no, not based on the Channing Tatum movie) that he passes to students to encourage them to sing their all. His classroom is decorated with a mini piano and statuettes of famous pianists and composers. Music instruction is essential to the classical curriculum at Great Hearts; it’s part of a well-rounded education and helps students appreciate beauty and culture. Every student gets to participate in music class, and students with a special interest can participate in an after-school music club — they sound like angels. Music helps bring our school community together. I remember the school’s first winter concert, in December 2014: it was the first time since our school’s founding that we all came together under one roof. The shared appreciation of the beauty of our children’s voices was an unforgettable experience. More recently, Mr. Daggett has led faculty concerts featuring his piano playing (including Beethoven sonatas) and the soprano voices of Dean Laura Pyper and assistant office manager Elise Miller, plus faculty members playing clarinet, French horn, and more.  Mr. Daggett is part of the classical music community in San Antonio, with ties to UTSA and the San Antonio Mastersingers (who are preparing for a summer tour of Russia).

Bio

Jeremy Daggett grew up in Oregon where he went to college and received his undergrad in Piano Performance. While in college, he met the most wonderful woman in the world, who he then promptly married! They moved to San Antonio in 2009.  He finished a Master’s degree in Philosophy as he began teaching at Great Hearts Monte Vista. He’s been teaching music to Kindergarten through 5th grade there since the school was founded in 2014. Additionally, he is the rehearsal accompanist for the San Antonio Mastersingers, the chorus for the San Antonio Symphony. Fun fact: he is the father of nine children and #10 is due in early July. Life is never boring! 

Jamie Gonzalez

2nd grade teacher, Wilderness Oak Elementary, Northeast ISD

Nominated by Kate Bingham, a current student

Mrs. Gonzalez is amazing. She has been my teacher for two years. I wish she could always be my teacher. I love coming to school and learning. She is very fun in the class and always makes learning exciting. She is sooooo caring and kind. Because of her I want to be a teacher when I grow up if I can’t play soccer professionally. She is awesome and I will be so sad to go to third grade without her. She thinks up really cool things for us to do. She is really good at math and reading and likes to show us interesting things. She makes school fun and I love being in her class.

 

Bio

Jamie has been teaching at Wilderness Oak Elementary for 9 years.  Upon graduating from Clark High School, she received her teaching certification from UTSA.  Teaching is her 2nd career and she absolutely loves it!  She thinks the kids and families at her school are amazing and that they make teaching such a fun and rewarding job!

Chalene Jordan

Kindergarten teacher, Cibolo Green Elementary, North East ISD

Nominated by multiple parents

We have had the extreme pleasure of embarking on our child’s public education this year through Mrs. Jordan’s wonderful kindergarten class. Before starting school, we were apprehensive – “would this teacher truly care about our child?” “will his teacher meet his needs?” “can we really entrust someone else with laying the kindergarten foundation for our child’s educational future?” Mrs. Jordan was undeniably the best “yes” answer to all of our questions and fears. She has exhibited patience and grace with him and has led him through the learning process in a way where he doesn’t even know he’s learning. He comes home each day so very happy (we often hear “today was the best day!” or “I didn’t want you to come get me yet! I was having too much fun!”), and we are eternally grateful for this wonderful experience with Mrs. Jordan. Our son’s enthusiasm for learning and for school has even rubbed off on our 3-year-old daughter, who insists that Mrs. Jordan is also her teacher. Mrs. Jordan deserves the moon, and since we can’t give her that, it’s our sincerest hope that she wins this contest.

Mrs. Jordan is honestly the best teacher I have ever known! She’s the teacher you’ll always remember! My daughter has a speech delay and has a very hard time learning her ABC’s and numbers. The week before school I had her write her abc’s. You couldn’t recognize anything. Within a month of being with Mrs. Jordan, Kaitlin knew almost all of her ABC’s and how to spell her name! Mrs. Jordan has been able to get Kaitlin passed milestones that felt impossible. She is such a blessing to us! She cares about her students and wants them to succeed! Mrs. Jordan deserves to be awarded the Amazing Teacher Award more than any teacher I have ever met!

My son Austin’s kinder teacher is awesome, organized, and supports all her kids in her class to be ahead of the grade. My son did not know how to count, read, alphabet since he did not go to daycare ever. He knows how to count to 100, alphabet, and reads to his 18 month old sister which helps mom and dad.

Let me tell you why my daughters Kindergarten teacher takes “Education to the Top”. Mrs. Jordan is the Kindergarten teacher at Cibolo Green Elementary School. She is the type of teacher that creates an atmosphere where her students are always looking forward to coming back and learning more. Everyday our daughter comes home excited to share with us how her day went and what she learned. To see knowledge grow in your child and spark new questions is a wonderful thing. The benefit with Mrs. Jordan is that you child doesn’t just get one teacher, you get 5 bonus teachers. Those teachers are Princess Kate, Valley Girl, Princess Pippa (when sick), Scuba Diver & Mouse. These are the many different persona’s that Mrs. Jordan takes on to bring smiles to her students and make learning fun(Like Totally). Each persona is used in a special way to teach a specific subject. As a parent i understand that not all required material is exciting and fun, however Mrs. Jordan always finds a way to accomplish just that. Mrs. Jordan’s is a superhero to many of the children that she teaches. Her super-power is that she can inspire children to want to learn and lead. We feel we were very fortunate to have our daughter assigned to Mrs. Jordan’s class. It is as if Cibolo Green Elementary School used the Harry Potter Sorting Hat and found the best fit for our daughter. We believe Cibolo Green Elementary School has a real “Gem” with Mrs. Jordan. Her dedication to her students success really shows with the progress that her students make. This is why we believe Mrs. Jordan takes education to the Top!!!

Our family may never experience the thrill of winning the lottery, but this year we certainly hit the jackpot when our youngest was placed in Mrs. Jordan’s Kindergarten class, and our winnings have been endless!

It’s been a treat to volunteer in my daughter’s class and see her amazing teacher in action. It’s one thing to be able to teach content well. When that ability is coupled with a person who inspires a love of learning, connects with each student and meets them right at their level, that’s talent! Mrs. Jordan truly has a gift which she bestows on her students each day.

The first thing you’ll notice about Mrs. Jordan is her welcoming smile. She greets her students each morning with genuine happiness, and her interest and love for each kiddo carries through the entire day. She inspires those in her care and guides them, not only in academic lessons, but in life lessons as well.

It is inevitable that with 22 kindergartners, many “learning opportunities” regarding behavior will present themselves. Walking with scissors pointing out, not sharing, tattling, touching…the list goes on and on, and Mrs. Jordan’s responses and redirections are endless. Her talent in speaking with the children, reinforcing positive behaviors and her calm that prevails in all situations are truly admirable. Mrs. Jordan was born to teach young children, and all those in her care benefit with her as their role model!

Mrs. Jordan’s classroom management rivals any expert’s. Her students have clear expectations, and routines have been set since the beginning of the year. With such a major component in place, opportunities for pure silliness and endless fun can be enjoyed! The kids’ smiles, laughter, and at times, belly laughs, can be heard on any given day. Kindergarten in Mrs. Jordan’s class is fun!

Her “kids” are so well behaved that she can do things like cook sausage, bacon and pancakes for a 100th day of school celebration, invite guests to class, or morph into “Princess Kate” complete with a lilt in her voice. Her students read in different character voices: mouse voice, valley girl voice, sloth voice. She can regroup with a call and response, or a simple hand clap. How effective!

My daughter has been challenged and encouraged, supported and loved. She admires her teacher for so many reasons, and loves school! A week doesn’t pass that a picture of Mrs. Jordan hasn’t been drawn, or a letter to her teacher drafted. And guess what? Her amazing teacher has a letter written back, answering every question my child asked with added details – the very next day! What’s so impressive is that this is the norm – for every child. Whatever a child’s interest, she responds accordingly. My child’s happens to be writing.

I would love to see Mrs. Jordan receive this award! Every kindergartener who passes through her doors at Cibolo Green Elementary experiences a year full of fun, challenges, opportunities and giggles! She is a true talent, and we are grateful to have her in our lives.

Bio

Bio from Mrs. Jordan’s Website

My name is Chalene Jordan. I was born in Virginia and lived in Montana, Ohio, Alabama, and San Antonio while growing up. My father was in the Air Force and I loved getting to experience new people and places.  In 1995 I graduated from James Madison High School – Go Dollies! I have been married to my high school sweetheart Adrian for 14 years. We have four beautiful daughters. Chloe is 10, Macie is 8, Emery is 3, and Landry is 1!  I enjoy ballet, gardening, traveling, reading and spending time with my family.  I graduated from UTSA in 1999 with a degree in Early Childhood Education. This is my 16th year teaching. I have taught 1st grade and kindergarten. I love teaching and I am excited to learn from your child as well!

Kim Soliz

ALE (Special Education), Kate Schenk Elementary, San Antonio ISD

Nominated by Virginia Kelsey

The reason Kim should be Alamo City’s Amazing Teacher of 2017 is simple: love for her students. She comes from a place of love, and it drives her to work harder than any other teacher I know. One time, one of her students, in an effort to express herself (and not having the capability to do so), bit Kim. Hard. It drew blood and district policy forced her to go to urgent care. She went in the middle of the day and waited three hours. She later told me she spent her time waiting to be seen by a doctor brainstorming ways she could help this child, the one that had just sent her to urgent care. She wanted them to speed it up at the urgent care because she wanted to be sure she made it back to campus before the day’s end so she could let that child know that she loved her, and that tomorrow was another day. She made it back to school with little time to spare, but just enough to reassure her student that she was okay, and that she still loved her. Kim works with the hardest cases and comes up with unique ways to get through to them. She ends each day ready to try again. I wish every teacher were like her and I think she is the exemplar by which we should all imitate.

 

Bio

Kimberly Soliz was born and raised in the amazing city of San Antonio. She graduated from Winston Churchill High School in 1998 (Charger Pride!). She received her B.A. in English in 2002 and M.Ed. in 2015, both from UTSA (Go Runners!). This is her 14th year teaching and all 14 years have been at Kate Schenck Elementary in SAISD. She has taught grades Kinder, 2nd and 4th, but her true passion is for children with special needs. She is currently teaching in an ACE (life skills) classroom for elementary students with moderate to severe disabilities. She loves showing the world that her amazing students can achieve more than anyone thought possible. Although she is their teacher, it’s these guys and gals that teach HER something new everyday. She feels beyond blessed to get to work with this special group of children.  

Mary Schumacher

3rd grade teacher, McAndrew Elementary, Northside ISD

Nominated by Staci and Aidan Almager

Our youngest son is Aidan. Mrs. Schumacher was his 2nd and 3rd grade teacher. While he was her student Aidan’s sister Jennifer was dying. She passed away on May 1, 2016. Mrs. Schumacher provided a safe place at school in her classroom as he coped with the emotional turmoil a little boy should never have to endure. Every day he went to school he didn’t know if his sister would die that day. Mrs. Schumacher held Aidan to a very high educational standard but with an uncommon compassion. The special student/teacher bond they developed allowed Aidan to flourish and grow despite the challenges he faced at home. He scored beautifully on the 3rd grade STARR just a few weeks before his sister died. His fears, emotional distress and lack of understanding how to process grief could have caused him to do poorly in school and no one would have been surprised. But, Mrs. Schumacher was such an extraordinary teacher she transformed his school day into a place where he could set everything aside and truly learn critical 2nd and 3rd grade concepts completely and develop into an exemplary student. That was achieved with trust, compassion and kindness. It is well documented and researched that if a child does not achieve educational milestones and success by the 3rd grade that their life path can be negatively altered or defined as a result. Mrs. Schumacher didn’t let that happen to our son. He is not another negative statistic defined by his unfortunate family circumstances. He thrived, continues to thrive and dreams of becoming a writer and a professor. . Mrs. Schumacher and Aidan have continued their bond this school year. She has continued to be a safe place for Aidan, a champion for him in the classroom and at school and a compassionate friend to our son. We think of Mrs. Schumacher as a teacher for our son who held his hand as he walked through life shattering and harrowing times. We will never forget what she did for our son and our entire family. She is Alamo City’s Amazing Teacher.

Mary Schumacher loves teaching and has been with NISD for 17 years. She currently teaches 3rd grade at McAndrew Elementary. Every day is a new adventure!

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2 Responses to Finalists for Alamo City’s Amazing Teacher 2017

  1. John May 8, 2017 at 8:19 am #

    So… are y’all going to announce the winner?!

    • Lindsay
      Lindsay May 8, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

      Yes! The winner will be surprised this week!