Steamboat selects top teacher

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— Steamboat Springs High School teacher Marty Lamansky. Lamansky was chosen Wednesday as the Steamboat Springs School District's Teacher of the Year by the Steamboat Springs School Board.

The board had the tough job of picking between Lamansky and fellow nominees Georgia Reust, Karen Meek and Pat Roberts, all of whom were named Teacher of the Year at their respective schools.

The four were interviewed at Wednesday night's Board of Education meeting and chosen by the board. Soda Creek Elementary teacher Reust was called out of town on an emergency and was interviewed by phone.

Teacher of the Year candidates were first nominated by fellow teachers in their schools, and the final decision for each school's Teacher of the Year was made by the principal.

In a letter nominating Lamansky for the honor, his co-worker Cindy Gay wrote:

"Marty is a consummate professional who is passionate about his calling. He is thoughtful, purposeful, conscientious and holds himself and his students to the highest standards of integrity and honor."

Lamansky will now represent Steamboat Springs in the state competition, which involves a long application process. Last year, Soda Creek Elementary teacher Kerry Kerrigan made it to the final three candidates.

"This person represents all of the good teachers," Superinten-dent Cyndy Simms said. "It's always a hard decision."

This year's candidates together have almost a century of teaching experience, much of it in the local district.

Steamboat Springs High

Steamboat Springs High School teacher Marty Lamansky may be synonymous with the high school's successful speech team, but he does much more than that. He is a member of Critical Friends, a high school staff development group, and is in the Learning and Education in an Alternative Program, as well leading the teacher induction program for new teachers.

And whatever he does, he does with unbridled enthusiasm.

"I always jump in with both feet," said Lamansky, who has been teaching for 20 years. "I have energy and enthusiasm and a positive approach to things. There's always a solution, it just takes some energy and creativity."

High School Principal Dave Schmid said Lamansky is perceived as a leader in the school and as one who helps teachers.

"He's done a lot of things in helping staff become better," Schmid said.

Lamansky said he considers all his extra activities second and third jobs, but ones he wants to have simply because he likes doing them.

Lamansky said being chosen is an honor for all teachers.

"There's no shortage of outstanding teachers on this or any other staff," he said. "I view it is an honor coming from my peers. It also represents the school and this district."

Soda Creek Elementary

At Soda Creek Elementary, kindergarten teacher Reust was chosen as its Teacher of the Year. For Reust, who has been teaching since 1977, both in Steamboat and in Hayden, there's a simple reason why she loves her job.

"I love kindergarten mostly because of the enthusiasm the kids have. They love school, they love their teacher, they love learning," she said. "I love coming to school everyday. The enthusiasm and the humor keeps me going."

She also enjoys the diversity of the children in her classes, she said.

Reust is one of the first early childhood educators to be chosen as Teacher of the Year from Soda Creek and she said it is a boost for that segment of education. Reust was also instrumental in getting the kindergarten program accredited at Strawberry Park, where she also taught.

"Georgia is a whole-school person," Soda Creek Principal Cherryl Sage said. "Kindergarten teachers influence the whole school by getting kids off to a caring start."

Sage also cited Reust's generosity in mentoring first-year kindergarten teachers.

Strawberry Park Elementary

You might call Strawberry Park Elementary Title I reading teacher Karen Meek a book worm because she encourages all kids not just those who need help to read.

Meek started the Book It/Pizza Hut program and the accelerated reading program, in which she has trained other teachers.

"She has demonstrated continued leadership in the area of reading and literacy," Principal John DeVincentis said.

He said this area has always been particularly important and Meek has organized many of the school's assessments. She also shows sensitivity to students and teachers in working with so many people in the building, he said.

"I really listen to everybody and everybody's opinions," Meek said.

Meek, who has been teaching for 26 years, is happy to have been nominated by her peers.

"It always feels good," she said. "It's nice knowing they see the value of having you in the classroom and helping students."

Steamboat Springs Middle School

Steamboat Springs Middle School teacher Pat Roberts is all over the place and that's a good thing. Roberts is a resource teacher and works with all the staff to focus on areas where students all students need help.

"I think it has to do with the time I spend with the students, not the just the special ed students," Roberts said about her being chosen as middle school teacher of the year. "A lot of kids need a special approach. I think I offer that."

"She doesn't make those distinctions," agreed middle school Principal Sandy Hall. "Those who need help, she's there."

Roberts tries to give all she can to each student, Hall said, giving up lunches and putting in time after school.

"I consider being a teacher a great privilege," she said. "To be able to do something I look forward to doing everyday is a privilege. I feel pretty blessed."

Roberts has been teaching in Steamboat Springs since 1988 and said it's great to be nominated by fellow teachers, although she has a caveat.

"It's fabulous," she said. "There's hardly a greater honor, other than being nominated by the kids."


To reach Jennifer Bartlett call 871-4204 or e-mail jbartlett@amigo.net

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