Kelli Wolfel named district’s ‘Teacher of the Year’

The Community Connection - - LOCAL NEWS - By Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

POTTSTOWN » “En­thu­si­asm and pride” are the words Barth El­e­men­tary School teacher Kelli Wolfel’s peers use to de­scribe her work ethic, and they are just a few of the many things which helped her on the way to be­ing named Pottstown School District’s Teacher of the Year.

Wolfel was one of seven teach­ers, each elected by teach­ers in their own school, who were rec­og­nized as part of the an­nual Teacher of the Year cer­e­mony held by the Pottstown School Board.

“In the class­room, she works tire­lessly to iden­tify and meet the needs of each child un­der her care,” ac­cord­ing to the nar­ra­tive writ­ten about Wolfel for the cer­e­mony.

“As a proud Pottstown par­ent, her own chil­dren, both in­side and out­side of school, are a re­flec­tion of her core val­ues,” ac­cord­ing to the nar­ra­tive, read aloud by Hu­man Re­sources Di­rec­tor Deena Cellini.

“In ad­di­tion to vol­un­teer­ing to serve on nearly ev­ery district-wide com­mit­tee dur­ing her ten­ure at Pottstown, she is cur­rently in­volved in Fam­ily Lit­er­acy Nights, the STEAM com­mit­tee, Well­ness/SEL pro­gram­ming, and the math cur­ricu­lum adop­tion.”

Franklin El­e­men­tary

“Ar­riv­ing early and leav­ing late gives this teacher an op­por­tu­nity to en­sure that each of her stu­dents’ needs are met and it also gives the rest of the staff am­ple time to reach out to her for col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts,” is what was writ­ten about Su­san Hall­man.

“Her pro­fes­sion­al­ism and pos­i­tive en­ergy go a great dis­tance in mak­ing her col­leagues see her as a per­pet­ual “go to” per­son in the build­ing, whether it is for brain­storm­ing new strate­gies to use with stu­dents or best prac­tices and data min­ing,” it was said of Hall­man.

Lin­coln El­e­men­tary

Jill Bolon­ski “does not work in iso­la­tion. She rec­og­nizes the value in the id­iom of ‘it takes a vil­lage.’ Whether it is the prin­ci­pal, in­ter­ven­tion team, speech, oc­cu­pa­tional, or phys­i­cal ther­a­pists, or the rest of the fac­ulty and staff, this teacher rec­og­nizes the im­por­tance of each area in tak­ing an ini­tia­tive off the page and mak­ing it a liv­ing, breath­ing, dy­namic pro­gram to ben­e­fit stu­dents’ aca­demic and per­sonal growth,” read the de­scrip­tion of Lin­coln’s nom­i­nee.

“She is reg­u­larly im­prov­ing in­struc­tion and in­ter­ven­tion by us­ing data to es­tab­lish high but ob­tain­able goals for her stu­dents,” Cellini read, adding, “. The pos­i­tive rap­port she cre­ates with stu­dents and par­ents alike is a con­stant in her ca­reer.”

Ru­pert El­e­men­tary

“Any good teacher will tell you that rou­tines are cru­cial to a suc­cess­ful class­room. The rou­tines and en­vi­ron­ment cre­ated in this teacher’s class­room are crit­i­cal to hav­ing early el­e­men­tary stu­dents grow and feel suc­cess­ful and cared for as they con­tinue to chal­lenge them­selves to meet the ex­pec­ta­tions she es­tab­lishes for each stu­dent, in­di­vid­ual to their needs,” Cellini read about Ru­pert nom­i­nee Brit­ney Ox­en­ford.

“Her knowl­edge of strate­gies to help meet stu­dents’ needs is a re­source uti­lized by many staff mem­bers who seek her ex­per­tise when they are seek­ing the right strat­egy for a par­tic­u­lar stu­dent or just a bet­ter, more en­gag­ing way of do­ing things in their own class­room,” she said.

Mid­dle School Grades 5/6

“Re­turn­ing from a ma­ter­nity leave to a team with two new mem­bers was not enough to shake this teacher from do­ing what she does best. With stu­dents and col­leagues, she sets high ex­pec­ta­tions and com­mands respect,” is what Cellini had to say about Dana DiDonato.

“Re­gard­less of the venue, 6th grade team meet­ing, math depart­ment meet­ing, or Sun­shine com­mit­tee; this teacher iden­ti­fies the needs, the most ef­fi­cient way to ac­com­plish those tasks, and goes about do­ing it with a smile on her face.”

Mid­dle School Grades 7/8

“For this teacher, ex­cel­lence comes as a quiet force; a force that sees what needs do­ing and does it…with­out com­plaint or want of recog­ni­tion,” Cellini said about Ja­son Bergey.

“New spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion

teach­ers uti­lize this teacher as a re­source for aca­demic as well as be­hav­ioral ad­vice. His pres­ence in a co­taught class­room en­sures that not only spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion stu­dents will gain ex­tra sup­port but that also reg­u­lar ed­u­ca­tion stu­dents who need ex­tra sup­port will have ac­cess to his in­struc­tion and at­ten­tion. “

High School

“This teacher has worked at all three lev­els through­out the district, start­ing as a third grade teacher, earn­ing mul­ti­ple teach­ing cer­tifi­cates, and mov­ing into fam­ily and con­sumer sciences and most re­cently to the li­brary,” Cellini read about high school nom­i­nee and 26-year vet­eran Kris­ten El­lis.

“With ex­pe­ri­ence at all three aca­demic lev­els, she is com­fort­able serv­ing on com­mit­tees that ser­vice our K-12 pop­u­la­tion in­clud­ing our Well­ness pro­gram, par­tic­i­pat­ing in Healthy Bod­ies Healthy Minds; as a Fam­ily Lit­er­acy Night teacher, a Read­ing Olympics ad­vi­sor, and even serves her fel­low teach­ers as Trea­surer for the Fed­er­a­tion of Pottstown Teach­ers.”


The 2018 Pottstown Teach­ers of the Year are, from left, Brit­ney Ox­en­ford from Ru­pert, Dana DiDonato from 5-6 mid­dle school, Ja­son Bergey from 7-8 mid­dle school; Jill Bolon­ski from Lin­coln, (School Board Pres­i­dent Amy Fran­cis), Kelli Wolfel from Barth, (Su­per­in­ten­dent Stephen Ro­driguez), Kris­ten El­lis from the high school, Su­san Hall­man from Franklin and, of course, Tro­jan Man.

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