Staff Appreciation

Thank You Great Staff, Great Schools

Staff Appreciation Week 2022

Staff Thank Yous & Notes of Gratitude 

  • Jamie Sandy at CHS is one of those teachers that reaches a student through her deep desire to teach them how to love what they do and find talent they didn't realize they had. She is caring and generous and truly inspires her students. Thanks for being you!

    Mr Odette at CHS is one of a kind- the way he has provided support, taught the kids what it means to lead and how to be a leader, and how he has offered invaluable insight helping those in senate to become their best selves. Thank you Mr Odette for your years of service as an advisor to the students in Senate!

    Mrs. Flaherty at CHS has always been there often last minute to offer support, answer questions and meet a need. She is positive and very caring. Thank you Mrs. Flaherty!

    These have been a hard couple years. As a school community we have had the solid leadership of Jessie Houghton at Central High School to guide, protect and encourage us. She has been steadfast in her commitment to our students and has shown much integrity. Thank you Principal Houghton! - Heather Muha
  • Thanks to our TCAPS Tech team for making Star Wars day fun!!! Kerri-Ann Bonaddio
  • I have 3 teachers to thank for this week! We have been so lucky with all of the teachers our kids have had through the years and this year is no different. Mrs. Lindsey (GSRP Blair) is SO amazing! Our daughter Makenna just adores her. She is always communicating with us and really makes Makenna feel so welcome and loved. Mrs. Hickman (1st grade: Blair) is my son's teacher for the second year in a row and the way she has pulled him out of his shell and made him love going to school will always be something we are so thankful for. When Elijah found out he had her again this year he was jumping up and down and couldn't contain his excitement. She is so so good with the kids. And Mrs. LaBlanc (3rd grade Blair) is so patient and attentive to our son, Kieran. He has some anxiety and some trouble sitting still at times but has worked with him to find the best solution to give him a place to do his best learning. She is so kind and really wants to make sure Kieran is getting the most he can out of everyday in school. We can't thank our teachers enough for ALL that they do, beyond "just" teaching, it is so much more than that and they are truly the best! Ashley Hiatt
  • Shoutout to Sara Bageris at Central Grade School for her wonderful communication with parents and children! 

    Shout out to all of the teachers and staff at Sparta office at West Senior High School! They work very hard for their students.

    Just wanted to say thank you to Jim Bunek and Jeff VanDalson for the great communication and extra time they have provided this semester with math students at West Senior High.- Faye Houtz

  • Hello! This is an appreciation message for Danelle Brostrom.
    "Danelle is an extraordinary human. Whenever I see her visiting her school(s), she is upbeat, positive, always has a smile and takes time to say hello. She is an amazing asset to TCAPS. Thank you, Danelle!" Erin Harrelson
  • Words cannot express the amount of positive encouragement and support Lillian Swan (Westwoods Elementary) has provided for our son and entire family this school year. Her kindness and empathy is unmatched. She has an amazing ability to connect with the age group she works with and is tireless in her efforts to bring fun and creativity to teaching. I don't know how she manages to balance such a demanding job with 2 young children at home, but she makes it look easy!! We could not be more grateful for her.
    Chris and Renee Tamlyn
  • Thank you to Miss Hannah Scharfenberg for stepping in midyear as a 1st grade teacher at Cherry Knoll. You are doing an amazing job!
  • Maddy and I just wanted to thank all the staff at Silver Lake Elementary and TCAPS bus garage, custodians and lunch staff! 
    We appreciate you! 
    Special shout out to resource teacher Mrs. Lizabeth banks, Mr.gresso the 4th grade teacher, principle Mrs. Angela camp, Michelle with office administrator, Fred am bus driver-route 243, and lunch room staff. The music and art teachers Mrs. Burch and Mr. Vanhouton. The gym teacher, Mrs.ray, The librarian Mr. Pryde. Mrs. Kilpatrick, Mrs. Garcia, Mrs. Egeler, Mrs. Houston, Mrs. Budde, and Mrs.Miller
    We also would like to thank previous teachers as well. Mrs. Heitfield and Mrs. Wyatt
    Sincerely, Heather Broedell and Madelynn Baumgartner!
  • We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Emily Fetters at Courtade Elementary. Mrs. Fetters has not just led well through a tough couple years - she has maintained positive experiences for the students at Courtade. Our favorite thing about Mrs. Fetters is when she takes time out of her busy day to personally call us with “Kind Cougar” reports - that’s the kind of call from a principal every parent wants! Thank you Mrs. Fetters, for all you do - your hard work does not go unnoticed! -Matt and Alli R.
  • Huge shout out to Autumn Slawter at Courtade Elementary! Miss Slawter makes learning come alive in hands on, exciting ways. Our daughter loves how kind she is and the ways in which she encourages her to challenge her thinking. We also appreciate the extra touches she integrates into school routines - from bubbles on the playground to pizza parties when the class reaches a goal, she doesn’t lose sight of fun. Thank you, Miss Slawter - we are so grateful for all the ways you make school amazing! -Matt and Alli R.
  • We are eternally grateful for the relationships we have grown with Sharon Piatek and Michele Dansingburg at Courtade Elementary. Our daughter absolutely loves attending extended day care, and we know that it’s because of their dedication and care. Sharon and Michele, we cannot thank you enough for the long days you put in to ensure safe and loving experiences for students outside of school hours. We are so grateful for both of you! -Matt and Alli R.
  • We are so appreciative of the efforts of TCAPS staff.  Special shout out to Eastern's Mandy LaBarre for making every day special for these kids.  We are astounded with the learning & growth we've seen this year. We especially love the kids' daily kindness acts, there is more kindness in the world because of you.  We are SO lucky to have you!
    Sarah Gano
  • Ms. Missy & Mrs. Jenkins at Eastern. Your superhuman ability to do 3,000 things at once is inspiring. Thank you for everything you juggle and on top of it finding time to love every kid that walks into the office. You rock!
    Sarah Gano

  • Mr. Taylor at EMS, thank you for the way you've engaged the kids this year. Our daughter has loved World Geography and has continued many thought provoking topics from your class with us at home. Thank you! Thank you!
    Sarah Gano

  • Mr. Schafer at EMS, because of you, I'm officially embarrassed to sing next to my daughter. Thank you for sharing your passion with these kids. We are blown away by the talent at every concert.
    Sarah Gano

  • Mrs. Brian, I hear often how great you are! Thank you!
    Sarah Gano

  • We want to give a big shout out to the staff at TCAPS Montessori, especially Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Tomlinson, Mrs. Girard and Mrs. Stocknik. These teachers have helped our children grow and mature in so many ways this past school  year. Thank you for all you do!!
    Chris & Beth Hines

  • Marlee is my third child to graduate from Central Grade School. Riley will be a junior at West and Ryan will be going to Central High School in the fall. I wanted to express my appreciation for all of the wonderful teachers we have had over the years. Mrs. Forsyth, Mrs. Dall’Olmo, Mrs. Katt, Mrs. Cocklin, Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. Hall, Mrs. Hanley, Mrs. Cole, Mrs. Kyser and Ms. Thomas. It has been a pleasure having you teach and nurture my children . Riley still talks about the great books Mrs. Hanley used to read to the class and how it inspired her to learn about history. Marlee forms special bonds with all of her teachers but she got teary eyed and said , “I am going to miss Ms. Thomas the most.” This is so wonderful when you can reach children in this special way. Thank you all so much.
    Sincerely, Renee Goetz

  • Erin has been an amazing GSRP teacher for our son at Long Lake Elementary! She has given so much care and kindness to her students and went above and beyond to provide a special experience for her students. My son is excited to come to school each day and has shown so much growth in his academic journey. I'm grateful for this program and her exceptional skills as a nurturing, patient, and engaging teacher. Thank you Ms. Harrelson
    Kelly Zenz 

  • Thank you to all of the wonderful support staff at Eastern Elementary, whose art lessons, books and songs brighten our daughter's days!
    Our family is forever grateful to Mrs. Ferguson, who encourages curiosity, kindness and love every day of Kindergarten! Her lessons will be upheld in our family long after our daughter's days in Kindergarten have passed. 
    Love, The Mapes Family

  • Thank you to all bus drivers on the westwoods Red bus that drive my child safely to school everyday. Really appreciate you for doing this and making it fun. :)
    Thank you to Mrs. Lauters, who welcomed my child half way through the school year. She made him feel safe and right at home in her classroom. 
    Thanks to the admin staff to helping me find my way in Westwoods. Coming from the Netherlands where things are a little different, they always patiently assisted me with questions.
    Hilde Bowman 

  • We are so grateful for the education our daughter receives at Cherry Knoll! She has a great teacher,  who engages us in her learning and gives her to the tools to grow as a student. Thank you Miss Leestma!
    From, Shannon and Tom Owen

  • As a Traverse City resident beginning in 1985 as a first year teacher, then parent and middle school mathematics teacher and teacher leader, I would like to express my gratitude to the teachers from Willow Hill, Eastern, East Middle SchoolWest Middle School and West Senior High. My adult children, Kelsey and Eric, benefited from an amazing variety of learning experiences across disciplines throughout their Pre-K through 12 school years from 1995-2015. Each of them earned a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University, where they excelled in their coursework based on the solid foundation established as West Senior High School graduates.
    I hold a special place in my heart for the secondary mathematics teachers with whom I have grown and collaborated:  Trish Brian, Jodi Murphy, Jane Porath, Jen Rundio, Tamie Rosenburg, Bob Sagan, Mike Schrotenboer, Maria Taplin, Jody Thompson and Mike Wilson. Our professional and personal relationships have made my teaching career that much richer.  I have also had the opportunity to work with amazing interdisciplinary team mates: Bonny Babel, Tanya Donahue, Melanie Rizzo, Mya Sagan, Amy Six-King, Jon Moore,  Annie Somerville, Christina Steele, Gabe Taylor and Jessica Unger to name a few. Each person brought a unique strength to our team which made our students' learning opportunities that much stronger. Each of these teachers is a dedicated professional who goes above and beyond to give his/her personal best each day.
    Wishing You the Very Best for Today and All of Your Tomorrows,
    Mary Beth Schmitt

  • Thank you to every staff member at Courtade Elementary! Special thanks to Ms. Sack who has taught and supported my son through his second grade year. Thank you for being kind, patient, and encouraging. Thank you for being accepting. We appreciate you and everything you do to help Noah succeed!
    Carly Britton

  • In honor of National Admin Assistant Day (April 27th)- We want to wish Jennifer T. and Carolyn R. a very happy day! They are the dynamic duo that keep Cherry Knoll going. My sons absolutely adore them, their energy and kindness are one of a kind. We are so thankful to both of them!
    Kaitlin Markwart

  • Eastern Elementary Front Office Staff: Jill Jenkins and Missy Waskiewicz
    If you’ve ever stepped into your elementary schools’ front office, you’ll know that the front office staff are the glue that hold our school together! Not only do these ladies at Eastern Elementary greet each and every student and grown-up with kindness, but they’re answering hundreds of calls a day, making sure our students are happy and looked after, and caring for our students when they are ill awaiting a pickup. We appreciate you so much Jill and Missy!!!!
    Lydia Potthoff  

  • Eastern Elementary, Julie Edwardson, kindergarten: 
    The kind, calm, rigorous learning environment that Ms. Julie Edwardson creates in her kindergarten class is incredible. She is so patient with each student and creative at keeping her students’ attention. We are so lucky to have her at Eastern Elementary!
    Lydia Potthoff  

  • Eastern Elementary, Noon Lunch Duty
    Lunch can be a time for kids to get a bit rowdy and extra chatty with their friends, but with our lunch duty staff our students are safe, learning appropriate behaviors and manners, and well taken care of! We are so lucky for the Noon Lunch Duty Staff at Eastern Elementary!! 
    Lydia Potthoff 

  • John McManus from transportation is great at everything he does. Whether it's driving a bus or doing maintenance work around the district he is always willing to help and has a smile on his face! I am happy to say I work with him!

  • We couldn’t be more happier to be part of the super star family at central grade schoolMrs Grigal has been outstanding. She is patient and understanding and is always going out of her way to make sure students are achieving in a fun enjoyable way. We have been lucky enough to have her for both of our daughters and we will always be so appreciative for the hard work and dedication and love to teaching and to students.
    Michelle Dittmar

  • We have been so lucky to be working with such wonderful staff at Central Grade. Mrs. Jackson has been so kind and loving to our son. We couldn’t have asked for a better teacher for Third Grade. A special thank you to Mrs. Forsyth and Ms. Angove! The whole Admin and Social Work Team are beyond phenomenal for all they do behind the scenes.
    Danielle Jarrad

  • Mr. Lesinski- aka Mr. L (Central Grade Elementary School) Thank you for all the support and guidance with our daughter Sophie. She always talks so highly of your class. She is well on her way to 6th grade! Thanks again for all you do every day!
    Thank you Robert & Stephanie Ellul

  • Thank you Mrs. Jackson (Central Grade Elementary School) for everything you do for our son, Michael! He loves being in your class! He has grown in so many wonderful aspects over this last year with you! We appreciate your support, dedication and overall love for your students! You will be sooooo missed next year!
    Thank you Always,
    Robert & Stephanie Ellul

  • Mrs. Novik (Central Grade Elementary School) Thank you for all your help/support with Michael with his studies this year! He loves going to your class, always so fun-yet learning a lot along the way and a few prizes too! Again, thank you for all you do!
    Thank you,
    Robert & Stephanie Ellul

  • Ms. Tiffany at Extended Day for always being helpful and excited to hangout with the children!

  • Mrs. Jackson 3rd Grade at Central Grade- the best and most involved teacher my child has had so far! Her communication with parents is far more than I have ever received in the past. It is much appreciated.

  • Thank you for an inspiring senior year, Mrs. Houdek (CHS). Your focus on excellence and attention to all learners is very much appreciated. Your class is challenging, inviting, and filled with supportive and actionable feedback. Just what we need more of in education today. Thank you!
    Brian Lettinga

  • 8th grade was really tough for Gigi, but Ms. Perthes (West Middle School)was a bright spot in an otherwise very tough year. She's a great listener and always willing to go the extra mile to help a kid out. Thank you!
    Rachel White

  • I want to give a big thank you shout out to all of the staff at Silver Lake Elementary.  Over the past 6 years, they have had to overcome many challenges from teaching specials on cards to very full classrooms to two separate years of construction to Covid where everything was unpredictable and unfortunately school looked different in many ways as a result. Throughout all of these challenges, they strived to create a school environment where the students felt welcome and cared for.  From Mrs Ellul and Mrs Gapinski in the office to Mr Gagnon in the cafeteria to all of the wonderful specials teachers (Mrs Harod-Burch, Mr Llore, Mr Pryde, and Mr VanHouten) to all of the teachers, assistants, aides and supporting staff, every adult in that building works hard to make sure our children feel supported and valued. I want to especially thank Mrs Camp for her leadership throughout all these challenges. She has been a comfort from the first day of kindergarten to the last days of fifth grade. Silver Lake will always have a big place in our heart! We are so grateful to have been a Seehawk family. 
    Sincerely, Jackie Stremlow-Hansen

  • Thank you to Wendee Wolf-Schlarf, Eileen Mikulski, and the entire K-12 TCAPS music department. You are all outstanding, and you are truly what sets TCAPS apart. From the high level of expertise you offer in classrooms to the amazing opportunities you provide outside of school, your program is unparalleled. The musicians who graduate from TCAPS are exceptional -- and that speaks to the depth of this program and the dedication of its staff. You are the best.

  • Thank you to Mrs. Rintala (West Senior High)for being a wonderful English teacher! Our child is thriving in Mrs. Ritala's class thanks to her commitment to making sure her students truly learn the material. She is creative and energetic, engaging kids in a fresh and fun way.
    Misha Neidorfler

  • THANK YOU, (Traverse City Central High School) Mentors to RAPTORS team #1711....there are not enough characters in this text box to hold the words one can say in thanks for all the countless hours you donate to the students of #1711..... Weekends, yes. Late nights, yes. Driving long hours and long days, yes. Seeing that our children learn the importance of innovation and thinking outside the box, yes. Thank you for the lessons you teach our kids and the time you comitt to volunteer. All of the above, without stipends.....THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!
    Brian Lettinga

  • I cannot say enough wonderful things about Mrs Kristin Sulecki at Silver Lake. She has had such an impact on my son over his elementary years. She has been such a calming, reassuring presence in his life and helped him work through many emotions and helped him build strong coping skills in various situations. I am so grateful for Kristin's role in my son's life, especially during Covid when everything was flipped upside down. She met with him virtually every week just to check in. I always saw a positive change once they hung up. Kristin cares deeply for her students and they feel this. We will miss her greatly when we move to middle school next year. I truly hope that the district takes note of all the wonderful things that she and Jesse Kilpatrick are doing with the students at Silver Lake and how their work in the classrooms, with friendship groups and one-on-one groups are helping our children thrive in a very complicated world right now. Thank you!!  
    Jackie Stremlow-Hansen

  • A thank you is not enough for the amazing aides at Eastern. Kristin Harnish, Christine Enoksen, Kaitlin Hicks, Kim Sills, Rebecca Hite, Jamie Lerner, and Janet Landis do outstanding work each day. Thank you for the support you show students -- and staff -- each day.

  • Thank you to Mr Culver, Ms Winterman and Ms Howey at Silver Lake Elementary for a wonderful Fifth Grade year. You have not only educated my son but also challenged him academically and personally. Thank you for all your hard work to help shape these children for middle school with a variety of fun activities and experiences.
    Sincerely, Jackie Stremlow-Hansen

  • A thank you shout out to Mrs Sticker and Ms Bowe at TCAPS Montessori. You have created an adolescent program which provides your students a variety of engaging lessons and activities which present concepts in hands-on, real world applications.  We appreciate that you hold your students accountable for their work and efforts and give them the respect of treating them as young adults. Our son has said many times that he really enjoys going to class this year and we thank you for your role in fostering an environment where he feels joy in his learning.
    Sincerely, Mike and Jackie Hansen

  • Thank you to Peg Siciliano, the EL Assistant at Eastern. Peg shows a great commitment to her students and is always going above and beyond in her responsibilities. Her intelligence, compassion, and diligence make her an outstanding employee and valued co-worker.

  • Thank you Mr. Hall for a great year of Algebra II Honors (CHS)! We appreciate your balance between academic rigor and knowing your students. Your class is a safe space for taking risks in mathematics and your focus on getting to know each student is commendable. Thank you!
    Brian Lettinga

  • I would like to give a note of thanks and appreciation to Mr. Dee for his incredible energy, enthusiasm, passion and dedication to teaching and singing. When our son was struggling with the transition from online learning in elementary school to in-person middle school, Mr. Dee was so encouraging and positive, and gave him something to look forward to each day.  Mr. Dee provides a space for the students to be themselves, collaborate with others, and have fun, all while becoming great singers!  While we have been so impressed with the choir, it is the other lessons our son has learned, about showing up, trying his best, supporting others, being authentic, and using his voice, that are invaluable. We cannot thank Mr. Dee enough for all he does to instill these lessons in his students through the power of music.
    Kate and David Glancy

  • Mike Livengood is doing a fantastic job for teachers in his role of union president. He listens to us and he advocates for us in a professional manner. This is a tough job and he does it selflessly. Thank you, Mike!!!

  • Heather Wares (WMS)is our sunshine miester in the 8th grade wing. She makes sure all birthdays are properly acknowledged and she organizes special treats for special occasions. It's been a rough few years, and we need people like Heather who are willing to step up and make a positive difference not only in the classroom (which she does effortlessly) but also with her peers.

  • A big thank you to Mrs. Cole, Mr. VanDalson, Mrs. Ivester, Mrs. Prichard, Mrs. McKeon-Jacobs, Mr. Nolan, and Mrs. Humphry for going above and beyond to help my grandson with a challenging year. He is so lucky to have such caring teachers. Traverse City is lucky to have a school like West High.
    Diana Lyon-Schumacher

  • Thanks so much for all your love and support, Mrs. Kristin Stuedemann and the whole 8th grade staff at WMS. I wish all the best!

  • We could not be more happy with our experience with Silver Lake for our daughter. Ms. Frick is her current teacher who has been nothing but kind, caring, understanding, and personable to not only our daughter but to us. During parent/teacher conferences she spot on with who are daughter was, what she was capable of, and how much not only the teacher enjoys her but others as well. She is reading and picking out sight words which we are thrilled about! Thank you, Ms. Frick! Also, our daughter has been given opportunities both in the classroom and the school to make connections with other students and teachers of all grades. Thank you, to everyone at Silver lake who makes a difference in our daughters life! Ms. Camp, Ms. Michelle, Ms. Jessica, Ms. Marie, Ms. Sandy, all the other kindergarten teachers, Ms. Rybak, Mr. Pryde, Ms. Harrod-Burch, Mr. Llore, Ms. Buddy, and Mr. Greg and Ms. Lori she said that you guys make the best pizza! Thank you and so sorry if we missed anyone!
    Rachel Light

  • Mrs. McCall (Long Lake) made our transition from a non-TCAPS preschool to Kindergarten a seamless event. I love receiving our Friday Folders and seeing what accomplishments her class made that week. I love how attentive she is to individual development in each of her students and admire her attention she gives to each one of them. From offering academic support to braiding my child's hair when I could not, she has made our Kindergarten year one filled with excitement and many "this was the BEST day ever" discussions on the drive home in the evenings. Thank you, Mrs. McCall!  

  • Both my boys have had Mr. Sparks as a sub at west middle and just rave over how nice he is and how he is the best sub they have ever had. They are hoping to see him again next year!
    Ashley Folgmann

  • We want to say thank you to all the support staff at Eastern Elementary! The work of the office staff, aides, lunch room staff, noon duty and extended day team, custodial team and special education team are felt throughout the school on a daily basis. We love our classroom teachers and know that they couldn’t do their jobs without the support of all these amazing professionals!
    Laura Ashton

  • Mr. Kramer, first grade teacher (Westwoods) has been an outstanding educator, mentor, and loving human in my son's classroom this year. He shows genuine care and compassion for every student in his class. He challenges them in areas of needed growth. And, he is their biggest cheerleader at school. We appreciate Mr. Kramer so much! We are so grateful for all of the specials teachers, cafeteria staff, maintenance staff, and the school's administrators. Thank you for all that you do!!
    Emily Umbarger

  • Last week our gymnasium was set up on Wednesday afternoon for our STEAM day/night on Thursday. We received notice that their was going to be a basketball game that evening so we needed to take the tables down. Our night custodian Cole Burns helped take down all of the tables, and our lead custodian Alberto Dimas had them all set back up again before we returned to work on Thursday morning. Both Alberto and Cole (TCAPS Montessori) go above and the call of duty and take time to not only help the staff but to get to know our students. We are very lucky to have such dedicated team members.

  • Thank you Mrs. Burwinkel (Long Lake) for your endless support with the kids, staff & parents. You’re always ready to help Carter walk into school on teary drop off mornings. With your magic touch you can turn his frown upside down. Steve and I appreciate you so much! Thanks for all that you do! 
    Warm regards,
    Steve and Nicole Meteer

  • Our family wants to give big kudos to Ms. Layne at Eastern Elementary for her amazing efforts in encouraging our students to step outside his comfort zone. She has found a way to make writing fun, instead of daunting, for our son and created a new outlet for creativity, emotional growth, and communication. Ms. Layne’s commitment to her students is unparalleled!
    Laura Ashton

  • We want to send a huge Thank You to Mrs. Pfost at Traverse Heights Elementary. I cannot say enough about her. My son absolutely adores her and I feel that love back as well. She deeply cares for each and everyone of her students and it shows in so many ways. We were so blessed to have her after a year away. She really made the adjustment back so much easier for our little guy. He is thriving and absolutely loves going to school. I know he will have a special place in his hearts for years to come! Thank you Mrs. Pfost for loving our little guy like your own!
    Stephanie Wilson

  • If you want to find an example of Mrs Marek’s incredible talent’s as a kindergartner teacher (Eastern Elementary), you can see evidence of it throughout her class! Mrs. Marek has a genuine gift of making her students feel safe, loved, smart, curios and connected all while bringing them to new heights academically. Her focus on social emotional growth has proven to be immeasurable in a group of students that weren’t all able to have traditional preschool socialization opportunities. We could not be more pleased with our daughter’s kindergarten experience!
    Laura Ashton

  • We feel so lucky to once again be in Mrs. Olson’s and Mrs. Getchel’s primary class (TCAPS Montessori). You couldn’t ask for a more nurturing environment than their classroom. Our kids shine from the inside out as they share with us their activities from each day. They are becoming smart, kind, and independent students thanks to Mrs. Olson and Mrs. Getchel. We are so thankful for all that they do!
    Jane Price

  • Being first time TCAPS parents and sending our daughter to kindergarten we were nervous, but wow what a year it has been. Mrs. Dall’Olmo (Central Grade)has created a space of curiosity, warmth, love and learning. She holds a special place in our hearts. We love Mrs. Dall’Olmo!
    Maggie and Hunter Gardner

  • Thank you to Mr. Kramer at Westwood Elementary for all you do. Jackson just loves your class. He even asks to go to school on Saturday and Sundays!! We appreciate everything you do for our son.
    Kelly Niskanen

  • We are grateful for the guidance and patience that Mrs. McDonough and Mrs. Wohlfert (Central Grade TAG)provide our son every day. Thank you for your dedication and commitment to education and our kiddos!
    Tonisty & Robert Winterer

  • Ms. Trillet (Westwoods), thank you for guiding our family through our first year. We know that our son is in good hands in your class. We appreciate all that you do!
    Darci Schippert

  • Our son is in 7/8 Tenor/Bass choir. It’s his first experience with a formalized music program. Mr. Wangeman and Mr. Dee (West Middle School) run a top-notch, world class program. Our son has learned so much from both teachers and has thoroughly enjoyed his experience; so much so that he wants to continue down this musical path. Thank you for your complete dedication to your craft.
    Crystal Milne

  • Our family is very thankful for Mr. Martin our bus driver for being so reliable and consistent. Mrs. Lauters has made a huge difference in my son. He looks forward to going to school everyday, says he loves school, and is proud of himself. We are so thankful for Westwoods staff! Leah & Matt Bennett

  • I just wanted to write to give a huge thank you to the best teacher my daughter has ever had. What’s funny is that she had her in 1st, 3rd and now 5th grade. Ms Peterson (Long Lake)has been a constant force in my daughter’s drive and learning. She even got completely enthralled in Harry Potter because of her. The fact my daughter wanted her year after year shows what an impact she has made on her students. Thank you for being you and for doing all you can to make our children enjoy being at school everyday! 
    Jennifer Worden

  • We have a 1st grader, 9th grader, and 10th grader in Westwoods and WSH. Our kiddos did Upnorth Virtual Live last year and all transitioned back to their brick and mortar schools beautifully. Our older daughters transitioned back into a new building having last been in person while at the WMS. Moving from middle school to high school is already a big move, but doing it after being at home for over a year is even bigger. They have both made this transition pretty seamlessly and we owe a lot to their teachers for making their classes safe spaces to ask for support/clarification/help. I would love to give a shout out to Ms. Brisbois who has been so understanding when COVID hit our house and required isolation out of school. She was so great in her communication with me and also our daughter. She has also done a great job in supporting her needs as a learner during this period of school transition. My 9th grader recently shared with me that she actually likes all of her teacher this year. I would like to especially shout out Ms. Heydlauff, Ms. Wolf-Schlarf, Ms. Rintala, and Ms. Thompson for their excellent communication with me and for the support and encouragment that they have given to our daughter. At Westwoods, our daughter was lucky to have Ms. Jesse-McPherson for her teacher. Covid shut down the schools at the end of our daughter's kindergarten year and then she was a virtual student last year. Ms. Jesse-McPherson helped make this transition smooth and our daughter has grown leaps and bounds, academically and socially, while in her class this year. Our daughter also works with Ms. Carter for reading, so I would like to thank her, as well! On top of so many good things happening in her general classroom, our daughter gets excited about her specials, too. Ms. Gang, Ms. Ray, and Ms. Wiliford are so creative and passionate in their classes that it rubs off on their students. Thank you!
    Stefanie Tschirhart-Baldwin

  • Mrs Hall’s (TCAPS Montessori) love for learning and her students is contagious. Her gentle manner allows students to be risk takers and explore their interests in a safe manner. Mrs. Hall has gone above and beyond the past two years with our son. She communicates with our child and with us on a regular basis to help keep us all on the same page. Mrs. Hall knows my child, his strength, his struggles and his goals. We are forever grateful to have our son part of her amazing learning community. Mrs. Hall is a gem and will forever have a part in our hearts.

  • A teacher I think deserves a huge thank you is Mr. Baumann (WMS/WSH). I have had him for spanish sense 8th grade, when he taught at the middle school. When I found out he will be teaching at the high school, I was very excited, and requested to have him. Mr. Baumann has been one of the most thoughtful, nice, patient teacher I have ever had. Hes funny, and has a connection with every one of his students, and makes sure they all are learning while having fun. I have learned the most in this class, and learned the most spanish. His teaching style is something I wish most teachers had.
    Madison Waggener

  • On behalf of our family I would like to extend sincere gratitude to Alison Lauters (kindergarten), Dan Tiesworth (Principal Westwoods), Miss Paula, Miss Christina, Mrs. Cullen, and Mrs. Kaberle for being top notch educators and humans! We will be forever grateful to have our son's kindergarten experience with all of you!
    Sarah von der Hoff

  • I can't tell you how much I appreciate the entire staff at TCAPS Montessori. They have loved and supported both of my children. My girls are excited and happy to go to school every day. Our family is so grateful for all of them! Huge thank you to Ms. Borths, Mrs. Yarch, Mrs. Sievers, Mr. Albert, Mrs. Smith, Ms. Teachout, Mrs. Danielson, Mr. Q, Mr. R, Mrs. Ruggero, Mrs. Vogel, Miss Bonnie, Mrs. Hancock, Mrs. Ballmer, and Mr. Stewart. We love you all!
    The Brostroms

  • As the parent of a Kindergartener, we are so grateful to the staff at Courtade Elementary School for making our first year at TCAPS wonderful! An extra special THANK YOU to Mrs. Myers for giving our son a kind, compassionate, and positive learning experience during his first year! With Gratitiude, Jennifer K.

  • Westwoods has such a positive environment our son always comes home happy. Mrs. McPhearson has been such a positive person in our life. Her energy and patience is admirable.
    Andrea Tharp

  • My daughter is in 3rd grade at Westwoods and has an IEP for writing and speech and also spends some time with a reading intervention group. Our family just moved back to TC last summer and she really struggled with the remote learning back in Massachusetts and TCAPS has been a life saver for her! She has made friends and even reading for fun (never did before)! The team has been so amazing and willing to hear me out when needed! So to our whole team Amy, Carla, Beth and Suzanne we wouldn't have made it through this year with out all of you!
    Beth Selleck

  • I want to take a moment to say thank you Emily Howard, a math teacher at Central High School. Emily is our Freshman daughter’s geometry teacher at CHS. She is, quite simply. AMAZING! I have never met someone with such positive, radiating energy. She is a favorite teacher of so many (including our daughter) and it’s not hard to understand why- she makes every student feel loved, appreciated and seen! She’s often in the audience at various school musical and sporting events- she seems to make it a priority to show up for, encourage and support her students. I wish I’d had a math teacher like Mrs. Howard - had his been the case, I’m almost certain I would have worked a lot harder in math class. Great teachers look past skill sets and inspire students to work to the fullest of their potential, Emily Howard is a great teacher and makes CHS a great place to learn ! Thank you, Emily!

  • Aedan is in 1st grade and loves his teacher at Westwoods! Our family just moved back to TC from Massachusetts so this is our kids 1st year ever at TCAPS and it has been amazing! Aedan is so supported and feels so safe with his teacher Mrs. Chambers she has been a blessing everyday and helped with his transition into a new school after we had remote learning for most of his kindergarten year and was very nervous. She had him feeling at home In no time! I'm not sure we would have made it through this year without her. Thank you Karan and all the staff at Westwoods for making us feel so at home and like we have always ben here!
    Beth Selleck

  • We’d like to send a big thank you to Mrs. Taplin and Mrs. VR at West Middle School for their hard work, compassion and continued support and well as Mrs. Jackson at Central Grade for rocking it yet another year!
    They are the best!

    Sincerely - Harry and Andrea Burkholder

  • Thank you to Ben Berger, Julie Flaherty, Sara Dennis-Parker, and Brandee Ludka (CHS) for going out of your way to help our daughter have a successful start to her high school experience. Our family appreciates each one of you and what you do for our daughter and all students daily. Go Trojans!

  • Our family would like to thank Mr. Failor, Ms. Houdek, Ms.Howard, Ms. Boulengar, Mr. Draper, Ms. Mazurek, Mr. Lantz and Ms. Lynch at Central High School for going above and beyond each day to help our daughter be successful. We appreciate that you are willing to go the extra mile to help her achieve both as a student and as a person. Thank you!
    Chris and Stephanie Jackson

  • Thank you to Mrs. Swan (Westwoods)!!! You have helped Alex see his potential with encouraging words and actions. He has really enjoyed your class and you have helped him have an awesome 5th grade year.
    Melissa Winter

  • A huge thanks to Mr. Schrotenboer at West Middle for making Math my daughter’s favorite class and favorite teacher to dress up as this past Halloween!
    Erica Kashmerick

  • Kristin Stuedemann is a rock star!!! Thank you for everything you do at West Middle School. Your energy, laughter, care and organization is very much appreciated. You are leaving a positive impact with your students everyday. (Even if they don’t realize it, YET). Thank you!!
    Marci Perthes

  • Bette Dienes is a gift to West Middle School through her work in our cafeteria. She ensures that students are nourished and cared for each and every day as she greets them, has conversations and makes personal connections. Bette always treats students with kindness and understanding even when they are not at their best. If she notices that a student is having a tough time she brings it to the attention of staff members who can provide additional support. Thank you Bette for making West the Best!
    Kristin Stuedemann

  • Thank you to Alison Lauters and Erin Sorenson for all of their work in helping our sons to reach their highest potential as learners. Ben and Jack have flourished under the thoughtful and caring instruction of both teachers. We are incredibly thankful to ALL of the staff at Westwoods for creating a welcoming, safe and supportive school community!
    Kristin Ann Stuedemann

  • Mrs. Walston (Central Grade) is such an amazing first grade teacher! My son has learned and grown so much this school year, and his love of reading has soared! Thank you, Mrs. Walston!
    Tamra Beaver

  • Mrs. Wohlfert (Central Grade) is a wonderful teacher! My son loves all of her creative hands-on lessons, and her passion for teaching shines! Thank you, Mrs. Wohlfert!
    Tamra Beaver

  • Mr. Deneen (EMS) has made such an impact on many of our young musicians and I’m so grateful for the time and effort he puts into the students. Mr. Deneen has touched the hearts of many, he put endless hours of practice and performance together and helps the kids reach their potential! He greets them their very first year of instrument instruction and follows them to the field as they march, he never stops believing in them. Thank you, Mr. Deneen, I hope you know how much you are truly valued by your students, parents and this community.
    Tanya Helman

  • We are so happy about the love, care and the attention and support our son has received from Ms. Morrice (Long Lake). We are thrilled with her communication and patience with all her students and the calmness her classroom exudes. We will be sad to end his third grade year with her but proud in the growth he has made because of Ms. Morrice! Thank you, Eric and Megan

  • Jamie Sandy (CHS) is one of those teachers that reaches a student through her deep desire to teach them how to love what they do and find talent they didn't realize they had. She is caring and generous and truly inspires her students. Thanks for being you!
    Heather Muha

  • Mr Odette (CHS) is one of a kind- the way he has provided support, taught the kids what it means to lead and how to be a leader, and how he has offered invaluable insight helping those in senate to become their best selves. Thank you Mr Odette for your years of service as an advisor to the students in Senate!
    Heather Muha

  • Mrs. Flaherty (CHS) has always been there often last minute to offer support, answer questions and meet a need. She is positive and very caring. Thank you Mrs. Flaherty!
    Heather Muha

  • These have been a hard couple years. As a school community we have had the solid leadership of Jessie Houghton at Central High school to guide, protect and encourage us. She has been steadfast in her commitment to our students and has shown much integrity. Thank you Principal Houghton!
    Heather Muha

  • We couldn’t be happier with the amazing staff at Eastern Elementary. Our children are loved, encouraged, and nurtured by everyone from the office (Ms. Jenkins and Ms. Waskiewicz), the principal (Ms. Ruskowski), custodians, kitchen staff, noon duty, instructional aides, and most especially their teachers. Ms. Edwardson, Ms. Brott, and Ms. Roeder truly see and know our kids and have created dynamic and safe places for them to grow and learn. We appreciate everything you do so much! Shoutouts to Ms. Bui, Mr. Kowalski, Ms. Culik, and Ms. Asiala for expanding our boys’ academic worlds with kindness and creativity!
    Paige Paul

  • Mr. O'hare (Blair), thank you for being a great teacher. You have a fun class and I like all your jokes. -Jayden Evans

  • Thank you to Wendy Wiederhold, Stephanie Havens, and Carolyn Athanson (Blair). You ladies are an amazing team! Thank you for all of your hard work and all you do!

  • We want to extend our gratitude to Mrs. Gilpin (Willow Hill) for another wonderful year. Our son has admired you and your teaching for two years. You have helped him grow, learn and loves being in your class. You are very understanding and willing to do whatever you can to aid in his learning. We will miss you after this year. Hope to have you teach his sister down the road. Truly thank you!
    Rhiannon Diffin

  • Thank you to Mrs. Essenberg's Community Outreach class and Academic Resource Specialist, Juli VanPelt for making TCHS staff feel valued and appreciated this week!!

  • We would like to thank the staff at Central High School. Our daughter, while a freshman, came home from school her first week with these words: ‘I can’t believe how lucky I am. I get to go to a place every day where staff members love what they do! They genuinely care for all the students and love teaching!’ She is now a junior and feels the same as she did then. Remarkable, considering these have been the most challenging few years for students and staff. Mrs. Houghton, Mr. Forton, Mrs. Puckett, Mr. Gle, Mrs. Paul, Mrs. McNamara, you inspire! Your impact will be life-long.
    -Christopher and Ann Thaxton

  • Bryn Lynch, Central High School, led a group of students through the preparation process for participation in Model United Nations this year.  Ms. Lynch and Jamie Sandy, also a Central High School teacher, resolved logistical challenges and wore multiple hats (bus drivers, chaperones, coaches, mediators, and advisers) to ensure that TCAPS students were able to participate in the Model United Nations conference in March.  Thank you to both teachers for your dedication and support of the MAMUN program and TCAPS students.
    Judy Robinson Arnold

  • Jodey Mackey at East Middle School has made a large contribution to opioid awareness and education amongst EMS students and in our community.  In 2018 she guided her 7th & 8th grade Digital Media class in all aspects of the production of a short film, "Predator & Prey."  The film provides a snapshot of the dangers and impact of opioid addictions in the Grand Traverse Community and has been a tool used by area non-profits for the past 4 years.  Last week, Ms. Mackey and some of the students that worked on the film and were recognized for their contribution at an awareness event highlighting and reflecting on progress made over the 4 years since the film launched. In addition, Susan Roskelley, Journalism and ELA teacher at Central High School, supported the writers of the CHS Black & Gold Quarterly newsmagazine to continue the coverage of the topic in an issue this year.  The publication revisited participants in the "Predator & Prey" film and covered additional wellness and mental health topics.  Kudos to these teachers for guiding students on reporting on challenging topics and raising awareness of addiction, mental illness, and wellness.
    Judy Robinson Arnold

  • Our junior has had a stellar group of teachers at Central High School this year. Joelle Kolody and Larissa VanderZee provided challenging assignments and excellent preparation for college level writing assignments in English Language and Composition.  John Failor exceled at teaching Calculus and provided great insight to students by inviting recent CHS grads back to class for panel discussions on post-secondary experiences.  Keith Forton's entertaining lectures, labs, and demonstrations made Physics "a do not miss class," and students gave him rave reviews in the form of standing ovations.  Paige Paul taught US Government & Politics in a balanced fashion and ensured students fully grasped the political process through an engaging Mock Congress experiential learning program.  We are grateful for these outstanding teachers.
    Judy Robinson Arnold

  • Central Grade School's Jennifer Wohlfert and Ann McDonough have led their 4th grade classes on some epic virtual trips around the United States and through some mad science worthy experiments with grace and aplomb during a less than normal year.  Thank you for persevering and being true Central Grade Superstars.
    Judy Robinson Arnold

  • A huge thank you to all who have signed up, stepped up, or taken on an additional role to cover absences, provide relief, or substitute for staff members this year.  Whether you filled in for a classroom teacher, drove a bus, served up lunch, supervised recess, filled in for admins, pushed a broom, covered a special, coached a team, or worked extended day, this school year could not have happened without you, and TCAPS is lucky to have you on board.  
    Judy Robinson Arnold

  • I am in awe of Toby Tisdale and his ability to connect and engage with students and their families and ensure needs are met.  His dedication to education and the learning process is evident daily in the building.  He is a strong, empathetic leader and devotes countless hours to his role as Principal at Central Grade School.  Thank you for your tireless work.
    Judy Robinson Arnold

  • Thank you, Mrs. Olson, Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Getchel, and Mrs. Lomasney (Montessori), too, for creating such a fun, safe, engaging, and loving classroom for our daughters to learn in. We are so thankful for each of you and the positive impacts you’ve had on our children during their primary years. Love, the Hanley Family

  • Kate has loved kindergarten since the first day of school and we have Mrs. McManus (Willow Hill) to thank for that! She makes learning fun and engaging while also motivating Kate to do her best. Mrs. McManus has recognized from the beginning the special gift and needs of each student and supported them in feeling safe and comfortable in school. We are so thankful Kate started her elementary school experience with Mrs. McManus.
    Kate Dillon

  • We would love to extend our deepest appreciation to Mrs. Cobb at Traverse Heights Elementary. It is our son's last year in elementary and she has made it the absolute BEST! I cannot count the number of times my son has come and and uttered words along the lines of "Mrs. Cobb is such a great teacher, I love her" So a huge thank you for making this last year so special! Thank you for being you!
    Stephanie J Wilson

  • A huge thank you to Mrs. Ballmer and Mr. Steward at Glenn Loomis for all of their care and hard work with our 1st and 3rd graders this year. We are thankful for all of your hard work! Also, Mrs. Bevier and the other Oak Park preschool teachers have been absolutely amazing with our preschooler. We are so sad to see the program end as it has been hugely impactful on our youngest learner. Thank you for all you do to make school so special for our kiddos!
    Emily Moore

  • Thank you to all the wonderful behind the scene staff at Blair Elementary! Diane Chandler, Jennifer Soper, Patti Aprea, Cathy Nelson, Colleen Drezwiecki, Cheryl Erickson, Gael Eschelweck, Stephanie Beckstead, Monica Marquez and Leanne Laucky. Thank you for all of your hard work and all that you do to keep the school happy and safe! Much Appreciation. -Anonymous

  • Big shout out to the staff at TCAPS Montessori! Our staff supports each other and fills in wherever needed in order to best serve our students. I am honored to be a part of this team!
    Liz Yarch

  • Thank you Brooke Stier (Westwoods) for your dedication to helping Matilda through her "leadership style" personality. We appreciate that you find creative ways to work with her in the classroom and direct her learning in a positive manner. You are a bright spot in her day and she (and we) are thankful for your teaching expertise and patience!
    Sarah Lantz

  • Thank you to Janelle Jesse McPherson (Westwoods) for helping our Elliott become more independent in his learning, and helping give him the ability to be confident in making his own decisions and being conscious of his environment. You have an amazing way with your class and a superior teaching style. We are so lucky to have as a teacher. Thank you!
    Sarah Lantz

  • We just want to say a HUGE thank you to all of the office staff at Traverse Heights! Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Rokos you are both so amazing and and you do so much more for our school than most people probably even know. But we appreciate all you do to keep our school running and awesome!! And we cannot forget Mr. Kay - thank you for being there for the kids! The good and the bad times! We also would like to say Thank you to Mrs. Mapes the librarian at Traverse Heights. You really are the best. Our boys just love you and your involvement in helping them love to read. My boys just adore you! And one last shout out to all of the other teachers and staff that we often never talk to or may even not know about...lunch team, recess helpers, janitors, subs, PE, music, art, volunteers, coaches....the list goes on - THANK YOU all for making Traverse Heights what it is! WE ARE ONE!

  • Alex our kindergartener says "I love Mrs. Gross (Willow Hill) as a teacher because she is nice and helps me learn!" we as parents echo that statement and would add we so appreciate Mrs. Gross for her organization, communication, willingness to address and follow-up on any concerns, and serve as a great role model for our girl. Alex has thrived in school this year and we know we have Mrs. Gross to thank for that!

  • Although I hope we have made it known all year long, we love and appreciate Courtney Hanley at Central Grade! Her positivity and enthusiasm toward teaching is obvious. Our son loves being a part of her class and has enjoyed a terrific year as a result. She is always so responsive when we have questions or concerns, and she is a wonderful encourager and cheerleader.
    Jason and Kellie Parks

  • Mrs. D (Central Grade) has been such a wonderful teacher and she is such a delight to have as a kindergarten teacher. Her energy and enthusiasm throughout the year is so inspiring to see. She has helped my son learn and develop greatly. Mrs. Dall’Olmo is always responsive to any questions or concerns, and is always a delight to talk to. She is truly appreciated by us!
    Savannah Smith

  • We appreciate Mrs. Bageris (Central Grade) for all of the kindness, patience, and care she shows each day! It shows in the enthusiasm my daughter has for school and the growth we’ve noticed in her over the school year. Thank you Mrs. Bageris!
    Krista Patz

Staff Appreciation Week Wrap Up

Thank you for all your kind words and appreciation messages in honor of Staff Appreciation last week. Here is today's final email.

  • All of the staff at Blair elementary are fantastic caring people. But an extra special thank you to some amazing people. Mr. Walters, my child had him as a teacher last year and my son thinks the world of him. Mr. Walters is able to connect with kids in a special way to make each student want to improve themselves every day. Mr. Rubinas and Mr. Hayes have been great to work with during this Covid time. Both teachers communicate with our family. Always going above and beyond their job! Making each child excel in every subject and try their best. And Mrs. Morgan I could list a million things she does every day to deserve principal of the year! She makes the 1st day of school to the last exciting for each child to attend school. She knows every child’s name. Her zoom meetings and announcements during Covid was the best. She is always happy and full of positive energy! She handles every situation with grace and never gives up on any child! Thank you Blair elementary for being the best school in the state of Michigan. Thank you - M. Kremer
  • I would like to give a huge shout out to all of the staff at Long Lake Elementary School. I have had the pleasure of partnering with this talented group for 16 years! They have been responsive to every question and concern and have communicated with us every step of the way. Thank you especially to Kate Burwinkel, Sandy and Dawn in the office, Kelly DeLonge, Michelle Brown, AJ Gorenflo, Jill Hibbard and Alyssa Peterson. It is a relief to know my kids are in good hands!  - J. Laferriere--
  • We are incredibly thankful to so many TCAPS staff that have supported our family this past year. In a crazy year of unknowns and uncertainty, you have showed up to do your best with what you were given. We are specifically thankful for the Long Lake Elementary teachers and staff as well as West Senior High School staff and coaches. Your impact is powerful and will leave a lasting impression on our students. Each small word of encouragement goes such a long way. Thank you! - C. and S. McCrumb
  • I'd like to thank everyone in TCAPS that has contributed to my daughters' education. They went through Eastern Elementary. Everyone there was fabulous, during our years there, but I'd like to give a special shout out to three of our favorites Mrs. Radakovich, Mrs. Smith, and Mrs. Nelson. We love you. These three are top notch educators in every way. This year, E. has wonderful teachers at WSHS, Mr. Ready, Ms. Thompson, Mr. Rice, Mr. Ulicny,  Mr. Dan Rosenberg, and Mrs. Rennie. If I missed someone, I apologize. E. loves all of her teachers, and is having a fabulous year thanks to them. S. also has fabulous teachers at WMS, Mrs. LaBonte, Mrs. Witt, Mr. Tester, Mr. Medler, Mrs. Wares, and Mr. Swanson. It has not been the easiest year for her, but these teachers are amazing, and we are thankful for them. Thank you to everyone in TCAPS.  Sincerely, J. Hart.
  • Erin Jongekrijg (Willow Hill Elementary School) is the most amazing teaching partner. She always goes above and beyond for me and for all of her students while balancing life as a mom and supporting the district as a math leader. Erin's knowledge and professionalism are only a piece of what makes her a great educator. Her patience and ability to personally connect with her students are what make her so beloved. I'm so lucky to work with her every day. To say that Erin and I couldn't do it without Laura Kilbourne is an understatement. Laura takes care of us, supports us, listens to us, and makes us laugh every day!  Laura is the only reason I was able to teach virtually this fall because she made herself available to help my son learn virtually so I could teach. I don't know how I could ever repay her kindness. It truly takes a village and my WH family has made this difficult year possible. I give all of the WH staff from the kitchen, custodians, office, teachers and support staff my sincere gratitude. Thank you for all you do. I appreciate you all. MJC
  • I would like to thank my son's amazing teachers at Central High School: Marcie King is enthusiastic every day and challenges her chemistry students to be their best; Katy Shelley-Barnes (aka KSB) is an institution of critical thinking, rigor, depth, and strength; Keith Forton pushes his symposium students like professionals (so fortunate to have had him as my own teacher in the 90's!); Emily Moore makes Spanish fun with games; Thomas Viera listens to his students and works with them in partnership to create amazing music; Julie Puckett works tirelessly to support all of her math students and cheers them on to succeed. From J. Unger
  • I would like to thank my daughter's amazing teachers at East Middle School: Ali Sullivan teaches geography like an artform by weaving facts, stories, and experiences together for her students to remember for a lifetime; Trish Brian brings enthusiasm to her math classroom every day and students know she cares; Mya Sagan makes her students feel safe and special in her science classroom; Andrew Schafer sings his heart out all day, every day while making his many students feel special and seen; Deb Kehoe is always the picture of calm and always has a smile to share; Erin Riedel makes learning Spanish more than just about the language; Tom Adair motivates his students find perspective and develop their talents in a creative way.  From J. Unger
  • We would like to give a shout out to Dan Sexton (Maintenance) from WMS. We can always rely on him for any job big or small. He treats each job thoroughly and always in a timely manner. Dan is always courteous, efficient and has such a positive attitude. He goes above and beyond any expectations as he will often be a step ahead of us in foreseeing our needs. He is exemplary in his work and we are so fortunate to have him on our team! - S. VanderKlipp
  • We want to say thank you to the WMS staff! We have had the privilege of being part of this wonderful school for the last three years. The staff continues to go the extra mile, make connections with students, pushes students to do their best and genuinely cares for their students. Thank you for all you have done for our children! We appreciate you, and all you have done- especially in the year of change and uncertainty! The Bageris Family 
  • Thank you to my son's Spanish teacher, Eric Ranke for working with him at an advanced level to help prepare him for the AP Spanish test. You always connect so well with your students, and this is why our Spanish department at WSH keeps growing! We appreciate how you differentiate your classes to meet all diverse learners and you make them love learning. - C. Hansen
  • Thank you Chad Mielens (West Middle/West Senior High) for your continued support of our music students and your exhaustive work to inspire success in our students. My son will always have music in his life because the music teachers at TCAPS helped him develop a love and discipline for playing it. Mr. Mielens - you are amazing! - C. Hansen
  • I would like to thank Mrs. Wiliford (Westwoods) for her amazing music teaching skills. She goes above and beyond to make her classes exciting, engaging, and inspiring. She is an amazing teacher! -M. Lane
  • We are so blessed to have the amazing Mrs. Lauters for my son's first grade teacher at Westwoods Elementary. The relationship they have is so sweet and my son loves coming to school and being a part of Mrs. Lauters class. - M. Lane


Staff Appreciation Week - Day 5: Continued Gratitude for Our Outstanding Staff 

Thank you to all the families, students and staff that shared their appreciation messages with our staff in celebration of Staff Appreciation Week. Your messages have been very special and lifted the spirits of our hard working, dedicated staff. 

  • Thank you to Wendy Wiederhold and Stephanie Havens at Blair Elementary for being a wonderful team to work with this year.  - J.E.
  • Mr. Walter at Blair Elementary is a great teacher. He is patient and has a good sense of humor. The staff at Blair are phenomenal! Ally’s grandma Joelle
  • Mrs. Kyser (4th grade- Central Grade School) is a wonderful and caring teacher to our daughter. She demonstrates kindness daily. She encourages her students to do their absolute best and always teaches them to reach for the stars! Thank you, thank you Mrs. Kyser:) - R. and S. Ellul
  • Battle of the Books Grand Traverse would like to thank teachers and staff that encouraged students to participate in the program this year. We would especially like to acknowledge Shannon Cobb (Traverse Heights) who gave her time outside of school hours to serve as an invaluable liaison between students in her class, their coach, and the program, Jamie Roster (Central Grade) and Alicia Rowney (Cherry Knoll) sacrificed their weekends to serve as Judges over Zoom to make the Pandemic Edition a success.  Thank you for going above and beyond your roles at TCAPS. - J. Arnold
  • My specials teachers at Central Grade School are AWESOME! Ms. Schrock reads us a book, Ms. Mansfield makes gym fun, Ms. Will lets us play instruments, and Ms. Pulliam helps us do art projects. They are good at teaching.  - M. Arnold 
  • I wanted to write to share my gratitude for Mrs. DeMarsh at Central Grade. We moved to Traverse City from Ohio back in August with our two children - and a host of uncertainties that accompany moving to a different state with young children during a pandemic. While "the parents'' (as our 5-year old daughter affectionately refers to us) did our best to settle in, Mrs. DeMarsh provided a steady, positive presence for our son allowing him to comfortably, quickly, and seamlessly transition to northern Michigan. He is consistently willing to go to school, is always happy when we pick him up, and has grown tremendously academically - especially with his reading - under Mrs. DeMarsh.  Perhaps even more importantly, he has soaked up Mrs. DeMarsh's positive lessons and his emotional intelligence has increased dramatically. Thank you, Mrs. DeMarsh - we could not be happier with our experience with you and are tremendously grateful for your persistent, contagious optimism. Thank you for allowing this opportunity and taking the time to formally appreciate your staff! Have a great week, K. Swanson
  • This has been such a hard season for the students and families as well as for the staff at the schools. As a parent I am so deeply grateful for all the hard work, dedication, long hours and kindness our leader at Central High School Jessie Houghton has shown during this time!! I am also so grateful for Julie Flaherty who continues to encourage and assist me as a parent and our students every day!! - H. Muha
  • We wish to extend our deep appreciation to all of Central High School staff, coaches and administration! You have made this year as pain free as possible considering all the complexities you faced. We especially extend thanks to Ben Berger, Julie Flaherty, Keith Forton, Paige Paul, Katherine Brege, Señora Moore, Sarah McNamara, Eric Schugars, John Failor, Kristin Laing, Stephen Draper, Susan Roskelley, Señora Dohm and Dan McGee. What a year! You have shown great compassion, professionalism, humor and patience ten-fold for our family.  We honor and respect all you do as teachers! Thank you for making the best of a difficult year! The Holl Family
  • A shout out to the AMAZING TEACHERS at Central High School who have been there for our students as a teacher, advocate, support and encourager this season!!  Having to learn virtual, bounce back and forth, dodge Covid and sometimes getting sick... you are our HEROES ladies and gentlemen EVERY ONE OF YOU. - H. Muha
  • We are so thankful for Mrs. Johnson (Central High School). She inspires her students to think about the world around them, encouraging them to take an active role in making it a better place for all of us. She is great with regular communication, keeping us apprised of everything going on, and helping us navigate TCAPS! - J. Lascano
  • Writing today in appreciation for all the teachers that have made our transition to the district so smooth. We appreciate the opportunities each month to share with the superintendent, this is great way for the district to hear from the parents in a constructive way. We also thank the Admin. Team at TC Central for their open minded approach to hearing from parents, Mr. Berger has been very helpful this year as well as the entire learning support team of teachers. A special thank you to Mr. Failor for his commitment to the students that participate in the robotics program. And finally, our thanks to the athletic department and all the coaches for working so flexibly to make these very usual sports seasons resemble somewhat of a ‘normal’ year of competition. All while wearing smiles. With gratitude, B. and A. Lettinga
  • We would like to thank the entire team at Central High School. Our son has transitioned back to in person learning smoothly because of the hard work and dedication of the professionals that he gets to learn from everyday. Jessie Houghton, Ben Berger and the entire administration has been communicative, thoughtful and supportive. Mrs. Laing and Mrs. LaCross have engaged and helped our son be the best version of himself. We are so thankful for the hard work and caring nature of everyone at CHS. Thank you! K. And D. Miller
  • Thank you to TC Central High teachers, and thank you especially to some exceptional teachers my Junior and Senior mentioned having positive influences this year in their academics - Purdy, McNamara, Ludka, and Odette. - Sincerely, S. Ford
  • Ms. Howard (Central High School) - We would like to thank Ms. Howard for her unwaveringly enthusiastic approach to teaching math. Our son has had the privilege of having Ms. Howard as his math teacher the last two years and we have seen tremendous growth. He is now a confident math student and problem solver. Thank you, Ms. Howard, for all you do. - S. Cobb
  • Thank you to Mrs. Rhem at Cherry Knoll for seeing how special [my  granddaughter] is and encouraging her to do her best with support in place. - D. Scharcia
  • A big shout out to LEAP Director Janna Deering and the entire LEAP team for doing all that they can to keep the athletics and extracurriculars going for our kids during through so many modifications this school year. It’s been a great sense of normalcy for us to have our student able to participate in the sports she missed so much last spring and we appreciate your hard work! - K. and A. Jacobson
  • I would like to thank our Human Resources Department. Covid  has thrown all of us into uncharted territory. Cindy Berck, Kelly Walter, Shawn Stowe, Erika Lahti, Ashley Hart, Christa Hislop, and Stacy Folgmann, have worked tirelessly to allow staff to take a leave of absence if they needed it, to try and staff our open positions, fill our staff absences, and answered a million questions from staff members via email and phone. Each time I have had the opportunity to work with our HR team this year I have felt heard, supported and encouraged. Special thanks to Mary Beth Stein and Diann Tharp for walking the AA's through online count day and answering all of our emails and phone calls.  - L. Yarch
  • I want to give a huge Thank You to 5th grade teacher, Mr. Plum at Cherry Knoll Elementary. Even though, due to personal reasons, my son switched to a virtual setting for the 2nd semester he still tried to check in and keep him connected to his class. This was HUGE for my son. Thank you for going the extra mile. Also, want to thank the office staff at Cherry Knoll for all their hard work: Amy McDonald and Jennifer Truszkowski. You are the heart and soul of that school. Lastly, I would like to shout out to my son’s virtual community (UpNorth Virtual): Mrs Kay, Mrs Owen, Mr Kolanowski, Mrs Gang and Mrs Smith. You have pivoted wonderfully in the virtual world and provided so much support for my child. He would have not gotten through it without you. Thank you again!!!  Melissa R. 
  • We would like to show our thanks and appreciation to many of the staff members at Cherry Knoll. First, to Mrs. McKellar for her incredible dedication to the classroom through the virtual and face-to-face seasons this year. Her continuing communication and guidance show her commitment to our student's success. Ms. Donovan, Ms. Kathleen, and Mrs. Wilcox are our other family favorites! They have instilled confidence and compassion in our children and have set an excellent base for lifelong education. Our kids will remember this classroom for sure! Finally, we would like to extend our thanks to all of the Cherry Knoll staff that help our children. Every time I call the office, stop to pick up our children, or have a question, I am greeted with such kind and helpful staff. Having young children that are just starting school, it is very much appreciated to have their guidance throughout the process! Thank you all for your dedication to each student's success! - L. Edgecomb
  • Cherry Knoll has a not so recognized or acknowledged teacher but we think she is absolutely amazing! Mrs. Henry is very kind and thoughtful and has been so helpful by working with us non stop all year. She goes above and beyond to make sure students are successful and we cannot thank her enough for her support. Even the associate superintendent had nothing but great things to say about her. Keep up the good work Mrs. Henry and thank you for all you do! - B. Whittaker
  • Thank you to Mrs. Parkhurst (Cherry Knoll Elementary School)! She has managed to make my second grader feel welcome, safe, and excited to come to school, amidst a pandemic. Her sensitivity in dealing with my daughter’s behavior misstep made all the difference between my daughter feeling regret versus shame, and that’s an important difference at this age. Mrs. Parkhurst also engages her students weaving personal stories (Timber the puppy!) and using positive reinforcement (fun Fridays!!) to shape behavior. She’s a great example of how a teacher can motivate a child and shape their behavior in an academic setting compassionately. Great job! - D. Briggs
  • We would like to extend our deepest thanks and appreciation to Mrs. Westerman (Cherry Knoll) for the incredible efforts she has put into making this 5th grade year so memorable. Also a thank you for “all the things” to Mrs. McDonald, Mrs. Truszkowski and Dr. Derks the captains on the ship; riding the waves each and every day. You are all PAW-some Wildcats! Best, The Johansson Family
  • We would like to send Mrs. Rickman and Ms. Slawter at Courtade Elementary many shouts of thanks and praise. My daughter absolutely loves going to school every day with Mrs. Rickman. My son has had three great years with Ms. Slawter. Both teachers do their best to help our children challenge themselves and thrive! Thank you so much!! D. Priest
  • We would LOVE to thank our daughter's teachers Mrs. Helman & Mrs. Rickman (Courtade Elementary School) for their wonderful work throughout this year with not only our daughters but their entire Kindergarten & 2nd grade classes! This of course has not been an easy year, but their commitment, tireless effort, and selflessness dedication to our children's education has made this year as normal as it can get!  We always say, "We have found a gem" of a school at Courtade and are so lucky that our children are able to attend....but their teachers (past and present) the professional & support staff (Principal Fetters, Jean Ducheney, Norma Pszczolkowski, Mrs. Piateck, Miss Julie, Miss Michelle--extended day staff, our favorite bus driver #14, and of course the maintenance/janitorial staff) are truly the "gems" that make this wonderful experience possible! WE LOVE YOU ALL & THANK YOU from all of us!  The Boysen family.  
  • We would like to extend a huge thank you to Mrs. Schoonover at Courtade Elementary! This has been an incredible Kindergarten experience for our family and our son has been thriving in her classroom. She has worked to create a safe and fun space for the students to learn, grow and thrive as individuals, and stops at nothing to give her students a memorable day each time they walk into her classroom. Thank you for your dedication to the students, the classroom and the spirit of education. -The Dilloways
  • Our family would like to say kchii miigwech (great thanks) to Mrs. Spitzley (Courtade Elementary School). Our beautiful little girl has had the privilege of having Mrs. Spitzley for both 1st and 2nd grade. Mrs. Spitzley always goes above and beyond for her students. She teaches with true compassion and understanding. As our daughter moves into the 3rd grade we are saddened that she won't be following her into the next grade, but we are confident in knowing that the foundation that she has helped build will carry on for years to come! - A. Boomer Family
  • We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to Courtney Spitzley at Courtade Elementary! Our daughter loves how she is challenged academically at school, but what we hear most about is how Mrs. Spitzley makes learning fun! Mrs. Spitzley also goes the extra mile to provide consistency, support, and care for her students. She is genuinely invested in connecting with our family, which has been invaluable this year. Mrs. Spitzley - you’re amazing, and we are eternally grateful for all you do! Thank you! -The Rider Family
  • All my children love Mrs. Zipser (Courtade Elementary School)! She always welcomes us with a smile. She encourages the kids to push themselves and work hard in and out of the classroom. She has come to support the kids in their extracurricular activities such as cross country and track meets, and singing. She goes out of her way to say hello to my oldest (a previous student of hers), my daughter (current student), and my youngest (a preschooler). When asked to describe Mrs. Zipser, my daughter said, "She is funny, kind, and encouraging. She tells good jokes, she types really fast, she plays music while we do our warm-up, and she has cool shoes." She is genuine, vulnerable, and full of affirmations for the students.  We are very grateful for her presence and influence in our children's lives. - B. Dieleman  
  • I would like to thank Ms. Sullivan at EMS for help with creating an appropriate 504 plan for my son this year. When I asked the teachers for input on areas that could use support she went above and beyond to help. It was obvious she really truly knew my son. I would not have a clue of the best way to support my child in a middle school environment if it were not for her. I will always be grateful for her insight and support. - Christine M.
  • A HUGE THANK YOU to Trish Brian at East Middle School for getting to work early, staying at work late, always being flexible and giving grace to students who do not enjoy/excel at math. Your teaching strategies help to build confidence and success in even the most anti-math kiddos. Any student who has you in middle school is getting an awesome foundation for high school and beyond. Thank you Ms. Brian!  Team Hebert
  • Meegan Feil - East Middle School - Ms. Feil really understands her students. She creates fun, engaging activities for them in Language Arts. She is considerate and communicative.  As parents, we appreciate her openness and welcoming attitude as well.  Thank you so much, Ms. Feil! - S. Cobb
  • I would like to thank all of the custodians in the district who have worked tirelessly this year and gone above and beyond to keep our schools clean. I would like to thank the administrative assistants in all the buildings for what I’m sure has been an extraordinarily tough year with additional paperwork and communication duties. I would like to thank Dr. VanWagoner and his staff and the Board of Education for the work they’ve done to try to keep schools open as much as possible, but also keep our kids and amazing school staff safe. On a more personal level, I would like to thank my daughter’s teachers at East Middle School. Especially Mrs. Brian who is an absolutely outstanding math educator, Mr. Deneen who did an amazing job talking the kids through the Virtual to In-person transitions and staying so positive throughout the entire year, and Mr. Moore who finds a way to make my daughter learn Science and laugh every day. We recognize how hard you work and we appreciate you. Sincerely, The Stahl Family
  • I want to give a big thank you to Anna Culik, art teacher extraordinaire at Traverse Heights Elementary and Eastern Elementary. Mrs. Culik has a very unique teaching style that students love. She begins and ends her classes with a song.  It's really cute to hear students sing her songs outside of her art room.  She encourages students to enjoy their own art by telling them "it's up to the artist."  It really makes creating art less scary.  Mrs. Culik also encourages teamwork by cleaning up the art room together.  Mrs. Culik has helped me out countless times over the last few years.  Thank you Anna for everything you do. - C. Byrd
  • Thank you Mrs. Annelin (Eastern Elementary School) for taking the time to get to know our child and for the moments you’ve taken to share a quick story in car line, or sent a note about something special that happened in class. We appreciate the time and care you’ve put into nurturing her learning. We will miss you next year. - The Buron Family
  • We are so grateful for the opportunity for our daughter to get to know Mrs. Odette and all of the Eastern Elementary staff! Mrs. Odette has helped the kids gain confidence, learn social skills, and our daughter is always excited that there is something new everyday. We get regular reports on the amazing things she is doing in extended day, and with all her specials teachers, and Mrs. Culic is doing everything she can to feed our daughter's love of art...the kids are given the freedom to be who they are and encouraged to create. Thank you! - The Lascanos
  • Thank you Mr. Cooper (Eastern Elementary School) for all of the hands on learning this year. You’ve brought the subjects alive for my kinesthetic learner. Indeed she’s been learning when she didn’t know she was learning. The “life” you’ve brought to the classroom - literally through all kinds of creatures - has been a highlight of her elementary school years. As parents we also appreciate all of the good information you’ve brought to us about our student - not just academic, but with a wholistic approach that has meant so much to us.  - The Buron Family
  • Big hugs to Mrs. Marek at Eastern Elementary for caring for our tender kindergartner through such a unique first year of school. Virtual school for kindergartners is no small feat and we are so thankful for the time he’s been able to be in face-to-face. He’s made huge strides in reading and has grown a love of math and numbers, thank you for making his year great! - K. and A. Jacobson
  • Thank you to Mrs. Hites at Eastern Elementary for making this year fun despite the challenges and changes it has brought. Our daughter said she doesn't want to leave 4th grade! Thank you for supporting and encouraging her! - K. and A. Jacobson
  • High fives all around to the specials' teachers at Eastern: Mrs. Culik, Mrs. Richmond, Mrs. Bui, and Mrs. Asiala for making the time spent during virtual learning exciting and productive. We know it’s much more fun to be face-to-face but Mom and Dad enjoyed participating in the specials at home alongside our kiddos during the time we were virtual. - K. and A. Jacobson
  • Ms. Sherri Hilden (Eastern Elementary School) is the most kind, caring, gentle soul I have ever met and there is probably no better person on this planet to care for and guide our little ones as they begin their education journeys in preschool. She is welcoming and warm, and just so comforting for not only her students but also the parents who are nervous about letting their littles go for the first time. We had her two years ago but she is just unforgettable and so, so loved. ️ The Decker Family
  • We want to start out by thanking the captain of the ship, Ms. Biz (Ruskowski - Eastern Elementary School)! It takes a lot to run an elementary school and streamline so many different teams while still being "pulled together"! The personality of the school flows from the head down and Ms. Biz sets this tone beautifully. We love her! It takes a village to raise a child and we have so many to thank at the "Eastern Village". I wish I had the time and words to accurately and specifically thank the following people as they deserve but just know we are heartfelt in our appreciation of your group efforts and care. You all carry a heavy crown for the influences you have on our children and their outcome. Thank you for carrying it with love and dedication. Special hugs and thanks to: Mollie Blasius, Amy Bronco, Katrina Walter, Mr. Cooper, Abbey, Caitlin, Jenny Morgenstern, Ms. Annelin, Brooke Laurent, Adorable front desk ladies. Love, G., T. and B. O'Brien
  • Mrs. Annelin (Eastern Elementary School), you get how these "kids" are the "big guys" now and they feel so important because of the way you treat them. Thank you for your love and support in making this a great year in spite of everything. We appreciate ALL that you do in keeping these kids excited and involved in the classroom. And also THANK you for supplying GREAT BOOKS, I wish I could come in to see your collection, I hear it's wonderful! - S. Gano
  • Thank you, Ms. Julie Brott, for ALL YOU DO for our son's preschool class at Eastern Elementary! We appreciate how positive and fun you are with the kids and all the awesome activities you set up for them! You have made our transition to Eastern so flawless and we are constantly in awe of your strength and kindness! ~L. & M. Johnson
  • Thank you to Sarah Marek, kindergarten - Eastern Elementary.  Sarah has a really kind heart and makes school welcoming and fun for her students. She teaches respect for each other as well as kindness. Her love of nature is reflected and shared with her students throughout the school year. Thanks for all of your support throughout the years. You rock Mrs. Marek. - C. Byrd
  • I would like to give a big thank you to Lisa Seeley, who is an instructional aide at Eastern Elementary. Lisa is a strong, positive person who is always encouraging students (and staff.) Her ability to listen to people is amazing and it really helps lift up spirits. Lisa is very approachable and this helps put people in a good place.  Thank you Lisa for being there and caring so much. - C. Byrd
  • Thank you to Mrs Stremlow Hansen (Long Lake Elementary) who has gone above and beyond during a very difficult year of transitions with the young 5’s class. We cannot even believe the improvements in learning we’ve seen with our son! - C. Edmonson
  • Thank you to Ms. Megan and Ms. Jocelyn (Long Lake Elementary) in the preschool room who have been such a blessing for my daughter and again in a tough year been absolutely wonderful!!! - C. Edmonson
  • A big thank you to Mrs. Stremlow-Hansen at Long Lake Elementary for not just doing a great job teaching the Young Fives class, but also for being able to pivot to online learning so seamlessly when needed this year...and for being able to help 20+ five-year-olds navigate their Chromebooks, Google meets, and finding their materials at home. Probably the biggest compliment I can give is that there hasn’t been a day this year where my son wasn’t eager and excited to go to school. Thank you for your dedication and hard work! - H. Zemsta
  • Just want to send a thank you to Ms. Brown at Long Lake Elementary for making the best out of this unusual year! Her enthusiasm, kindness and creativity has made for such a safe and fun learning environment for her second graders. My daughter looks forward to seeing and learning from you every day! We appreciate you!  -L Begala
  • Our son is in Mrs. Hibbard’s class (Long Lake Elementary), and through all these crazy times, she has been phenomenal with our son as well as us parents with transitions through the year and very accommodating. We also have had the pleasure of having Ann Thaxton (Long Lake Elementary) as well for four years, help us with all our son's special needs. She has made such an impact on our son and has become such an important adult in his life and has . We are so thankful to her, there are literally not enough words to express how awesome she is. - S,B&C Bell
  • I would like to thank Megan Chorley at Long Lake Elementary. Megan steps up and supports Long Lake in many capacities. She does it all! Megan can be found working with individual students, teaching small group reading interventions, supporting noontime, at extended day, filling in as a classroom guest teacher at a moment's notice. In every setting, Megan brings calm, confidence, and competence, guaranteed! She is a true hero! -A Grateful Panther
  • I want to thank Ms. Shawna, preschool teacher at Silver Lake. This is my daughter’s first year at Silver Lake and I’m in love. She has been so patient and caring with her little group and it is amazing to see the growth. My daughter could barely count to 10 and now she is counting to 100! She also can spell everyone’s name in the class. She loves going to school and I know that is because Ms. Shawna makes learning fun! - S. Percy
  • My son is in Ms. Houston’s 2nd grade class at Silver Lake! I’m so appreciative for her this year! For a year that could have been the hardest year yet... She has made it the best so far. My son loves going to school & is thriving! I’m thankful for her kindness & structure, as well as organization during a crazy year. She deserves so much thanks & recognition! T. Pickard
  • I would like to share my appreciation for Miss Kelly, Miss Cindy, and Mrs. Clark at Oak Park Preschool. These three amazing ladies pour so much love and attention into the little ones they work with every day. Our daughter misses school on the weekends and cries when she talks about someday starting kindergarten. She never wants to leave her teachers! These women are such a blessing to our family and we are so thankful that they have provided such an incredible start to our daughter's educational experience!  E. Jongekrijg
  • My son and daughter are in Mrs. Girard’s class (TCAPS Montessori). I cannot do justice to her character in words. Her gentle spirit and peaceful guidance have created a classroom environment for my children that I truly admire. Both Mrs. Girard and Mrs. Stachnik continually prove that they care about their students; in education and as individual beings growing and learning to become passionate and empathetic adults. Cheers to you both, dear teachers, for you are much appreciated! -J. Lawson
  • Thank you to ALL the fantastic teachers and staff at Glenn Loomis (Montessori). This last year has had challenges that most of us could not fathom years ago. Mrs.  Megan Hancock at Glenn Loomis is an absolutely remarkable teacher. Listening to her on zoom, rounding up these children, her kindness, patience, encouragement and individual attention to these children  is just so impressive. She has a big heart and has wonderful balance as a teacher. She has fantastic communication with families and follows through with just everything. It gives me peace of mind daily that this is where my daughter goes to school. We are so blessed to have this amazing school!! Thank you also to Miss Tori, her new assistant. My daughter loves her teacher and Miss Tori!!  We appreciate you ALL - S. Steiner
  • I would like to thank Mrs Girard and Mrs Stachnik at TCAPS Montessori. Their classroom is a great place to be and we feel so lucky that we have them to guide and teach our child!! - B. Hines
  • My son moved into 4th grade in Upper Elementary (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis) this year, he has had the absolute pleasure of being in Mrs. Vogel’s class with Miss Bonnie as the Assistant. [My son] was the "Starfish of the week", where he was able to share all about himself, something new each day.  At the end of the week all of his classmates wrote letters to him.  The letters were so touching, so filled with kindness they were a joy to read. Each week Mrs. Vogel and Miss Bonnie find another child to celebrate. Thank you for teaching kindness to our kids.  L. Yarch
  • I’d also like to shout out Mrs. LaDuke and Mr. Goldman, our wonderful special education team at TCAPS Montessori. Talk about an amazing duo! The copious amount of patience, kindness and humor these two do their jobs with is a beautiful thing and I feel blessed that they are a part of my son’s school life. Thank you for all you do in your difficult jobs! You make it look easy! Thank you - B. Wagner
  • I want to thank Mrs. Ballmer at TCAPS Montessori for ALL 3 years of her wonderful teaching to my daughter. Her patience, calm demeanor and genuine love for teaching our children has been a blessing!  Thank you Mrs. Ballmer! I also want to thank Mrs. Belovich for teaching my kindergartner this year! My daughter is blossoming and loves school. I know a big part of it is Mrs. B's smiling face, kindness and love for teaching our kids!  Thank you Mrs. B! - H. Black
  • Lisa VanLoo & Liz Yarch (TCAPS Montessori) - These two ladies are gems! They are the most caring and passionate people I know about their jobs. Lisa as principal and LIz as an administrative assistant, our school could not be more lucky to have them and I get the pleasure of working with them on a daily basis. When things are stressful, they rally, when there are things to celebrate, they celebrate. These two ladies are the best thing that ever happened to our school. Thank you ladies for being you and I so appreciate you both. - L. Sievers
  • I would like to thank Josh Veith, a teacher at Traverse City High School for sending me such a kind message about my son's performance at T.C High. While I haven't met Mr. Veith in person, my son really enjoys his classes with him and he sounds like he's a great teacher, he cares a lot! Thanks again!! Parents really appreciate a kind word about their kid. Really brightens our days, as most parents don't get to see the side they show to others.  Thanks! - J. Fettig
  • To the "on stage" teachers and to the "behind the scenes" teachers and staff at Traverse Heights Elementary: it is awesome to work alongside you. Thanks for sharing the stage and the work with your pals at NorthEd (formerly TBAISD). - J. Colton
  • Each year when your child starts a new school year every parent always has in the back of their mind a ton of questions, it’s a new environment and new people. Mrs. Varnum (Traverse Heights Elementary School) took all my worries away, she is such a positive role model for all the kids, she takes the time and adapts to the needs of each child, she’s very responsive. My daughter looks up to her and says she wants to be like her when she grows up. This has been one of the worst school years as far as with COVID and Mrs. Varnum rose to the occasion and made sure the kids got the education they deserved, my daughter has learned more this year than any other year. In concluding, Mrs. Varnum has far exceeded any expectation I have ever had and I know that when my daughter leaves Kindergarten this year she is leaving a better person, more knowledge, wisdom, and all the tools she needs for 1st grade because of Mrs. Varnum. Thank you Mrs. Varnum for being such a wonderful person and educator, you are the example of what all teachers should strive to be. Thank you for everything! - A. Willett
  • When the pandemic hit and it all went crazy Mrs. Pfost from Traverse Heights Elementary was a great help to my boys and I. My one son could not find his class on line so Ms. Pfost took him in. Thanks for all your help in the chaos. - Twin mom
  • Both my sons attend Traverse Heights Elementary School and we all love it. My one son was having a rough time every morning and I was at a loss. The wonderful teachers and principal stepped up, Mr. Kay, Mrs. Beamish and Ms. Budd with a grand Idea. Have him come in the front door and give him a job. The tears have ceased and my days began with smiles. Plus the speech  teacher Ms.Jess is a life saver and comforts me and helps my boys a great deal. Go Roadrunners!!  - twin mom
  • My son has thrived this year under the guidance of a great team of teacher and administration leadership at West MiddleMrs. Six-King helps him to increase his awareness of the world around him and its history in an engaging way.  Mrs. Taplin has solidified his math skills with her clear, effective and consistent efforts. Mrs. Sommerville invites him to think critically about reading. Ms. Owens has made him love science and believe he can succeed with hard work. Both elective teachers, Mr. Tester and Mr. Downer, somehow not just manage a large group of active middle schoolers but teach and engage them in new skills as well. These teachers are free to focus their energy on their classrooms because of the steady hand of the great Mrs. Stuedemann leading the way! The Whall Family greatly appreciates all the efforts of this outstanding group of educators! ~ J. and J. Whall
  • Miss.O'Neil (West Middle School) is an amazing teacher! My daughter has never liked math class and struggles with the subject. Having a teacher that makes the children feel comfortable is so valuable. She takes time to explain things individually so each child is able to understand when they might have otherwise given up. She has an active, challenging group of students and yet she's able to maintain her composure, often even creating incentives for the kids so they can work towards continued success. - A. Reed
  • To all the 6th grade teachers my son has this year at West Middle School (Mrs. Teachout, Mrs. Schoolmaster/Mr. Kenny, Mr. Schrotenboer, Mr. Brush, Mrs. Lyman & Mrs. Botkin), thank you for all you do each and everyday! Being a middle school teacher is not an easy job but you all do it with ease and are cheerful about it :) My son has had a very smooth transition into middle school even with the uncertain year that has been put upon us. All of your efforts do not go unnoticed and we are so very thankful for you all! ~ D. & C. DuBois
  • A big thank you to Katie Petoskey, Behavior Assistant from WMS.  Katie is a dedicated person who has worked her magic in a couple different TCAPS schools. She has worked with many children in the community outside of TCAPS and has made a difference in the lives of many students and families. Katie has a dynamic personality and I am so grateful to call her a co-worker and friend. - C. Byrd
  • A big thank you to Señor (Kelly) Clark (West Middle School) for igniting the spark of Spanish language in my sixth grader. He enjoys hearing about your adventures in Spanish speaking countries and now knows the value in speaking a foreign language! Kasey W.
  • Thank you to all my sons teachers and staff at West Senior High! You are all a wonderful group that takes pride in working with students and it does not go unnoticed or taken for granted. Mrs. Rintala, Mrs. Heydlauff, Mr. Zenner, Mrs. Noller, Mr. Morrow & Mrs. Riedy have made the transition to high school easy for our son and we are very thankful for that! ~ D. & C. DuBois
  • I would like to mention that Kim Kramer at TC West (Senior High School) has been an incredible advocate for my senior this year! She really helped her to reach her goals and be successful. And helped encourage her when she just wasn't feeling it! Virtual learning has been tough, especially for a senior in high school, but having her as a resource and a guide has been wonderful. We appreciate you and your guidance so very much, Mrs. Kramer! A. Young
  • We would like to thank the incredible staff at Westwoods for all they have done for our children. Mrs. Swartz is always such a friendly and welcoming voice each and every time we call. We are forever grateful to Mrs. Johnson for opening up the world of reading to our boys, to Mrs. Needham for developing our son's writing skills and to Mrs. McNitt for pushing continued growth and development of new skills. We have children who have a true love of learning because they have had teachers who love to teach. Thank you! - Tim & Kristin 
  • We would like to thank Kathryn McNitt and all of Westwoods for their hard work and dedication to our daughter and all students this school year. Mrs. McNitt brings a unique sense of humor to her classroom that allows for a fun learning experience with social opportunities during this social distancing time. Our daughter went into the year worried about not seeing friends, playground zones, and face masks. Now she is happy to go to school and the relationships she has developed within her individual classroom have proven to be enough to keep her interested. Mrs. McNitt has made our daughter a mathematician, reader, and jokester. We appreciate you Mrs. McNitt, and we are fortunate you have been both of our children's 2nd-grade teacher. Westwoods was forced to endure a devastatingly sad loss this year, and the Westwoods Team has faced it with grace and dignity. Westwoods Strong and Never Ever Ever Give Up! Mrs. and Mr. O
  • I'd like to give a big hug and shout-out to Michelle Charland and Dan Tiesworth at Westwoods Elementary. Both our son's teacher and principal have given him the utmost support and confidence to succeed these last two years. Thank you for everything you do! - E. Brinkman
  • I would like to send a note of thanks for all the staff at Westwoods Elementary. They’ve been through so much this year dealing with all the uncertainty from the pandemic and then losing one of their own. Thank you for taking care of our kids with everything you all had to go through yourselves. A special thank you to Mrs. Charland. She taught my oldest son in fifth grade and my youngest for fourth and fifth. We are so lucky our kids got to have her to help transition to middle school. She’s one of the most caring and thoughtful people I’ve ever met, and one of those teachers that make you feel she treats your child like her own. Thank you so much for everything you do. We have never had a bad teacher at Westwoods, and to be honest I’m a little sad we will be done there and moving on in just over a month. I will miss the Westwoods community, thank you!! - A. Folgmann
  • A huge shout out to Mrs. Swan at Westwoods Elementary! We have been blessed to have both of our 5th graders spend their final elementary year with Mrs. Swan (and Mrs. Stewart this year). She demonstrates a unique blend in her leadership style that brings out their best and helps prepare them for middle school. She is genuine, respectful and warm, while holding high expectations. I cannot say enough for how her influence has shaped our kids, THANK YOU! - M. Killinski
  • I would like to thank the incredible Specials teachers at Westwoods Elementary School. Kip Ray, P.E. teacher extraordinaire, keeps kids active and having fun. Her famous holiday obstacle courses and Fun and Funky field days are always a hit! The amazing Angela Wiliford has instilled a love of music in both of my children. They look forward to music class each week and enjoy teaching me the songs they learn. Mary Lane has been an awesome addition to the Westwoods staff this year as librarian. Mrs. Lane is great at engaging students while she reads and always adds fun poems and songs into her lessons. Rebecca Seyferth stepped right into the role of art teacher and has done an outstanding job of making class fun by connecting literature and art. -A. Lauters and Family
  • I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to Mrs. Erin Sorenson at Westwoods Elementary School. Mrs. Sorenson has such passion for her work and puts forth great effort and planning in all she does. She meets the needs of all of her students, by empowering them and giving them choices in their learning. Her calm and loving demeanor helps students feel safe and part of a classroom family. Despite the obstacles that this year has presented, Mrs. Sorenson has helped my son have an amazing 3rd grade year. A million thanks to you, Mrs. Sorenson, we love you! A. Lauters and Family
  • A HUGE shout out goes to Lillian Swan, 5th grade teacher at Westwoods Elementary School. Mrs. Swan makes learning fun for her students. She helps them realize their potential and supports them while they reach their goals. My daughter has grown so much this year in Mrs. Swan's class. I'd also like to thank Mrs. Rebecca Stewart, for stepping in during Mrs. Swan's maternity leave. Mrs. Stewart has great rapport with students and keeps parents informed about what is happening in the classroom. Thank you ladies for a wonderful year! A. Lauters and Family
  • Mr. Kramer (Westwoods Elementary), we couldn’t of asked for a better teacher. As parents we all have that one teacher that we remember. The one that gave that “spark” to school, to learning. For Louie you are that teacher. You have a gift and for that we thank you. Warmly, the Tharp’s
  • Mrs. Gross (Willow Hill Elementary) is an amazing kindergarten teacher! First our older son and now our younger son have been blessed with a wonderful start to elementary school with Mrs. Gross! She has fostered in them a love of learning, helped them progress enormously in their reading and writing, and done it all with kindness and fun. Mrs. Gross, we will always be grateful to you for everything you have done for our sons! You have done an incredible job! —A. and S. Wood
  • Mrs. Gosney (Willow Hill Elementary) has been a wonderful teacher for our son this year! We are so grateful for the combination of rigor and kindness in her classroom. She has helped our son develop so many new math skills and provided opportunities for him to pursue his love of reading. Mrs. Gosney, thank you so much for all you have done for our son this year—you are fabulous! —A. and S. Wood
  • Thank you to Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. McManus at Willow Hill. She has done an incredible job with our daughter and continuously working with her through her struggles and instilling an excitement to learn in her. At the beginning of the year when we were full virtual, she had the most patience, the most organized system, and always came each day with a smile on her face despite how many kids were calling “Mrs. McManus!!” Over the computers every other minute. You are an incredible teacher! We can’t thank you enough! - B. Turns
  • We would like to extend our gratitude for the past 2 years our son has spent in preschool with Miss Mary (Kolle - Willow Hill Elementary School). It astonishes us how in tuned she is with him- she really has him pegged. We are so grateful that we chose to give him another year of preschool with her. He has really grown this year and he is now ready for kindergarten! After so many years of teaching preschool, you would think Mary would be tired of it, especially with the challenges of this year. Instead, she is energetic and is especially enthusiastic when explaining the educational and developmental processes. She really seems to enjoy what she does and we appreciated her! - L. Morgan 
  • First, I want to recognize and show appreciation to all teachers now and throughout the school year. Your hard work and patients have not gone unnoticed. My son has a very delightful teacher named Mrs. Hickman (UpNorth Virtual Live). We all know the challenges we had to face during this pandemic and Mrs. Hickman showed so much kindness. Always making sure to greet each student with a smile and a warm welcome. Her calming nature with kindergarten students is a great part of her teaching skills. Her support was not limited to only her students, as she helped a lot of struggling parents through these difficult times. I also appreciate the suggestions she gave in order to see her students thrive. I am grateful to you, Mrs. Hickman, for following through on teaching my son about black history month as well as the other students. I can truly respect teachers like yourself who really give it their all. You're such a great role model for my son. Good luck teaching my son in the 1st grade next year! Mr. & Mrs. Player
  • I just want to take a minute and tell you how much we appreciate the UpNorth Virtual Live learning option this year. We have a child in 1st grade, learning Live, with Mrs. Jessica Deering. She has been a joy. She is so supportive and encouraging. This has been a tough year, and while a 6 year old in front of a computer for classes is not ideal, I only have to manage one of them, not try to keep them all engaged. She does a terrific job of trying to keep everyone on task and interested in what she is teaching. She is funny, kind and I can tell she cares about her kiddos! We're so thankful to her and to TCAPS for having this option this year. A. Young
  • Our children received stellar educations in TCAPS  20 to 35 years ago. We were excited our grandson was able to follow them with enrolling at Willow Hill 3 years ago in kindergarten. He has been blessed with caring, devoted educators, administrators and supportive staff. His experience in the Up North Virtual Live program has similarly been excellent. (THANK YOU Mrs. Thomas, Mrs. Collins, Mr. Kay, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Gang, and Mr. Kolanowski!) I commend the TCAPS program for rising to the various needs of the students and their families despite the pressures of the COVID pandemic. We miss the opportunities to volunteer and participate in the in-school programs and our grandson especially misses Willow Hill and the contacts with staff and his peers.  We look forward to being able to return to a "norm". Kudos and deep appreciation to all who have had the foresight and strength to lead our children forward. Best wishes. -K. Baker
  • I would like to say Thank You to Mr. Munn (UpNorth Virtual Live) for his contribution to keeping kids safe this year and teaching online classes to a challenging age group. My daughter has felt included and supported and that isn't an easy accomplishment. It's been a tough year and Mr. Munn's dedication to these students and his ability to listen and engage them has been key. Thanks again, - A. Buist
  • We would like to express our gratitude to the UpNorth Virtual Live staff especially Mrs. Adamczak, Mrs. Needham, and Mrs. Hickman as well as Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Gang, and Mr. Kolanowski. They have truly gone above and beyond to make sure that their students feel engaged and supported. We are also incredibly grateful for the staff of Eastern Elementary. It was a difficult decision for us to go remote this school year and everyone at Eastern has made extra efforts to ensure that our kids still feel connected to their Eastern star family. Sending love and thanks to you all. - The Doerr Family
  • We would like to extend a big thank you to Miss Barb (transportation dept) as she has truly made this year something special for our family. We have a first time bus rider and she made him feel safe and comfortable from day one. Our family genuinely enjoys walking to the bus stop in the morning and we know he's safe and cared for on his way to school. In addition, Miss Barb goes out of her way to make sure our younger son, who isn't in school yet, feels just as special as she waves each morning and calls him by name. Miss Barb is a treasure! -The Dilloways
  • Thank you to Mrs. McDaniel, Mrs. O, Mrs. P and Mr. Q (Courtade Elementary) for their dedication to their specialties and for offering a space for our students to explore subjects outside the standard classroom. Our son loves to come home and share what he did in his specials and his face just lights up. Thank you for these experiences that help our students grow and develop. -The Dilloways
  • Our son is in Mrs. Sanders' first grade class (Courtade), and we can't say enough positive things about her. This has been such a crazy year, but she has been steady as a rock. Her organization and communication is consistent. She is flexible and gracious when things don't go according to plan. Our son loves her enthusiasm and how she makes each child feel special. We love that she helps her students with both the academics and with social/emotional growth. We feel so grateful that she's been with us this year. Thank you Mrs. Sanders!  -Winkler/Tjosvold
  • A huge shout out to Karen Hartel and Kristin Stuedemann at West Middle School! They do a phenomenal job of running the 7th grade wing! I am happy to be a part of this team. Thank you for putting up with my laughter yoga!  Hahahohoho! - M. Perthes
  • To the teachers and staff at Eastern Elementary School, we have been amazed by your creativity and resilience in meeting all of the challenges of the past year!  We are grateful for all you do to care for and educate your students, and to keep them safe. Thanks also to Laura Ashton and the PTO, and all the room parents, for the invaluable support you give. Mrs. Radakovich, we feel so lucky that our son has gotten to be in your class before your well-deserved retirement! Thank you for your guidance and communicativeness, and for the care you take in cultivating empathy and responsibility among your students in addition to academics. Mrs. Richmond, I don't know how you come up with all the fun activities that the students get to do in gym class, but thank you!  It's hard to get our son to tell us much about his school day, but he will go on at length about the intricacies of whichever type of tag he got to play in your class on any given day. Miss Julie and Mrs. Roeder, our daughter is loving being in your preschool class. Thank you for the energy and kindness you bring to the classroom. We're so glad you're back in our lives! - Parents of S.H. (1st) and A.H. (Pre-K)  
  • Miss Still ( Willow Hill Elementary School)has been our son’s teacher for the last 2 years while in preschool. The difference we have seen in him has been amazing. His vocabulary is just phenomenal and his manners and habits from school have been great. From sharing, to cleaning up, to handwriting, to speech, to telling us what is healthy to eat, to brushing his teeth! Miss Still is such an amazing teacher. We can’t thank her enough for being there the last 2 years with [our son]. Thank you!! -B. and L. Turns
  • I would love to thank Marie (Willis - Cherry Knoll Elementary School)  for all of her patience and support for my son this year. He faces many challenges everyday and even through virtual schooling she has been kind, and understanding through his challenges. Thank you Mrs. Willis! We appreciate you! -Carrie


Staff Appreciation Week - Day 4: Our Educators Make a Difference


  • Thank you to Mr. Rubinas (Blair Elementary School) for being a good teacher, you are the best and really nice. You are fun and I love your class! - Jayden
  • Mrs. Hall (Central Grade School) - you have been so wonderful to [my daughter] this year. You make learning so fun for her and have really encouraged her love for reading. [My daughter] always says how kind you are and how much she loves having you for a teacher. I am so thankful she was placed in your classroom this year. Thank you for an amazing year! - K. Melville
  • Our family is very proud to be a part of the Superstars (Central Grade School). We’ve been so lucky to have great teachers like Mrs. Oleson and Mrs. Forsyth. We cannot thank Mrs. Kiella enough for all she does behind the scenes or how truly great it is to see so much passion about education with Mr. Tisdale and Mrs. DuGuay. A special thank you this year goes to Mrs. Angove for instilling a love for reading into my second grader and Mrs. Keyser for being so fun! We also can’t forget to mention Mrs. Pulliam or Mrs. Schrock. Thank you to everyone at Central Grade, we appreciate all your hard work, especially after this tough year! - D. Jarrad
  • Thank you Mrs. DeMarsh (2nd grade - Central Grade School). She is always there to help our son with reading or math. She makes the classroom fun, yet challenging for all. Thank you for all you do every day! - Thank you R. and S. Ellul 
  • Alice Hilner and Laurie Coulter continue to impress me as they create an inclusive space in the Central High School library. Students feel welcome, accepted, appreciated for their differences, and safe. Schools need safe spaces, and those safe spaces are established by the adults who occupy those spaces. Ms. Hilner and Ms. Coulter do this. It is an immeasurable service that they provide to our I am grateful for daily.  --A Central High School Staff Member 
  • I’d like to thank all of the ESL crew (TCAPS) for everything they do! Especially Kathleen Schneider-the past few years she has been absolutely wonderful getting everything in order with EL students and staff. She is so kind and helpful, I couldn’t imagine a better team leader! Thank you Kathleen!! - A. Dittrich
  • Christine Guitar, RaeAnn Fiebing and Larry Burden (Communications Department) - I am so lucky to work with the three of you. Christine, you are an incredible leader -- I have no idea how you get all that you do done in a day.  What you have accomplished, especially in the last year through the pandemic, is overwhelming. You inspire me. RaeAnn, the world would stop spinning if you ever left TCAPS -  you are the encyclopedia of all things TCAPS and I have learned so much from you.  LB, you have superhuman skills - never have I seen such magic put together each and every day to showcase what our awesome school district looks like. You are gifted at what you do!  I am forever grateful to work with each of you!  - K. Hertel
  • I would like to thank my son's teacher Mrs. Shannon Rhem (Cherry Knoll Elementary School), for always encouraging my son to do his best! Thank you again Mrs. Rhem for all that you do. - D. Weaver
  • What a blessing to have my daughter's journey at Cherry Knoll begin in Ms. Carrie Donovan's preschool class. Thank you to Ms. Carrie, Ms. Wilcox, and Ms. Kathleen for all of your patience, encouragement and love. [My daughter] and I are both so grateful for all of the friendly reminders, support, and guidance. Lets not forget all the trips to run [my daughter] out to me so I didn't have to bring her baby sister through the school without a mask all the times she was sick this year! Beyond thankful! M. Mariani
  • Thank you to Mrs. Leppien and Mrs. Glikman at CK (Cherry Knoll Elementary School) for all their extra work and support with my student this year. They have been very kind, attentive and supportive at every twist and turn. Their efforts have made a great difference for my child. I am and will be very grateful to them for making this year the best it could be.- C. Mann-Munger
  • Tracey Westerman at Cherry Knoll has been a treasure this year. My grandson can be a handful, and she has anticipated his antics and kept a step ahead of him along the way. Her wisdom and experience are invaluable. The open communication helps us work together as a team to guide this youngster. Our multi-generational household appreciates her insight and compassion, and we believe our boy will be well prepared to enter and succeed in middle school next year, due in large part to her efforts. Thank you for seeing the potential that we have known is there, but which could have gone unrecognized. This year will have a lasting impact. Someday the boy will see and appreciate it, but for now we give you our gratitude. - S. Ehrenberger
  • Kchii miigwech to Mrs. Beattie, Indian Education at Courtade Elementary, for supporting our Anishinaabe children academically and culturally. Our little one always enjoys her time with you! -A. Boomer Family
  • My husband and I would like to say Thank You and send a Virtual Hug to Mrs. Sanders at Courtade. This has been a challenging year for everyone and she never misses a beat with kids. Our Great-grandson lives with us and is in her class. His mother left for school in Texas in November and he stayed here with us.  Anytime I would contact her to discuss personal difficulties he was experiencing she would help him by talking to him.  If all teachers were like Mrs. Sanders our world would be a much better place. She is a kind and caring individual. Thank you for helping [our great-grandson] get thru this year not only by teaching him so much but for caring about his well-being. M. Wasielewski
  • To Ms. Piatek, Ms. Julie, and Ms. Michelle: Thank you for being the front line for all of the parents and students enrolled in extended day at Courtade Elementary. From day one you have made our son feel welcome and safe at school and have always been available for us to ask questions and to voice concerns. The care you all show is genuine and the effort you put in does not go unnoticed (i.e. standing outside in freezing weather for hours at a time so the kids can play outside). We appreciate you!! - W. Smith
  • Thank you so much to all staff at East Middle School. You have always provided a wonderful and safe learning environment for our daughter. You went above and beyond with this year's extreme challenges. Thank you so much! You're all VERY APPRECIATED!!! - Sincerely, The Bailey family
  • Thanks is just not enough for the EMS school staff and Traverse Heights school staff for timely communicating, teaching my children sharing and caring qualities apart from providing quality education and encouraging in many physical activities. Thanks for teachers who helped in 2nd grade and who are helping in third grade in reading, writing and other extracurricular activities. Special thanks to the principal of Traverse Heights (Bryan Kay), Ms. O madam in second grade and current 3rd grade teacher Ms. Kristin Sonnemann-Grams and other faculty for their continuing efforts in terms of improving knowledge of my son. Thanks to all the teachers of 8th grade who are teaching my son. You are really awesome, special thanks to: Mathematics teacher, science, social, English and lovely ELS teacher who gives emotional support. Thanks for apt, motivational and educational messages from principals along with monthly newsletter which helps us to boost up and to put us a step ahead. Special thanks to the transportation, food service department and administrative department and all the other ministerial staff who put their efforts non-stop and tired less. Yours sincerely - Parents of J. M. (3rd)and Y. M. (8th)
  • We just want to say Andrew Schafer has done a fantastic job with his first year directing choir at EMS. As a brand new teacher and starting the year remote, I can only imagine how crazy it must have been for him. He quickly became one of our daughter’s favorite teachers, she loves being a part of the 6th grade choir and said Mr. Schafer makes every class fun. He has excellent communication with parents and addresses any concerns immediately. He has been such an amazing influence on our daughter, always pushing her to do her best and to go beyond what she thinks she can do. THANK YOU, Mr. Schafer! EMS is so lucky to have you!  -J. & L. Wares
  • I would like to recognize Mrs. Annelin and Mr. Cooper at Eastern Elementary. This dynamic duo has inspired a love of math, science, writing and reading for my daughter. Thank you both for making the last year of elementary school wonderful!! - S. Coffin
  • We are so grateful that both of our children have had the incredible experience of having preschool with Miss Julie Brott (Eastern Elementary School). It is evident that teaching children is her passion and it shows through her love and compassion for her students and families. Julie has a special way with children and our son always looks forward to going to school and learning with Miss Julie and Mrs. Sara Roeder. These two make a great team and make learning a truly enjoyable experience. We appreciate all of Julie's time and energy she gives her students and we are so thankful for her expertise and friendship over the years. Sincerely, M. and L. Annelin
  • I want to thank Julie Edwardson (Eastern Elementary School) for being such a bright light in our son’s life. Kindergarten is such a big milestone and during this unprecedented year Mrs. Edwardson has kept her students engaged, joyful and thriving. I continue to be impressed by the exciting progress [my son] is making all while truly having fun. Julie is compassionate, patient, creative and [my son] absolutely adores and respects her. We feel very blessed to have her welcoming [our son] into his early childhood education. - Sincerely, K. Sole
  • I would like to give a HUGE shout out to Michelle Brown at Long Lake! Not only has she been a blessing as a teacher to my son, she is so in tune with the kiddos needs. My son is a bit of a social butterfly and needs to be reminded when it’s time to chat with our friends and when it’s not. Ms. Brown saw the big effort he was giving the other day and complimented him on his efforts, he had the BIGGEST smile on his face when I picked up from school that day and was so excited to tell me! My face and my heart smiled so big! Thanks for being such a sweet blessing, Ms. Brown!!!  ~K. Cummings
  • I would like to thank the wonderful staff at Long Lake Elementary! I want to thank Mrs. Stremlow-Hansen for an awesome job with the young 5’s and being so patient and helping them all learn and be prepared for Kindergarten. You're amazing! I would Also like to thank Mrs. DeLonge for being a very caring amazing teacher and for a wonderful job teaching! Ms. Hibbard for your amazing teaching my daughter’s grade/scores have gone so much higher with how wonderful you teach and being so caring of your students!!! These three teachers are amazing and so is all the staff at Long Lake! - K. Schopieray
  • We are very grateful for Mr. Kyle Richard this year as my son's teacher at Silver Lake. Nerves were high for all of us when we first came back to the classroom this fall. Mr. Richard has calmed all worries and fears and has structured a classroom focused on learning, growth and high expectations for all students. My son has learned so much from Mr. Richard not just academically but also additional ways of coping with frustration and asking for help. He knows that Mr. Richard values him as a student and challenges him to do his personal best in all situations. Mr. Richard is genuinely interested in getting to know more about all of his students. We have been very lucky to have another great year with another great Silver Lake teacher....especially such a challenging year. Sincerely, J. Stremlow-Hansen
  • We would like to give our deepest gratitude and thanks to Ms. Hull at Silver Lake Elementary. She has been a huge influence in our daughter’s kindergarten year. Each day, our daughter loves going to school to see her teacher, friends and to learn. Ms. Hull has helped to captivate learning, curiosity and wonderment in our daughter. In addition, the focus that is given to making friendships and doing kind things for others has been amazing. We are so thankful to have Ms. Hull alongside us for our daughter’s Kindergarten year! Thank you!  - A. and J. Vanderford
  • Thank you to the entire TCAPS Facilities team, especially Tyson Burch, Gene Brzezinski, Ben Amon, Charles Fouchey, Jeff Adamick, Val Quinby, Lisa Lautner, Terry Freeman and Molly Steimel!  You are always there when we need you with the hardest work ethic and a smile on your face. We appreciate you! - TCAPS Communications
  • We are so thankful our 7th grader is a part of the first class of the TCAPS Montessori Adolescent Program. Her teachers, Angela Stricker and Amy McKean have created a caring and inclusive environment that has allowed their students to grow academically, socially and emotionally-even during the most challenging school year imaginable! The classroom is beautiful, the culture is engaging and we are thrilled to be a part of it! - J. Tank, parent
  • We want to thank and say how grateful we are to the team of Mrs. Larrea and Mrs. T at Glenn Loomis Elementary School. Their classroom is so loving and nurturing and makes the students feel welcome and cared for. Our son has thrived this school year and we attribute his success to the hard work and caring attitude these two wonderful teachers have shown. Thank you so much, you are appreciated! - C. Hines 
  • I would like to say thank you to Mrs. LaDuke for all that she does as the Special Education teacher at Glenn Loomis Montessori. I started as a part time assistant for her 3 yrs ago which quickly turned into a full time position which I am very grateful for. I admire her ability, stamina and leadership skills. I have learned a plethora of new things working with her which has made me a better advocate for the students we get to work with on a daily basis. She is so passionate about her work and it shows every day.  - M. Goldman
  • To our children's teachers at Glenn Loomis Montessori - Alicia Olson and Tracy Rucker - when we aren't falling asleep on the couch, we are filled with gratitude that our boys have continued to enjoy school, to value school, to believe in you as their teachers, and to do well as learners throughout these unprecedented times. To all the magic, science, and art you do: thank you!  ~the Coltons
  • I want to say thank you to my elementary bus driver Brian Ricca bus# 11 at Blair Elementary (Transportation), you are nice and a good bus driver.  Thank you for getting me home when I got on your bus by accident this year in middle school.  - V.E.
  • We just wanted to thank Mrs. Lindsey Walker at Traverse Heights Elementary and Miss Nona for making our transition to school seamless! Our son has loved his first year at school and it is because of you! Thank you for putting us at ease and your attention to detail! We couldn't imagine his first experience being any different! The Chisholm family
  • Thank you Miss Slaggart (West Middle School) - you're a nice and fun teacher. I love your class.- VE
  • I think the best teachers are men and women who love to learn and love to share their findings with others around them. Thank you Mr. Dee (West Middle School) for your dedication to teaching our students in a safe and welcoming environment. Thank you for being a lifelong learner and thank you for providing music that “soothes souls and mends hearts.” SING! - J. Dee
  • Last year, after 3 months of lockdown and virtual learning, Mr. Mielens and Mr. Downer (West Middle School) worked tirelessly to educate our marching band students through the turbulent summer and fall solidifying a sense of community and balance when the world seemed to have very little. I am proud that the TC West band program has such dedicated and hard working individuals as role models for our students! - S. Maxson
  • We would like to recognize and thank both Mr. Crowley from West Middle and Mr. Ford from West Senior for being so helpful this year in scheduling our two virtual students and ensuring that they will return to school next year on track. Both of these gentlemen have likely put in countless nights and weekends assisting families with the many different platforms and combinations being offered this year. We appreciate you! Mr. Crowley has been a support to our son through some rough times in the past and we are lucky enough that he is now the counselor assigned to our 6th grade daughter. Thanks again, The Roush family
  • We want to thank Jill Warren at TC West Middle School for going above and beyond the call of duty. Your patience, support, positivity, and understanding are so very appreciated! Thank you for all you do. - L. Langille
  • I'd like to offer HUGE "thank yous" to Kelly Rintala, Kate Heydlauff, Ben Zenner, Jody Thompson, and Tamara Batcha up at West Senior High School. They've embraced our 9th grader and supported him in so many ways. It's tough being the new kids on campus, but these teachers continually support the freshman class by instilling confidence and independence as they challenge them on a daily basis. Our son truly enjoys going to school as a result! - E. Brinkman
  • Amy Rickenberg in the Athletics office at West Senior High is amazingly helpful, patient, and kind to students and parents!!! Thank you from the Sulecki Fam. 
  • THANK YOU TO ALL involved in making [my grandson’s] transition from Greenspire into West Senior High such a positive experience. He enjoys being there, and talks highly of his teachers. This year of transition has been unusual to say the least but he is comfortable being part of the group in person and virtually. - N. Oien
  • I want to say thank you to the incredible Westwoods staff for making it through another school year, and one with all sorts of extra challenges. Janelle Jesse-McPherson is an amazing teacher and I have been so thankful many times this year that my son is in her class. She is always responsive to any concerns we’ve had and has just really made me feel comfortable that when my son is in her class I can drop any mom worry because I know he is in such great hands. He has really developed a desire to learn this year that we haven’t seen before and it’s been awesome to watch. Kendall Cox is my daughter’s teacher, and we just love her. When you face the fact that your child’s entry to school is during a pandemic, you can’t help but be disappointed for them. But Kendall has made sure that kindergarten has been a wonderful experience so that she is excited for first grade. The one positive to come from remote learning is that we were able to see Kendall in action on class meets, and to see how wonderful she was online, I can only imagine how much better in person she is. For my last shout out, it’s for Erika Swartz and Jennifer Maniaci. I work out of an elementary office in another district and witness what the office assistants do on a daily basis, and it is impressive. They do so much behind the scenes so the school can run smoothly and often don’t get enough thank yous for their hard work, so thank you!!  A. Karczewski
  • We’d like to say a huge thank you to Mrs. McNitt from Westwoods Elementary for being an amazing, kind-hearted teacher that challenges our daughter! Also, thank you to Mrs. Needham for being a strong, compassionate teacher for our son during such a difficult time after the loss of the incredible Jennifer Johnson. Thank you also to Erika Swartz and Dan Tiesworth for going above and beyond for our kiddos! -The Kramer family
  • We would like to thank the ENTIRE Westwoods Elementary Staff. Mr. Tiesworth, the principal led his staff and faculty this year superbly with all of the challenges faced. We are so proud to have such amazing teachers at our school. Mrs. McPherson and Mrs. Leonard (pre school) and Mrs. Beckwith (1st grade) are our kids teachers this year and they have been simply amazing. We love Westwoods so much and are so thankful for each and every one of you! -The LeMieux Family
  • I would like to recognize the Westwoods staff for helping my son switch in the first few days of the school year to in-person learning when we quickly realized virtual learning would not work for our family. Mrs. Swartz and Mr. Tiesworth helped us quickly get into Mrs. Johnson’s class. She had a heart of gold and will be missed by all. She made our son feel welcome and told us she was his cheerleader. My son absolutely adored her and her teaching style!!! She was one of a kind and I am so thankful my son had her as a teacher for the first part of the year. I would also like to thank Mrs. Paula S. for stepping in and helping the classroom transition during such a hard time. My son felt safe with her and we appreciated the consistency with her being there and her love for the classroom. This year has been difficult for everyone in so many different ways, but the staff have continued to support the students and make the kiddos still have fun and enjoy school. Lastly,  I would like to thank Mrs. Needham for helping my son navigate this year and try to find excitement in learning! He has been struggling with focusing and the many changes that have taken place in our lives this year. Thank you for all you have done this year trying to make school a fun and positive experience!!!  The Prescott Family
  • Thank you to all the staff at Willow Hill Elementary! Despite another unusual year, everyone has done such a great job of putting the kids and their learning first. A special shout out to Mrs. Kirby and the whole extended day crew. And thank you to Mrs. Gosney for creating a super active learning environment. Go Falcons! - K. Luta
  • I would like to thank Mrs. Pina at Willow Hill for helping my son, and all of her class, have a positive experience in this unique and challenging year. Her flexibility, support, and persistence have kept our kids learning and liking school. We are so fortunate in TCAPS to have teachers with her expertise and aptitude who also bring compassion to this profession. Exactly what children need. The consistent effort and energy she brings to the classroom should not go unnoticed. Thank you Mrs. Pina. I am grateful you are a teacher. - M. Bartley
  • A HUGE shout out to our UpNorth Virtual Live teachers, Mrs. Hanley (4th grade) and Mrs. Willis (2nd grade). They have helped make this very unconventional year truly a success. Our kids love their virtual classroom and it’s all because of Courtney and Marie’s passion for the students. We are so blessed to have them in our lives and can’t thank them enough for all their support in making this a wonderful year for our children. - The Rankens
  • To the amazing Middle School UNLV teachers (UpNorth Virtual Live) that pivoted on a dime a few weeks before the start of school and made synchronous on-line classes just like being in person - thank you. We are so grateful for your flexibility, hard work, engaging teaching skills, and dedication. We would especially like to thank Melanie Rizzo who has gone above and beyond with our child and is the bright spot in her day. Marci Perthes and Jeff Culver have also been incredibly helpful and flexible with her virtual learning. - J. Arnold
  • Our family cannot thank Mr. May (UpNorth Live) enough for making this school year so wonderful for [our daughter]. There is nothing better than hearing [our daughter’s] giggle as she attends class every day. He has found so many creative ways to keep the kids engaged and interested in learning. He has done a wonderful job creating real person connections within the class, despite being virtual. [Our daughter] looks forward to school every day thanks for his hard work, and for that, we are very grateful. - The Simons family

Staff Appreciation Week - Day 3: The School Day and Beyond

  • I’d love to spotlight a few elementary teachers and administrators who have made a world of difference to our family. Jennifer Wohlfert, Toby Tisdale, Jamie Roster and Julie Clark at Central Grade School spent an unfathomable amount of time during the summer and fall of 2020 helping our family figure out which path to take this school year. I’m beyond grateful for their counsel, advice and dedication to helping families figure out the way ahead. Then to Heidi Kay and her commitment to the on-demand (UpNorth Virtual) families. She is calm, funny, kind and unendingly patient with both students and parents during the twists and turns we’ve all seen this school year. Hats off and thanks so much from the Slawnik Family.
  • We would like to extend our deepest thanks and appreciation to Mrs. Dall’Olmo (Central Grade School) for the incredible work she has put in this year. Working with kindergartners is a challenging task under normal circumstances, but Mrs. D rose to the occasion and exceeded all expectations as our daughter’s TCAPS Live teacher (UpNorth Virtual). She welcomes each day with enthusiasm, patience, and love and goes the extra mile to make their learning experience fun and exciting. It has been a stressful year (to say the least) and Mrs. D has been there to help us navigate through all of the unknowns and struggles. We are also in awe of how she is able to wrangle the kids better virtually than we are in person! Thank you Mrs. Dall’Olmo for all that you do for your students! - The Loomis Family
  • Mrs. Katt ( Resource teacher- Central Grade School) - We are so thankful for all your extra support for our son. He is always coming home with some very fun learning time with you/his buddies:) Thank you so much for helping our sweet boy. Thank you, R. and S. Ellul
  • My sophomore's teachers at Central High School, Susan Roskelley, Emily Moore, Joseph Forlenza and Marcie King, have all provided excellent instruction this year both in person and remotely. I would especially like to acknowledge Julie Puckett who always live streamed her class when any of her students were quarantined so they wouldn't get behind in math and Kathryn Shelley-Barnes who didn't miss a beat when she was challenged and kept students engaged and motivated to learn in her class. - J. Arnold
  • We'd like to express our sincere gratitude to, and appreciation for Mr. Thomas Vieira (TC Central Director of Bands). Mr. Vieira has been supportive, encouraging, organized and enthusiastic, even before the school year started (beginning with band camp). Despite the challenges that COVID has presented, he has enabled our son to thrive as a new freshman in the music program. Our student has truly blossomed as a percussionist this year, learning new and sometimes challenging material, and he always speaks with excitement about the class. It is clear that Mr. Vieira is passionate about teaching, and cares about his students. We look forward to our son being in this amazing music program, under the direction of Mr. Vieira, for the duration of his high school career. - S. Montgomery-Richards and D. Richards.
  • I'd like to recognize the TCAPS Communications Department, RaeAnn Fiebing, Karyn Hertel, Christine Guitar and Larry Burden as well as Stacey Hozak, Julie Gorter, and Mona Korson for their tireless, unwavering and unending work, especially since the pandemic hit. There haven't been any 'slow news' days since. Their days, weeks and months have been spent researching, gathering and sharing information with our TCAPS families, staff and community. Their never ending efforts to keep us all safe and continually aware of highlights, mile markers, accolades and Covid updates are very appreciated. They're not punching in and punching out, they are perpetually at the ready to do whatever is necessary to keep us all 'in the know' as expeditiously as possible. These are extremely challenging times for students, parents and staff and it is so nice to be as informed as possible. Great job guys! You are APPRECIATED! - A. Elsenheimer
  • Our daughter is in Mrs. McKellar’s Kindergarten class at Cherry Knoll Elementary and we feel very fortunate to have our introduction to Cherry Knoll (and TCAPS) be with Mrs. McKellar this year. This fall was stressful as we made the decision that was best for our daughter’s learning to be face to face. The transition between virtual and face to face was seamless and my daughter has been excited to go to school every day. I also appreciate the additional notes from Mrs. McKellar for either areas that we should work on at home or great progress while in the classroom. Thank you Mrs. McKellar for such a great start to our daughter’s journey in classroom learning. - Warm regards, S. and T. Owen  
  • We have 3 kids, one in elementary, one in middle school and one in high school. We have experienced a lot of many great teachers throughout our years in TCAPS. This year we would like to recognize Mrs. Jackson, 3rd grade Cherry Knoll. She is so kind and patient with all of her kids. My son comes home everyday talking about the new stuff he has learned and what exciting things are coming in the following days. Mrs. Jackson is just wonderful. All the teachers my middle schooler at East (Middle School) have are great. They keep the parents updated on things that are being done in class and make sure they are understanding what they are leaving especially in a time like this. We would also like to recognize Mrs. Peoples from Central High School. My daughter never stops talking about her. She loves her energy, her creativity, her heart, her kindness and how supportive she has been. My daughter has always been an artist and Mr. Adair from East Middle was her teacher and he helped her get to where she is even though she is a senior. He pushed her and supported her ideas and this year having Mrs. Peoples has continued her passion, drive and success. We have some amazing teachers here at TCAPS. Thank you all for all you do for our kids and our families. - The Malinao’s
  • My family would like to recognize the hard work and dedication that Mrs. Fetters and the Courtade staff has shown during this crazy year. We have a son in Kindergarten and a son in 2nd grade. During a year of such uncertainty, Mrs. Rickman has created an environment where our son has loved every moment of your Kindergarten class. He has such a passion to learn and comes home excited everyday. My wife, [our son] and I thank you for all of your hard work and dedication. Mrs. Helman, you have not only helped our son overcome some insanely steep emotional obstacles but also plenty of academic obstacles as well. We "had" a son who was too scared to read out loud who "now" reads to his little brother. The confidence you have bestowed in him will forever be remembered and will follow him throughout his academic career. My wife, [our son] and I cannot thank you enough.  - M. Price
  • Big thank you to Marshall Perkins, Principal at EMS for his stellar job at communicating with parents and students. He often provides encouraging words and articles to read in his weekly emails which is appreciated. - M. Robinson
  • I would like to recognize Missy Waskiewicz for the incredible work she does at Eastern. She handles her regular office responsibilities but also jumps in to help whenever and wherever needed: noon duty, aide, classroom, extended day, preschool -- you name it, and she's done it. And all with a smile. Thank you for being such an important member of the Eastern team. - J. Jenkins
  • I often talk with Jill Jenkins and Melissa Waskiewicz when something isn’t going right. A sick child, running late due to some unforeseen circumstance, or concerns about an issue my child might be facing. And I just want to thank you both for consistently meeting my questions and requests with patience, understanding and reassurance. You’ve put me at ease many times and may not have known what your calming presence has meant to us. Thank you for helping to make our three years at Eastern Elementary exceptional ones. - C. Buron 
  • The Fifth Grade Teachers at Eastern Elementary are amazing! Lindsey Annelin and Tom Cooper have been great teaching partners and have proven the ability to pivot during this challenging year. They make learning fun and their students love them. M. Robinson
  • We love the entire Eastern Elementary staff, from the amazing office team (Ms. Ruskowski, Ms. Jenkins & Ms. Waskiewicz) and every single teacher and staff member who greets the students with big smiles each and every day.  We'd like to particularly thank Ms. Brott (& Ms. Roeder) for making our son's first year of school such a wonderful experience. He can't wait to go to school every day. Her patience, kindness, sweet demeanor, and dedication have endeared her to us in ways that are difficult to express. I hope she knows the priceless impact she has on so many little lives. -The Paul Family
  • Kudos to all of the staff at Eastern Elementary for all the hard work this school year. Extra big shout out to Mrs. Jenkins and Mrs. Waskiewicz for everything they do each and every day! - M. Robinson
  • We would like to send a special thank you to the entire staff at Long Lake Elementary. This school year has been anything but ordinary. Thank you for creating a space for our children to be themselves and for being positive examples in their lives. The staff worked so hard to ensure the children were provided with a learning environment without too much pressure and still had a lot of fun along the way. We are especially thankful for Ms. Morrice and Mrs. Stremlow-Hansen who have taught our children throughout this year and taken the extra time to make sure they feel connected, comfortable and an important part of the classroom. Thank you for being so patient and caring. We are so lucky to have both of you as their teachers. In addition, we would also like to send a special thank-you to the extended care team at Long Lake Elementary. Our children attend the morning and evening sessions and are bummed when we come to pick them up, because they are having so much fun with their friends and the staff. Thank you for taking such great care of our kids and making that environment so safe and fun for all the kids. Thank you to everyone at Long Lake Elementary for all your dedication and hard work this year! C. & M. Milliron 
  • I would like to thank all of the teachers and staff at Silver Lake Elementary! This staff continually goes above and beyond for their students and families. A special thank you to my children's teachers, Mrs. Wyatt and Mrs. Vanderford. They love school because of you and what you bring to the classroom. Thank you for all that you do each and every day more than 20 times over... D. Frick 
  • We would like to show our appreciation to Mrs. Ruch (Librarian), Mrs. Burch (Music) and Mr. Llore (PE) at Silver Lake Elementary. They have all welcomed our children with such kindness and respect into their classrooms. Mrs. Ruch has put a great amount of effort into ensuring our children are able to enjoy high quality and high interest literature! The stories she shares in class are often the talk of our dinner table at home! Mrs. Burch has helped to instill a love for music in our child through dance, songs and playing music. Our daughter loves singing the music songs she learns in class. Mr. Llore helps to build an energetic and healthy class. We always hear about the fun activities/games that our daughter plays during PE. Mrs. Ruch, Mrs. Burch and Mr. Llore all provided amazing virtual lessons for our daughter and kept her engaged, moving, singing and reading!  We are so grateful for these amazing teachers that help enrich our children’s education! - Thank you, A. and J. Vanderford  
  • Mrs. Barnes (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis) goes above and beyond for my two girls. She willingly took them both into her classroom at the same time (even though she was warned about the younger one!!!!) and they both love her. She takes the time to answer all of my crazy mom questions, and is supportive and patient with the students. I believe her students are kept on task and learn just as well when she has to teach online - she keeps them learning and engaged. We all love Mrs. Barnes and wish she could be our forever teacher! - C. Stephenson
  • I would like to take a moment and thank Lisa VanLoo for her leadership at TCAPS Montessori. This year has been a rollercoaster for many, Lisa has shared all of the new directions as they happen with a positive spin. She makes coming to work a joy, we know that each day something new may come up. With Lisa's leadership we feel confident that we can tackle almost anything, our team is amazing. - L. Yarch
  • Our twin boys are in their third year with Mrs. Olson at TCAPS Montessori, and are flourishing in her classroom. Mrs. Olson has such a kind, warm personality that makes the kids feel safe, loved, and valued, even during these strange times. She and Mrs. Getchel are teaching our kids to be kind, thoughtful, and open-minded individuals. We are so thankful for them!  J. Price
  • I had the opportunity to work in the same classroom with Mrs. Stricker and Mrs. McKean (TCAPS Montessori) last year when they were still teaching 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders. So I was able to witness both of these ladies’ passion for teaching which shined through every day when working with their students. So when I found out that Mrs. Stricker and Mrs. McKean were starting the Adolescent Program which meant my two boys who were in 6th grade would get these two as their teachers in the fall of 2020 my wife and I were both ecstatic! They are being taught about practical life situations that they will be confronted with in the future such as looking for a job, how much it pays then budgeting for rent, bills etc. As parents we also try and teach our kids these things but when do they ever listen to their parents? Thank you both for your passion to teach and giving our future a chance. Could there be a high school Montessori program in the future???? - M. & S. Goldman
  • My family and I would love to send a very heartfelt thank you to Ms. Lindsey Walker at Traverse Heights Elementary School. We were nervous sending our buddy to preschool this year, but [our son] absolutely loves school and loves his teachers! Ms. Lindsey, Ms. Nona, and all the amazing therapists, thank you for making the transition easy for [our son] and thank you for caring about his safety and well being! -The Cryderman Family
  • I would like to thank Mr. Livengood at TC West Middle School for a year of memorable learning experiences for my daughter that included encouragement, affirmation and laughter. In this year of uncertainty and heightened anxiety, his class was a bright spot for her. I would also like to thank Mr. Taylor from East Middle School for all the communication and efforts he made to help my son with online learning. - K. Knight
  • We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the sixth grade teachers at West Middle School who have prevailed over the adversity of this past year by making the transition to middle school as easy and seamless as possible for each student. In addition, we’d like to give a special shout-out to Mrs. VanStratt and Mrs. DeMarsh (and all “specials” teachers) at Central Grade Elementary who continue to bring energy, enthusiasm and kindness to their students every day. – H. and A. Burkholder 
  • My appreciation goes out to Doug Downer (West Middle School). What a fabulous teacher he is. I’ve got the chance to watch a class when they were virtual and you can tell just how much he truly loves it and he cares about my kiddo and he goes above and beyond and has been since she started in 6th grade and now she absolutely loves it. - A. Stremlow
  • To Dan O’Berski and Mindy Wilkening (West Senior High School) - Thank you for 7 years of being the best! For giving me grace when I forgot attendance/late arrival phone calls, to singing praises about my children, to calming my nerves in times of stress, you have always been appreciated. You are authentic and kind, and Mindy, you have a million dollar smile! It’s been great being a Titan parent in large part due to you and the help you have given through the years. I know how hard you work and truly appreciate all that you do.  K. Hertel 
  • I would like to extend a very sincere thank you to Greg Vaughan (West Senior High School) for all his dedication to my kids over the past two years. You can tell Mr. Vaughan truly cares about the kids, and works very hard to meet them at their level. I appreciate the extra mile he has always gone to assist with their individual needs. It has been a joy working with him, I just can’t say enough. Teaching is an incredible profession, our family has been blessed with so many amazing teachers over the years. My oldest son leaves for college shortly, to become a teacher. It is a true reflection of the passion he has seen over the years.  - H. Hack
  • I would like to shout out many thank you(s) to the staff at Westwoods Elementary School for all of their hard work over this past school year. My son encountered many struggles in acclimating to the school/classroom environment at the beginning of this academic year due to some (now diagnosed) disabilities. Staff members quickly recognized these difficulties and promptly referred my son to TBAISD staff to initiate a Special Education assessment. My son was approved for support services, and I have been blown away at how hard everyone has worked to help him thrive and succeed with his learning and behavior goals. Through all of our ups and downs (there have been MANY), the Westwoods staff have been patient, supportive, and, above everything else, they have been huge advocates for my son's success. Thank you a million times over to Kendall Cox (Kindergarten Teacher), Dan Tiesworth (Principal), and the many other staff who continually support my son and our family every day! Your hard work will not be forgotten! I also wanted to thank your TBAISD staff, including Greg Meyer (Social Worker), Amy Witzke (SLP), and Lisa Burtt (OT) for all of their efforts toward my son's learning goals. We are incredibly grateful, and Westwoods will always hold a special place in our journey toward understanding our son's needs and (ultimately) getting a diagnosis :) This year has been a roller-coaster ride for our family, but Dan, Kendall, and everyone we have encountered has taken great care in helping us understand the steps involved, as well as keeping communication open. You guys are amazing!  Feel free to share :) Kendall and Dan have truly been wonderful to work with, despite the crazy year they have had with COVID and losing a staff person to cancer, etc. Kendall is a very hard-working and determined educator! She and Dan have continually persevered with my kiddo, as his behaviors are quite unpredictable some days. They deserve more than a shout out! - S.  Scott
  • We would like to thank Mrs. Lauters at Westwoods Elementary School for being the most amazing 1st grade teacher! Mrs. Lauters goes above and beyond to connect with kids and her love of teaching is evident in the stories our daughter brings home. Her excitement for school and learning has increased SO much this year! Mrs. Lauters has awesome parent communication and has helped our daughter develop skills she'll need for the rest of her life. These kids are lucky to have you, Mrs. Lauters. Thank you for all you do! - M. Smith and Family 
  • I am writing to give a huge shout out to my daughter's teacher, Mrs. McManus at Willow Hill! Her kindness and positivity has helped my daughter to blossom throughout the year. It's amazing to see how her first weeks of school were difficult and now she can't wait to get to Mrs. McManus' class each morning. Plus my husband and I are blown away at all of the knowledge she has learned in only a year. We will be forever grateful to Mrs. McManus for her continuous generosity for our daughter and her classmates. We are proud to be a part of the Willow Hill Elementary School family. Thank you, A. Rosinski-long
  • I would like to commend the staff at Willow Hill Elementary for being awesome! I would especially like to thank Lisa Forton in the office for all she does to help me manage my kids’ schedule, point them in the right direction and even help me find them when I can't!  Also, Erin Jongekrijg is a phenomenal teacher who shows such authentic love and concern for her students! My boys tell me on a regular basis that they are so happy to have Mrs. Jongekrijg for their teacher! Thank you all so much for working so hard to help our children through this crazy year! - K. Smith
  • Thank you to Mrs. Gang, Mr. K., and Mrs. Smith who have helped to bring specials alive for the UpNorth Virtual Live kids! Each has found creative ways to engage these kids from a distance. And did I mention the patience they have? Thank you!  ~ The Runyon-Wierman Family
  • Mrs. Nikki Adamczak (UpNorth Virtual Live) - we feel like we hit the jackpot this year with Mrs. Adamczak! The decision to stay virtual was a tough one, but she does a great job of keeping the kids engaged and making every day fun. She is tuned in to the needs of each student and challenges them to keep growing and learning. We appreciate all the (virtual) love and energy your pour into these kids every day! We would also like to give a shout out to our virtual music teacher, Mrs. Cress Smith - [our son] looks forward to her classes as they promise to be entertaining and fun every time!  - The Moore Family
  • We appreciate Megan Morgan so much. She is a Willow Hill teacher but has been doing virtual 5th Grade (UpNorthVirtual) all year. It is amazing what she and the students accomplish every day, online. We are grateful that she has given our son the opportunity to learn and prepare for middle school safely. She strikes the perfect balance of letting the students express themselves and have fun while also putting in serious academic work. Their little virtual class shows resilience and commitment to education, no matter the circumstances. Ms. Morgan has been a bright spot for our son, and our family, during this challenging and unpredictable year. Thank you!!! - K. Glancy
  • I just want to say to Mr. May (Westwoods/UpNorth Virtual) that your class in elementary 3 years ago was the best. I was able to learn so much better because you were always making class funny and that made me focus more. Your class was so fun and I learned so much there. Thank you. -ve 

Staff Appreciation Week - Day 2:  Stellar Staff Keeps Us Connected; Creating  Safe, Healthy, and Happy Schools

  • The Blair faculty is great! We want to thank Mrs. Agley for always keeping us in the loop on their activities, and our daughter absolutely loves having her as a teacher. Also, Mrs. Seguin for helping our son and pushing him on his reading and writing. She will be greatly missed and hope she enjoys her much earned retirement. - C. and M. Dean
  • Mrs. Pullium (Central Grade School) - Thank you for sharing your love of art with all your students! My girls look forward to art day each week! They adore you and enjoy your class SO much! Thank you! - K. Melville
  • The third grade teaching team at Central Grade School - Sara Bageris, Renee Disbrow, and Stephanie Jackson - have done a phenomenal job of working together to provide timely, informative, and helpful communication to families this year. Our child's teacher, Sara Bageris, has created a classroom pod that feels like family. Her warmth and caring approach provides the class with the proper amount of challenge and support in preparing them for upper elementary.  She also did a great job with remote learning and was incredibly patient with the class. - J. Arnold
  • I would like to take this opportunity to rave about how amazing Mrs. Julie Forrest (Central High School UpNorth Virtual) has been as my son's virtual mentor this year. She has made his senior year so fun! We chose to do virtual this year and didn't know what to expect but Mrs. Forrest has far exceeded our expectations. She truly cares about him (and me)! We actually get so excited to log on Fridays and talk with her. She has helped him so much and definitely has gone above and beyond to make this school year a great success. We have become quite attached to her and think she deserves recognition for all the hard work she does. Thanks! - C. Ivy
  • Thank you so much for all your hard work in keeping our students safe this year. Teachers deserve the highest of praise for they are educating our future generation. I have been so pleased with Central High School and the thoughtfulness they have with facing the challenges this year.  Enjoy the bagels! With gratitude for all of you, - C., D. and Z. Strand
  • The extra workload created by the pandemic has been a tremendous challenge for our district. Longer work hours, more meetings, and time spent mapping out contingency plans that were drafted, modified, scrapped, created again, implemented, and further revised was all accomplished by those in TCAPS administrative and support roles.  Dr. John VanWagoner, Shaina Biller, Christine Thomas-Hill, Christine Guitar, Brooke Laurent, Dr. Cindy Berck, Stacey Hozack & the rest of their staff, current & recently departed Board Members, school building leadership & administrative staff, custodians, technology, food services, and the transportation department all deserve our respect and gratitude. You have all truly gone above and beyond this year and have found new methods to serve our students. Thank you for putting in the long hours and extra time to make learning happen in meaningful ways this year. - J. Arnold
  • Mrs. Dorgan (Cherry Knoll Elementary School), thank you for being a wonderful kindergarten teacher. We value all the time and effort you put in to helping your students succeed. We have seen tremendous academic growth this year, but more importantly, you have instilled the love for school in our daughter. We appreciate you! - K. Vujea         Thank you for being my teacher! Love, LV
  • A special thank you to Ms. Carroll at Cherry Knoll! In this unpredictable year, she has gone above and beyond to provide encouragement and support. We appreciate her patience, effort and the love she has put into helping our son learn to read and her ability to work with his learning style. Thank you!!   - T. Maas
  • I would like to thank Mrs. Rickman (Courtade Elementary School). In these challenging times, I cannot put a price tag on peace of mind. Mrs. Rickman has built a fun, safe haven for her kiddos, and my little [daughter] loves school (most days) because of the hard work of Mrs. Rickman and the entire Courtade staff. The Kind Cougar Sightings have added fun goals for rewarding good behavior. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your kindness and care!  - M. Cosler

    Our son is in Mrs. Rickman's Kindergarten class at Courtade Elementary. We started the year out with UpNorth Virtual and after some thought we decided he should be in school with friends his age and with a real teacher. Mrs. Rickman made the transition seamless for us and made him feel welcome and comfortable immediately. He did not miss a beat. She has stayed in close contact with any concerns and even though we haven't had much time to meet in person, she makes sure to let us know that she truly cares. -W. Smith and P. Young 
  • We would like to thank all the teachers/staff at East Middle School for doing the unimaginable this year. Teaching during a pandemic is extremely challenging, yet they make it look EASY. We recognize the hard work they have had to do this year. The new safety guidelines,  technology, the back and forth platforms, the quarantines, etc. Despite all these challenges, we are very pleased with the high quality instruction and learning that has continued to take place despite all the obstacles. Thank you! - C. and S. Jackson
  • To the entire Eastern staff, THANK YOU! You have done such an incredible job of making this year as normal as possible. We know how hard you work and how much our kids miss you when they can't be in the building WITH you! Keep on SHINING Eastern Stars Staff! (And even though they're not "staff" our PTO has to be one of the BEST, THANK YOU PTO for all you've done for our school this year)! - S. Gano
  • We are so grateful for the unconditional love Mrs. Ferguson (Eastern Elementary School) pours onto our daughter. It was an uncertain and strange year to send our child to Kindergarten but from the very first moment we met Mrs. Ferguson we knew that we had made the right decision for our family. We believe Kathy is a teacher who truly sees and loves our daughter, just as she is, valuing her gifts and encouraging her to grow in her own way each day. Each day our daughter bounces home with story after story about her Kindergarten class and she is always quick to tell us, “Mrs Ferguson is the best teacher ever!” Of course, we couldn’t agree more! Love, The Mapes Family
  • We adore every staff member at Eastern Elementary, but specifically want to give a big shout out of gratitude to Mrs. Jenkins and Mrs. Waskiewicz in the front office. These women work tirelessly to make all aspects of school appear seamless. They are the kind faces that students see, the calming voices on the end of the phone to parents, and the bottomless pits of student/staff/building knowledge. We are constantly amazed at how well they know each student, how genuinely they care for each and every one of them, and how they are able to juggle 10 tasks at a time.  We are so lucky to have them! - L. Ashton
  • As we look toward the end of another year punctured by covid concessions to our learning environments, I am truly grateful for the tireless efforts of all who are part of the Long Lake Elementary community. The extended-day staff, the janitorial staff, the teaching staff, the food-service staff, the support staff, and the administrative staff have made and kept it possible for our youngest learners to stay in school. You all deserve so much more than my words of thanks. I am especially thankful for Ms. Morrice and Mr. Mike. Both have made this year truly engaging for my two younger kids. From essays about service dogs to conversations about The Mandalorian, they have inspired curiosity and motivated through connections--true teaching as far as I am concerned. The kindness, grit, and grace that you have taught all of your students is a gift that will serve them well as they leave your classrooms in June.  --A parent of a 3rd grader and 5th grader at LLE
  • This school year has had it's challenges and after a spring spent learning virtually, we were not sure what to expect with face to face learning when we returned this fall. I am grateful for all of the efforts of the Silver Lake staff to help both families and students navigate our return to the classroom with confidence and a feeling of safety. Angie Camp has done a great job of keeping parents updated with regular communication. Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Ellul are friendly faces in the office. Mr. Greg and the lunch staff have done a great job of making sure every child has a breakfast and lunch if they want one. I love the friendly faces outside in the morning waving to students as they arrive. The custodians (Kevin, Steve and Gordie) have adjusted to new cleaning procedures and work to make our school as safe as possible. All of our teachers (classroom, aides and specials) have done an amazing job of adjusting their lessons and classrooms for new protocols. We continue to be proud to be a Seahawk family! Sincerely, J. Stremlow-Hansen
  • We are incredibly thankful for Ms. Shawna, our son’s preschool teacher at Silver Lake Elementary. Each day she greets him with a warm, loving smile. Ms. Shawna provides a loving, nurturing and learning environment where our son loves playing and learning alongside his friends. We are so grateful to have such an impactful teacher for our son’s first years of school. Thank you! - A. and J. Vanderford 
  • We are so incredibly lucky to have Mrs. Wyatt as our son’s 3rd grade teacher this year at Silver Lake Elementary. She goes above and beyond everyday to make each and every student feel special. My son is eager to go to school each and every day knowing that he will have fun learning in her classroom. We cannot thank her enough for all she does without missing a beat during this crazy year! ~ D. & C. DuBois
  • I would like to thank all the custodians throughout TCAPS. This year has been challenging in so many ways. There was so much pressure on the custodians to keep students and staff safe. Many of you have worked so many extra hours. As an employee that works in several TCAPS schools, I thank you. As a community member, I want to thank you for keeping everyone safe. Our schools have been exceptionally clean all year. You're the best! - C. Byrd
  • In this strange and changeable school year, all our teachers have had to work even harder and with more flexibility than ever. We admire their commitment and care each day. My son is a 1st grader in Mrs. Girard's classroom at TCAPS Montessori, and it is wonderful to see him so obviously and genuinely cared for by his teacher and his classmates. Mrs. Girard has built a warm classroom community by example, and her students care for each other and for the world they live in. She is attentive to each student's strengths and unique personality and has helped [my son]  thrive in a changing environment. Those weeks and months learning from home have just emphasized the difficult work teachers do for our kids every day, and I appreciate you all! My younger son started in the toddler room at Glenn Loomis this year, and we want to appreciate the teachers in his classroom as well. Miss Shelly, Miss Krissy, Miss Margie, and Miss Olivia love their students and take great interest in them as individuals. [My son] is confident in himself and kind to others in large part thanks to their guidance and attention. Thank you.- H. Israel
  • I would like to thank the Staff at TCAPS Montessori for their grace, laughter, and support of students and of each other during this unpredictable school year. I am constantly humbled by their fearlessness and flexibility. In a time where emotions and worries are heightened and social emotional education is a priority, they are still providing a high quality educational experience for our children. They are a rather outstanding team, and I am so honored to work beside them. - L. VanLoo
  • I would like to thank Kristin Larrea at TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis. Mrs. Larrea has made social-emotional learning the heart of her kindergarten classroom and our child has blossomed in her care. Thank you, Kristin, for the consideration and love you dedicate to each child and for supporting us as parents, too. We have commented so many times this year about how thankful we are to have had our kid with you. -  I. Pylvainen
  • I can't say enough about the entire staff at Traverse Heights, we are so happy to be back. But an extra special thanks goes to Ms. O ( Rosalie Overheul). Even with EVERYTHING going on she has kept communication and connections open. We can't meet in person, but she has made herself available to chat about concerns, expectations, wins and growth. Thank you Ms O!!! - C. Lepine, parent
  • We want the TCAPS community to be aware of the amazing efforts and support of Gabriel Taylor (EMS), Melanie Rizzo (WMS), Mary Beth Schmitt (WMS), and Kathy Johnston (WMS). Each one of these teachers have taken time to communicate extensively with us – by phone, email and text – about our son’s progress and the challenges he’s facing (or creating!) in the virtual classroom. Mr. Taylor has endured endless creative avoidance mechanisms from our son with patience, understanding, and laughter. Mrs. Rizzo has challenged our son to do better every day and has been quick to communicate with us to get him back on track (nothing like a phone call from Mrs. Rizzo while our son is IN her class!). Mrs. Schmitt deserves a gold medal for recognizing our son’s unique challenges (and our limitations!) with Algebra and meeting with him after school weekly to make sure he has grasped the concepts. And Kathy Johnston, who has held all of this together, advocated tirelessly on our son’s behalf, and kept us sane by sharing personal stories that remind us we are not alone in these challenges. We are in awe of each of these amazing teachers, not just as educators, but also as people. It really does take a village! -- G. and J. Gillum 
  • Words can't say enough to thank the hardworking folks who've gone beyond the call of duty to make our children feel safe. It's their remarkable perseverance during uncertain times that keeps the educational light burning like a candle in the night. For all of us, they inspire us to work harder for the success of the young people they educate. They show us it is always wise to keep investing in tomorrow. Their enthusiasm is always uplifting. Especially thankful for Anna DeMarsh and her office staff at Central Grade School, also Jody Meyers and her eighth grade office staff at West Middle School. - F. Houtz
  • A huge thank you to Chad Mielens (West Senior High School) for going above and beyond for our kids this year. It was some normalcy in a not so normal time. He has still been able to bring the best out of the kids and have put on some amazing performances. I for one feel blessed and so thankful for him being a part of our TCAPS family. I would also Iike to thank Mr. Durbin for always pushing my son to be the best he can be. He is such a positive influence in his life and has taught him not only so much about history but has prepared him so much for the future. Thank You both for all you do. - Kelly H.
  • Our daughter is in Mrs. Lauters’ First grade class at Westwoods Elementary. She has been such a blessing to her and to us this year! She is so organized and communicates with the families regularly so there is no question as to what the kids are learning each week. She works with our daughter at her level, encouraging her and dedicating time to help her excel. Watching our daughter grow, learn and read fluently has been so much fun. Thanks Mrs. Lauters! – A. and A. Bagley
  • Thank you to Mrs. Sides-McKay, Mrs. Phend, and Mrs. Forton (Willow Hill Elementary School) who have gone out of their way to keep the UpNorth Virtual families connected to Willow Hill! We appreciate all that you do to support learning and well being of all of the kids!  ~ The Runyon-Wierman Family
  • Our son is in kindergarten this year and he is a very shy little boy that sticks to the sidelines most of the time. We were a little worried that choosing Up North Virtual would hold him back a bit, but knew it was the best option for our family. Oh how wrong we were. [Our son] has Mrs.Hickman for his teacher and she is absolutely AMAZING! You would never know [our son] struggles with talking or participating in class. Mrs. Hickman has brought out the silly loving little boy that all of us know and love. She is so engaged with all her students and best of all, keeps them engaged which isn't easy for kindergartners. I honestly don't know how this year would have gone if not for her, we can't thank her enough for all of the hard work she puts into each and every day with the students! -The Hiatt Family
  • I would like to recognize the outstanding efforts and creativeness of my son's 3rd grade (UpNorth) Virtual Live Class teacher, Ms. Kaischa Smith. My son thoroughly enjoys his virtual learning as Ms. Smith continues to keep the learning fun, exciting, and brings the right amount of "pep" to each and every day. We could not be more pleased with the steps that Ms. Smith continues to take to educate our son. OUR SON LOVES LEARNING AND MS. SMITH HAS PROVIDED A VERY IMPORTANT ROLE IN MAKING CERTAIN THAT LEARNING CAN BE FUN EACH AND EVERY DAY! A+ FOR MS. SMITH! -T. Thomas, mother of C. Thomas

Staff Appreciation Week - Day 1: A Passion for Teaching Leads to a Love of Learning!

  • My daughter is in Ms. Engle’s class at Blair Elementary. Ms. Engle has been absolutely amazing with [our daughter] this year.  She has kept the students focused. She has made class fun and interesting. My daughter, both online and face to face, has been able to thrive this year because of her teacher. Ms. Engle has not only been amazing with the students, but with the parents as well. She has kept the parents up to date on everything from what the children need, to motivations for the students to learn at home. She is a gem and a huge benefit to the TCAPS school system. - J. Mason
  • I would like to thank Mrs. Walston (Central Grade School) for all her hard work and dedication this year. She has been the perfect teacher for my daughter. There was a time when [my daughter] hated school, and it was always a battle to get her to go, but Mrs. Walston has completely changed that! [My daughter] didn’t even want to go on a family trip to Florida this year because she didn’t want to miss school! Mrs. Walston, it is clear that teaching is your gift! You are a blessing to your students and I appreciate all you have done for [my daughter]! - K. Melville
  • Thank you to Central High School's Mr. Forton. Mr. Forton is an amazing teacher who maintains high standards while also having real empathy for his students. As a parent, I appreciate his thoughtfulness and sincerity -- and all the cat jokes that get shared. From J. Jenkins
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you to the TCAPS Printing Department. You always go above and beyond in your work. Your creativity is impressive and your flexibility and grace are much appreciated. From Central High School Choir Parent Organization
  • Our family would like to thank Ronald Nowicki at East Middle School. He always makes sure our daughter’s academic and social-emotional needs are being met. He works closely with her amazing teachers to help her succeed to her full potential. We know he serves many students, yet he still makes us feel as if our daughter is a top priority. Thanks Mr. Nowicki! - C. and S. Jackson
  • Mrs. Radakovich (Eastern Elementary School), I'm convinced that you are the kindest person in Traverse City. You do ALL things with such JOY and LOVE it is no wonder our kids EXCEL in your classroom. They adore you! Thank you for all of your hard work in helping them learn not only academically but more importantly the value of friendship, how to love and care for the earth (we literally hug trees because of you!) and a joy for life. Dance on! - S.  Gano
  • I'd like to give a shout out to the following staff at Long Lake: Kate Burwinkel for making this crazy year seem as normal and positive as possible. Ann Thaxton for always working with the general education teachers’ crazy schedules and juggling individual student needs. Jill Hibbard for being a lifelong learner and always looking for ways to improve her teaching. Our kitchen crew for being the nicest group of people on the planet.  - Anonymous
  • Kristin Sulecki continues to be such a blessing to our family! I really appreciate the efforts she makes to connect with each classroom with peace and personal safety lessons on a regular basis. She has also made herself available after school hours to attend PTO meetings to share skills and strategies for families to use at home. I am so glad that other TCAPS families are able to experience the great peace kids program she runs at Silver Lake with partnership with Alli Fitzgibbon on Wednesdays this spring. Kristin is such a caring person and I am so grateful to have her as a safe place and support for my son. She goes over and above to let all of the students know that she is there for them.  Sincerely, J. Stremlow-Hansen
  • Mr. Cooper (Eastern Elementary School):  Snakes. Mice. Spiders. Fish. Aquaponics. 3D Printing. Mouse Trap Powered Cars. Hands ON learning! I could go on for pages with ALL of the reasons these kids are so lucky to be in your class.  Thank you for helping Eastern's 5th graders navigate their last elementary year in an amazingly fun learning environment. I will always remember our daughter's energetic discussion of Bernoulli's Principle on the second day of school. THANK YOU! - S. Gano
  • A huge thanks to all of the TCAPS teachers AND support staff that helped make this school year a success in these unprecedented times. Your commitment to education under these circumstances is to be applauded. Here is my standing ovation to you!  Thanks,  T.  Speers ovation
  • I’d like to shout out the glorious teaching team, Mrs. Hancock and Miss Tori from the Beech Tree Room at TCAPS Montessori! These two wonderful teachers embody meeting children where they are at and building on those skills. The grace and courtesy they show my son and the rest of the class is awe-inspiring. They are truly gems and it shows when my son is excited for school every single day. I could never put into words the amount of appreciation I feel for them. We adore you two! Thank you! - B. Wagner
  • I would like to thank Mrs. Rucker, Mrs. Barnes, Liz Yarch and Liz Siever - and all the amazing and kind staff at TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis for the outstanding educational experience our son has had since preschool! We are thankful every day for the choice we made to put him in Montessori. He thrived in both classrooms because of the attention and care both Mrs. Rucker and Mrs. Barnes put into understanding the interests of their students and capturing it to foster a love of learning and sense of independence. Combined with the parental collaboration of Liz and Liz, I have felt part of my son’s educational team since his first day of preschool. That school is special! - M. Turek
  • As teacher appreciation week approaches, we wanted to express our most sincere thanks to a woman who made an amazing impact on her 2nd grade virtual class this year. As a parent with three children, this year has been more than stressful. Every choice is agonizing..weighing the risks and benefits, every day. We are a medical family with several friends in the same in August of last year, many of us gathered together in masks, socially distanced, on my front lawn and sadly discussed what we should do with our Willow Hill children. In the end, many of us chose "Up North Virtual Live"- feeling grateful that it was even a choice -thank you Dr. VanWagoner!! Fast forward a few weeks...and we were all met with Mrs. Caitlin Thomas, our 2nd grade Virtual Live teacher from Traverse Heights. From day one she was honest, professional, kind, and very tech-savvy. She held our students to very high behavioral and academic expectations, every single day. She only took one day off, and it was only when she knew she had a highly trained and super awesome guest teacher to fill in for her (Mrs. Kristie Collins). The most amazing thing was that Mrs. Thomas was pregnant the entire time, and none of us knew for many months (since we have never actually met her in person). In a year filled with grief, tears, and heightened levels of stress/fatigue, Mrs. Thomas was our shining light. She was always there, providing rigor, grace, and love toward our little ones. It's so crazy to feel such appreciation for a teacher that we've never actually met. If we ever see her at Meijer, she's going to think we're crazy because we are going to jump into her arms and probably cry. People like her are so rare; she's a TCAPS gem. My daughter is now reading above grade level, loves math, writing, and is a diligent, committed little 2nd grader. This was not my daughter's situation a year ago. One good teacher can truly change people's lives, even in a remote learning scenario. Gratefully - The Walsh Family
  • Thank you to Carrie Robbins at West Middle School for making such a difference in my grandson’s middle school years. He was lucky enough to have her as a teacher in both 6th and 7th grade. She went above and beyond what was taught in the classroom to really connect with him. Even though [my grandson] doesn’t have Ms. Robbins this year she still seeks him out in the 8th grade wing to check in with him. She is truly his guardian angel. - D. Lyon-Schumacher
  • Our 8th grader has had three very different years at West Middle School because of the pandemic, but something that stayed consistent is the amazing ability of the school's principals, counselors, teachers, staff, and coaches to create three wonderful years for her in every way, despite the unique challenges. I would have never believed that the middle school years could have begun and ended with such positive experiences and we are grateful that our current (and very happy) 6th grader will still be there to keep these good feelings going for the next two years. My daughters have really fond memories of truly amazing band performances, cross country meets under full rainbows, volleyball games, VASA flyers ski programs, history projects, PE games, geography bees, art/sewing/photography & cooking projects, field trips, theater performances, dances, Student Senate duties, challenging course offerings, ELA projects, favorite academic assignments that they bring home, bonding with teachers (from Ms. Page's kind gesture of keeping the "Color Pencil Wall" up in 6th grade to Mr. Tester & Mr. Medler's funny stories in 8th grade - thank you to ALL teachers!), biking to school, bus rides with friends, good hot cafeteria lunches & social time, the library, Titan Tech help, and even some good virtual school experiences. Thank you to everyone at West Middle School - sincerely, you are fantastic. - Bill Clark  
  • Mr. Kramer (Westwoods Elementary School) has been a slam dunk for our active first grader. Our son is excited to go and spend his days with Mr. Kramer and comes home telling us how much he learns. Mr. Kramer provides his students with high quality instruction, memorable experiences, and lots of fun expressions. Mr. Kramer is a "solid" teacher and we are so thankful for all that he has done for our family.  - K. and J. McPherson
  • A huge shout out to Ms. Kaischa Smith, 3rd Grade Teacher at TCAPS UpNorthVirtualLive (Willow Hill). Pre-pandemic, she was a great face to face teacher. Now, in 2020-21 she’s an EPIC virtual teacher. She brings her A game every morning, keeping 23 third graders engaged, learning, and having fun via Google Classroom. She’s online ALL day working with the whole class, in small groups, and one-on-one. Even though class is held virtually, she has made a personal connection with each kiddo. Anyone who says that learning online is boring or a waste of time certainly hasn’t met Ms. Smith. Her job is hard; harder than anyone can imagine unless you’ve walked in a virtual teacher's shoes. To her credit, she makes it look easy: always wearing a smile, preaching kindness, and motivating each kid to do his/her best in these crazy times. She’s number one with us. ~ The Runyon-Wierman Family
  • We have kids in UpNorth Virtual Live at 9th grade, 8th grade, and 1st grade. I just want to share my appreciation for all teachers who took on this big task in order to make this synchronous option available to our kids. HS and Middle School teachers and specialists please know I see you and am so thankful for you, but I especially want to call out Ms. Deering in 1st grade. She has killed it this year on the virtual platform! Watching her engage her 1st graders is like watching a wizard at work. My daughter has grown academically, but has also become a very independent learner who can navigate the computer like a pro. We are definitely fortunate to be in TCAPS with teachers who were able to pivot so many different times in such a turbulent school year and a half. Thank you! S. Tschirhart-Baldwin

Staff Appreciation Week: May 4-8, 2020

Final Staff Appreciation Week Thank You Messages

Hi just wanted to say thank Mr. Mike Vincent and Mrs. Carolyn Athanson from Blair Elementary for all their great efforts to inspire, teach, and uplift my daughter during all this. We would like to give a ton of praise to Mrs. Wyatt at Silver Lake for her hard work and being involved with all her students and helping them adjust. I couldn’t imagine this without TCAPS great team - The North Family

Just want to send an end of the week message of appreciation from [my son] to Mrs. Medler (West Middle School). Thank you for all that you do, we appreciate you! Charity K.

Dara Parkhurst has been the 2nd grade teacher of two of my children, at Cherry Knoll Elementary School. Her kindness and patience define her classroom, even in the midst of online learning. Throughout this stay-at-home order she -in collaboration with the other 2/3 grade teachers - has kept the school work at a manageable amount. I am so thankful for that. All of my kids love to listen to her posted videos, when she read books from her front porch. They laugh SO much harder at the funny parts than they would if they were reading it themselves. We hear you, we feel your effort and we appreciate you!  Love, The Clark Family

We would like to take a moment to express our appreciation for West Middle School and the 6th grade Blue Team- Ms. Botkin,  Ms. Steele, Ms. Lyman and Mr. Schrotenboer. The focus on connecting with their students on an emotional and personal level has not gone unnoticed and one of the biggest areas our son has appreciated. In addition, the instructional support and organization provided to our son by his teachers has been wonderful. I am not sure what we would do without the Team Blue Daily Planner and the ease of information being shared through a single format by all the teachers. As parents who are doing our best to balance work and support our children's engagement in learning, we appreciate the effort to utilize a clear communication system for learning goals/assignments, google meets and office hours. Thank you again for all of your hard work to support students and families. -The Laurent Family

We would like to say our heartfelt thanks to Mrs. Sandtveit and Mrs. Leonard (Westwoods Elementary School) for their gentleness and encouragement of our extremely quiet and shy preschoolers. They have made our twins feel welcome and SO VERY excited about school. We couldn't be more thankful that their first experiences with school have been so positive. Our children have LOVED being at school and were heartbroken to not be able to continue to go and see their teachers. We are so very thankful for you ladies and for everything you do! - The Jacksons

A giant shoutout to our 1st grader's Lower El teacher at TCAPS Montessori, Ms. Jen Girard. We work from home and have for over a decade; we are lucky to work in fields that lend themselves to virtual settings, although it's definitely been a transition for some of our colleagues. On the flip side, teaching 6-9 year-old students decidedly does not lend itself to such an arrangement, yet Jen and her assistant, Casey Stachnik, have made a seamless transition to provide just the right amount of structure in our child's day without pressure. Jen's cheerful, steady presence has been with our son through the entire pandemic, even though she hasn't been physically able to be. Thank you, Jen and Casey! - Rachael and JT Taylor

We want to say thank you to Mrs. Spitzley and Mrs. Schoonover at Courtade Elementary for everything they have done for our son and daughter this year. From the constructive feedback, their patience, their caring and loving demeanor, to their fun class parties, and most importantly their ability to create such a positive learning environment (even through videos). I've sat and watched the videos with my kids and I can tell how much both of you enjoy teaching, and how much you both care for all these kiddos. While it wasn't the ending to the year we all anticipated or hoped for, THANK YOU for being wonderful teachers and role models! We look forward to another great year at Courtade. The Cupp Family

I would personally like to thank all of the Teachers and Staff at Silver Lake Elementary. They are all truly remarkable people going above and beyond each and every day for all students. Thank you to my children's teachers, at Silver Lake Elementary, Kristen Hull and Jenny Hetfield for continuing to showcase their strength and passion for education during this time by making the best of everything and intentionally planning for students to be challenged and still be successful at home. You are loved and valued so much. -Danielle F

Staff Appreciation Week Day 5: We Are In This Together

On behalf of Traverse City Area Public Schools and the Board of Education, in addition to celebrating our staff this week, we also would like to send our sincerest appreciation and gratitude to our parents. While we have always considered ourselves partners in your child’s educational journey, you have had to step up into the role of teacher and classroom manager like never before over the last few weeks and we recognize that the challenge has been great. We are sure that there are daily ups and downs and moments that would benefit from some additional strength and patience. However, we want you to know that your efforts are paying off and thatour parents are heroes in our eyes. Please keep supporting your child’s learning through the final stretch of the school year and remember, we are here if you need us. - Jim Pavelka, Interim Superintendent of TCAPS

We would like to say thank you to the whole TCAPS staff. You have all made this transition easier for parents who had to step up and become teachers!! A BIG THANK YOU!!! Also a few special shout outs to our girls teachers, Mrs. Bee and Mrs. Willis at Cherry Knoll. You both have been very patient and kind as we all take on virtual learning!! Thank you for always getting back to us quickly when we have questions or concerns! I know my girls really miss being in the classrooms with you and their classmates! They really  enjoy being able to see you and their classmates on google meets!! Thank you again for supporting all of us parents!!! Also[my daughters] would like to say thank you to their bus drivers Mr. Hackett and Miss Margaret, for getting them safely to school and safely home! They both are very kind!!! Thank you TCAPS for keeping us all informed during this crazy time!! Stay safe and Healthy!!! - Kristin H.

Hello TCAPS Staff, I know for my family there are so many people I want to thank for going above and beyond, standing strong for treating us as an equal and always providing us with a heart warming welcome no matter where we are in the community! They are amazing people that are doing good for our community and want to see our students soar high! Willow Hill Staff, Thank you All! There are SO MANY of you that have been there since my oldest was attending so retired and transferred staff members as well, Thank you! West Middle School, Big thank you and bless your hearts! This goes for the Custodians, Librarians and the Cafeteria Staff as well! You made it look easy! West Senior High, Thank you, I don't know how you do what you do! Wow, you seem to change the world one student at a time the 2 of you make a great team! Bus Garage, Thank you! There are not enough words for me to say how much I appreciate all of you! You went above and beyond and even further for us! You are all appreciated! Thank you. Boardman Office, Thank you, You are the glue to the completion of all of our heart warming love for the staff. As I remember Mr. Pavelka saying that ALL Staff members "big or small" makes up a team that makes a difference and with the TCAPS Family I say that is more than true! Even though there are many more staff members that I have not mentioned and I know are just as worthy of Big Family Thank You! I want to especially thank those who are still providing families with love and much needed support through these heart wrenching times, you all make it a wonderful and blessed place to live! Thank You! - Merchant Family

Thank you for all that you do TCAPS!!! Our children are stronger and better because of you! A special shout out to Eastern Elementary School! They have worked hard to keep this community virtually together!!!  They are an incredibly special staff and we feel incredibly thankful to have them!! We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during these times.  We look forward to getting back to school!! - Kristi B.

A huge thank you goes out to all of the people in the TCAPS Technology Department for doing too many things you do for staff around the district and especially all of the things you’ve done to assist us as we moved to distance-learning. You have been amazing! - Karen N.

Huge shout out to all the TCAPS leadership staff that worked hard to pull together interim enrichment work and on-line curriculum in a short period of time for the district. The dedicated work of the kitchen staff and TCAPS employees distributing meals, chrome books, and student course work to families has not gone unnoticed. Thank you for being on the front lines for TCAPS and their families. - Judy A., TCAPS parent

I am the dad of a West SH senior. Thank you for providing my son with a terrific education and equally superior environment in which to grow into a young man. I am not surprised with the innovation, safety measures, and solutions rapidly implemented by the teams at West [Senior High School], TCAPS, and the TBAISD in this crisis. We are so grateful! - Jesse W.

We are incredibly grateful and appreciative of the entire staff at Cherry Knoll. The office secretaries continue to keep us well informed and take care of our children throughout the day when ailments or injuries come up. The cleaning staff ensures our kids are in a clean environment. The bus drivers that keep several students safe during the commutes in field trips and day to day routes. The cafeteria staff who makes sure our kids are fed.  After school care that takes care of our children when we cannot. The principal who keeps things organized and on track. Especially the teachers who have went from in class teaching to virtual teaching in a matter of days without warning. Many of them have had to learn how to use systems to teach in a way they never have. Mrs. Rowney has been an incredible supporter and educator for my oldest daughter. As has Mrs. Parkhurst for my second daughter! Mrs. Dorgan is one of the best teachers I’ve ever met. She has the ability to keep her class of kindergarteners interested and ensures they find a love for learning that sets a foundation for their school career. We have been fortunate to have great teachers at Cherry Knoll. Thank you to each and every one of you! - Michelle K.

I have always enjoyed working with all the staff at Silver Lake Elementary. This year is no exception. Mrs. Wyatt and Mrs. Vanderford have both been amazing to work with throughout this whole uncertain, challenging process. Mrs. Vanderford is such a positive and encouraging cheerleader, doing all she can to ensure us parents have the tools we need to help keep our first graders on track without becoming too overwhelmed. Mrs. Wyatt continues to engage and connect with parents, but most importantly, the students. My daughter is still excited about "school" and enjoys her classroom meets with Mrs. Wyatt in a way that continues to keep her engaged in learning during a time when it would be easy to disconnect. I have two students at home I'm trying to "teach" and I know how stressed and unsure I feel at times. These teachers have classrooms of students they are working hard to teach every day and I can only imagine what they are going through. I can't say enough how much I appreciate all they are doing for our kids and us parents. It is appreciated more than I can put into words. - Stephanie T.

We would like to give a big shout out to Ms. Houston of Silver Lake. [Our daughter] was really struggling understanding some clock/time elapsed assignments. I emailed Ms. Houston and wanted to know if we could get extra practice because we needed more help. She emailed me right back asking when we would be available for a one on one meeting. Within 10 minutes of the initial email, [my daughter] was set up with Ms. Houston. Ms. Houston had her big clock and worked with [her] for a long time until she felt more confident. We're just really happy and impressed at her teacher's availability and ease of working together with our daughter. [Our daughter] looks forward to all her class meetings. In these difficult times, Ms. Houston definitely makes things run as smoothly as she can and tries to help and reach out if needed. Thank you! - The Merchant Family 

I would like to give a thank you to the West Middle School 7th grade purple team teachers as well as Mr. Downer and Ms. Kane. This transition to learning online has not been easy and I truly appreciate the organization of assignments and communication to make it as easy as possible. So thank you for all of the work you’re doing now and for a great 7th grade year before the transition to online learning. You are all appreciated!! Thank you!! - Stephanie L. (parent of 4 TCAPS students)

I really wanted to extend my thanks to my son’s teacher, Mrs. Hisem (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis). She is probably the greatest thing that could ever have happened to my child when it comes to schooling. She is absolutely fantastic at dealing with him and has the utmost patience with him. He can be hard to handle with his asd but she has always been there for him. It is obvious that she genuinely cares about him and his education and that means the world to me. I couldn’t ask for a better teacher and am thankful every day for her. I also definitely want to thank Carrie Orton, Katrina and the rest of his iep team for the amazing job they’ve done with him. You guys are the best! Rebecca E.

I so much appreciate both the morning and afternoon bus drivers for our boys. They have helped us find so many lost water bottles, mittens, snow pants, etc. Thank you! Sarah M.

I know it’s technically teacher appreciation, but I want to thank all of the administrators at TC Central, especially Ms. Houghton, for all of the work done to keep the school running every day. Leading through this challenge is certainly not easy and everyone has an opinion. Thank you for keeping a level head and keeping students first. - Anonymous

We are so thankful for the teachers, support staff, food service staff, athletic coaches, bus drivers, custodians and administrators throughout TCAPS. You inspire us to do all we can to make your jobs easier. Thank you is not enough. - Bill S., Kristie B., Laurie J., Deyar J., Patricia H.

I would like to give a huge thank you to the principal at TCAPS Montessori, Lisa VanLoo. As a staff member I have been completely impressed by how well she has mobilized our staff during this closure. But today I would like to comment as a parent. Lisa VanLoo has been sending out messages to the kids in our school. My son has a new favorite song after she shared a video of "Put a little Love in Your Heart", where she played guitar in the band Loo and the Under Twos. My son looks forward to receiving his email from Ms. VanLoo, who is now reading Puff The Magic Dragon one chapter at a time. Thank you Ms. VanLoo for finding a way to stay connected to our children! - Liz Y.

I would like to give a HUGE thanks to Jennifer Hart, 7th grade English teacher at West [Middle School]!  She has been amazing since the very beginning of this quarantine! She was the only teacher my son & I heard from for classes daily. She had classes almost immediately, and kept us informed on any changes.  She cares so much about her students, and has proved this time and time again. Thanks again for being an amazing teacher! - Lisa V.

I would like to acknowledge and thank the payroll department! I know I've taken their work for granted at times but I definitely haven't during this COVID pandemic. I appreciate the essential services you are providing!  A Grateful Employee

I would like to thank all the staff at Traverse Heights Elementary. Before this experience I was aware of how great of a school [my daughter] attended though I didn’t truly know how special until now. From the amazing, healthy lunches the district provides, to the superior dedication her teachers have shown. They have been incredibly supportive in all aspects which is greatly appreciated. And to be able to see first hand how [her] teacher relates to and instructs her is priceless! I am so thankful for everyone and will be even more confident sending my daughter everyday to school. THANK YOU!!! - Angela M.

We have three lovely daughters terrorizing Traverse City [Area]Public Schools (West Middle School, West Senior High School). The apple never falls far from the tree so I know (my mother would agree) how difficult teaching my kids has been and that your extra patience, guidance and friendships have been a significant factor in shaping our daughters’ lives. Thanks for helping us raise and educate our kids. They would not be the lovely ladies they are if it weren’t for you. - Adam G.

Would like to thank the West Middle teachers and staff for working through the challenges with the unprecedented times! - Laura G.

We are grateful for Mrs. Kristin Sulecki at Silver Lake as well as all the social workers in TCAPS right now who are working hard to connect with families and help students process some big feelings right now.  Sincerely, Jackie S.-H.

I would like to give a huge thanks and job well done to the staff of both TC Central High and East Middle School for their efforts in making this very difficult situation more bearable. Staff of both schools have encouraged, positively reinforced, and reached out with support and concern for students. The postcards from teachers from Central High staff are wonderful and greatly appreciated. The email check-ins from East Middle staff, equally appreciated. Special shout out to Ms. Zebell and Ms. Ridel at East Middle for their continued positive and organized effort towards students success and Mr. Schafer, and Mrs. Laing from Central High School for their entertaining and enthusiastic approach to this otherwise awkward situation. Thank you, and you're all so appreciated! - TCAPS parent of two. 

In regards to Jen Hisem at Glenn Loomis Montessori, from the start of 4th grade I had Mrs. Jen and thought she was wonderful.  She has her ways of teaching that nobody does. Also she is super duper kind and loves teaching kids.  So after the 4th grade I knew she was my type of teacher. Now I'm in 5th grade and she continues teaching wonderfully. I just want to thank you Mrs. Jen for all the hard work you've done teaching me and the other kids in your class. Sincerely, James C. in 5th Grade Mrs. Hisem's Class

We would like to recognize Alison Lauters, our daughter's first grade teacher at Westwoods, as an outstanding educator. She connects with each and every student and family with ease and confidence. Our daughter has grown so much this year academically, emotionally and personally. I have had the privilege of spending some time in their classroom this year and I am blown away by how Mrs. Lauters makes learning fun, relevant and interesting. Her communication with families has always been superior and she has been working very hard to keep her students engaged since day 1 of the school covid closure. We are fortunate to have our children attend Westwoods and we look forward to  the years ahead. As a family we have definitely been cheated out of milestones and opportunities involving the face to face education that is so important. Yet, we still feel connected to our school community thanks to an outstanding staff and excellent leadership. - The O'Brien's

Just want to give a shout out to Mrs. Ridenour at Courtade Elementary! She has been amazing throughout this entire process of learning at home and has made the lessons exciting and fun! She is in constant communication with her students and their parents and has made this transition so easy. She is appreciated more than we can explain! Also want to give a shout out to Mrs. Sagan, Ms. Reidel, Mrs. Brian, Ms. Justin and Mr. Diment at East Middle School. They have all made this transition for my 7th grader so easy. What was beginning to look like a struggling curriculum for my son, has turned into a lot of fun and learning for him. All of the teachers are quick to respond to any questions and they make the children's daily work very clear. I just want to add that during this time of the current health crisis, I want to thank the entire TCAPS district. This transition of life has not been easy, but knowing that my children's education is just as important has made things a little easier for us as a family.  Learning is important and it's so good to know that the TCAPS staff is here for our children for whatever reason or need.  You are all appreciated beyond explanation! Angie J. - Courtade and East Middle parent

We wanted to thank Mrs. Ruskowski and the entire Eastern Front Office Staff. They not only make themselves available with quick answers to questions, but they never fail to have smiles on their faces and show that they truly care about the kiddos and family at the school. I will never forget after a difficult “good-bye” on the first day of preschool for my son, Mrs. Biz personally called me to ensure I was okay (as a mommy) and assured me that everything that my son was experiencing was very normal. She had left a voicemail that nearly brought me to tears of appreciation. Since then the Eastern Staff has fostered an environment where we continue to see both our sons strive in this great learning environment. Thank you for creating such a  family environment at the school for students and parents alike!  Judy and Jeff S.

We would like to give our great appreciation to the amazing staff at CHS! It is my daughter's freshman year and it could not have been a smoother transition for her. Her teachers have made all the difference in making her start in high school a positive one. Special shout out to Ms. Michelle Howard - your dedication and guidance to my daughter's progress as a mathematician has been amazing. Your class has been a challenge for her and through your kind nature, support and sense of humor she has gained so much skill and confidence. We are also so thankful for Mrs. Erin Kosch. She has taught both of our daughters and they both adore her and learned a ton in her history class. Mrs. Kosch creates exciting ways to explore history and it is evident, through our dinnertime discussions, that our children have gained amazing vocabulary, a worldly view and knowledge regarding history.  Thank you for all the CHS staff does to support our kids. Go Trojans! - Tracy R.

We would like to give a shout out to my boys’ teachers at Silver Lake Elementary. Mrs. Hetfield has been such an amazing teacher for my 2nd grade son. She truly cares about him and has helped him be so confident in his all of his school work. You also switched over to online learning without missing a beat, which we all know is not easy. We are so lucky to have had you join the staff this year and couldn’t have asked for a better teacher for our son! Also thank you to Mr. Culver, our 5th grade son’s teacher this year. You have made the year very fun for him and continue to do so through online learning. He looked forward to going to school everyday and is definitely ready to attend middle school next year and you have been a part in helping him grow. Thank you to both of you and the whole staff at Silver Lake for being so caring to our family! It does not go unnoticed at all!  -The DuBois family

Our family would like to thank many of the teachers at TC West HS but we would like to especially recognize Minda Nyquist. If there is anyone that can build confidence in a student and get them to do things they themselves had never dreamed of, its Minda. If you have ever been to a phenomenal theatre or musical theatre production at West, then you would understand. The extra time that goes into what she does to build connections and trust with students is amazing. Students invest their time and dedicate their all to this teacher both during and after school. Our sons are better people for having been taught by Minda and we are forever grateful that they have not only a teacher that they will remember for a lifetime, but a friend and support should they ever need it. Thank you Minda! - The Hoxsie family

We would like to thank Mrs. Odette (Eastern Elementary) for our Young Fives experience this year. She has been a joy to work with, and has given our son such a positive learning opportunity. Our son would hug her each day after school and then share all the fun things they did during the day. He looked forward to each day and would beam the minute she came outside each morning to bring her class inside. He was truly devastated when the announcement of cake that he would no longer go his classroom guy has loved the zoom class meetings and truly looks forward to seeing his classmates and teacher. Please know you’ve made an incredible impact on our son. -The Dilloway Family

I can not express how grateful I am for Mrs. Pfost at Traverse Heights. Right from the beginning of this pandemic, before schools where even asked to do so, Mrs. Pfost was on top of the situation and jumped right into continue teaching my son and her entire class. I also cared for my kindergarten grandchild and was given no instruction for her schooling. Mrs. Pfost welcomed her into the online meetings, pictures and let me include her in all the projects. Once my granddaughter's school started communicating I saw immediately how much more Mrs. Pfost was doing for her class room. I feel very confident my son will be ready for 1st grade due to Mrs. Pfost never skipping a beat in his education. She has truly brought the classroom into our home via online and my son is excelling. Traverse Heights has a gem among their teachers, and it’s Mrs. Pfost. Thank You Mrs. Pfost - Pamela, parent of a Traverse Heights kindergartener

In regards to Jen Hisem at Glenn Loomis Montessori, from the start of 4th grade I had Mrs. Jen and thought she was wonderful. She has her ways of teaching that nobody does. Also she is super duper kind and loves teaching kids. So after the 4th grade I knew she was my type of teacher. Now I'm in 5th grade and she continues teaching wonderfully. I just want to thank you Mrs. Jen for all the hard work you've done teaching me and the other kids in your class. Sincerely - James C., 5th Grade Mrs. Hisem's Class

I have had 3 kids in TCAPS schools. The first graduated last year and I currently have a 9th grader at Central High School and a 4th grader at Courtade Elementary. I also have family that work within the school system. I have seen the blood, sweat, and tears (especially with recent changes in schooling) that the teachers have endured through an ever changing school system. Throughout the years being a parent within the TCAPS school system, I have seen so much dedication and love exhibited by the staff. From the Administration trying to figure out how to make the most out of the ever shrinking budget, to the volunteers dedicated to make the learning environment more fulfilling, all that are involved seem to give 110%. Recent changes in schooling have given me, and I’m sure many others, a greater appreciation for the teaching profession. The structure, organization, and patience of a teacher is second to none. I have heard the struggles of my family members trying to teach from home and seen them of my children trying to adapt to a new way of learning. Throughout the changes, the staff of Courtade Elementary and of Central High School continue to impress me. I am so thankful for the support they have offered myself and my children throughout the years and for their continued communication and dedication to my children and their education. While there are so many that I would love to send personal thanks to, Mr. Goodwin at Courtade is at the top of my list. He has had all three of my children in his class. He has exhibited love for the kids and the profession, he makes learning fun and enjoyable, and has no doubt spent countless hours finding ways to support and encourage the students. All three of my kids loved being in his class and my older 2 still have fond memories of him as their teacher. Mrs. Anderson is another teacher at Courtade that I cannot say enough about. She has been such an intricate part of both of my son’s learning and I have seen her dedication to all that she works with. Overall, I cannot say enough about the TCAPS school system and those within it. While I have seen a few teachers that were not a great fit for my kids, and as with any program, there are aspects that could be improved, I feel that the staff of Courtade, East Middle School, and Central High School are second to none and am so grateful to be part of such an amazing community. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!!!! - Casey M.

Special recognition to two attuned and compassionate ladies at Willow HillMrs. Weston, our 1st grade Teacher and Mrs. Brazee, our Music Teacher. They tuned in with their first graders Thursday evening at 7 for a pajama book reading and singing.  - Grateful for both of you! - a TCAPS parent

We are grateful to the West Middle School team! Mrs. Stuedemann leads her 6th grade with sincerity that our daughter feels.  Mrs. Fehrenbach, Ms. Thomas, Ms. Rizzo, Mr. Dee and Mr. Clarke and Ms. Denherder are favorites of our daughter.  They have all been champions making online school a success.  Thank you! - a TCAPS parent

I have had the pleasure of working with Stephanie Havens and Evelyn Laman at GLMO (TCAPS Montessori).....They are 2 of the best food service workers in the district. They care about the students well being and provide them nutritious meals so they can get through the day. A big "Thank you "to all the Food Service workers... Mary D - P.S.-Another great one is Edie Wheaton at Westwoods.

A big thank you to all of the wonderful staff at EAST MIDDLE SCHOOL. The kindness, support and encouragement you’ve given our son over these 3 years has made him totally ready to tackle high school. He will miss you all! CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL,  where do I start? Amazing place for our kids to learn and grow! We had the great opportunity to host an exchange student this year (Thanks Karyn Hertel!) and he was so surprised at how much the teachers and staff care about each and every student. What a great feeling to walk into a big school and have the staff really know my students. That kind of positive school culture doesn’t come easily, so know that we appreciate all of you! - Melissa S.

In honor of teacher appreciation week, we want to honor Silver Lake Young 5's teacher, Mrs. Keske. This year, Mrs. Keske took on teaching TCAPS new young five’s program and was tasked with getting over 20 students ready for kindergarten! Her approach to teaching and learning had a huge impact on our son.  Mrs. Keske made our son, who was very nervous about school, feel loved; he would remember each compliment she gave him. What struck us most about Mrs. Keske is the way in which she made learning magical for her students! As they were learning colors, students made lemonade, blueberry pancakes, and slime. She had a pretend center in the classroom that became a bakery, a post office, an aquarium and sensory time that included playing in water. Mrs. Keske also had many different engaging, hands-on centers (“sinters”). Our son learned Kindergarten curriculum in fun and exciting ways.  We truly appreciate Mrs. Keske’s compassion and patience and all that she does for her students! G and C

A huge thank you to Central High School's Doug Gle. He has fostered a love of fitness in my daughter that is just incredible. The mentoring he has extended toward her has gone above and beyond. We are so grateful that he has taken the time to help her on her way of fulfilling her goals. Thank you Coach Gle! Amy F. 

We would like to say THANK YOU to Mrs. Burkholder, Mrs. Kyser,  Mrs. Vanstratt, Mr. Lesinski, Mrs. Pulliam, Mrs. Schrock, Mr. Vipond,  and all the Central Grade School staff who have made our daughter's 6 years at Central Grade a positive and rewarding one. An extra special THANK YOU to Mrs. VanStratt and Mr. Lesinski for their patience and dedication to their students over the past 2 months. Even when there wasn't a plan they still kept engaged with their students. While our daughter and her classmates will not be able to walk across the LARS Auditorium stage, or run through the halls on the last day of school and high five everyone, we are sending  virtual "high fives" to everyone at Central Grade School. You guys rock!  - Sarah and Bryan S.

Words cannot adequately convey our appreciation for Tracy Rucker and Jen Tank who have taught our son for the past three years at the TCAPS Montessori. They have gone above and beyond their job descriptions to take care of his academic and emotional needs. We simply could not be more grateful for the compassionate care he has received from them.  - Matt and Casey S.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

We wanted to thank Jen Hisem and Laurie Tuck for guiding our son for the past three years at the TCAPS Montessori. You helped him instantly feel a part of your classroom. He was always happy going to school and we feel your support and loving environment helped foster this. We are so grateful he has had that experience. - Matt and Casey S. 

I cannot overstate my gratitude for Mrs. Yascolt and Ms. McCain at Westwoods Elementary. We were devastated when we didn't get to see both on a daily basis and felt like we were missing out on the rest of our year with them. Turns out we are beyond fortunate to have had them during this time. I cannot imagine having to go thru life in homeschooling without their support and instruction. My kindergartner gets so excited to see Mrs. Yascolt during our "computer meetings"  throughout the week. He can't wait to tell her about what he has been up to. And my second grader absolutely adores Ms. McCain. His face lights up when I say "time for our meeting with Ms. McCain!" And it never fails to boost his confidence for the day. Her kindness and sincerity make him visibly relax (he has sensory processing issues and high anxiety). He regularly asks when he gets to see her again. It is so comforting for me (mother) to see my child's love for a sweet and wonderful teacher. And a HUGE thanks to Mr. Tiesworth! We are so thankful to be in his school during all this!!! He is so organized and supportive. We love all our teachers and staff at Westwoods!!!!!!! Many of us have known this but I hope our country can see, after all this, that our educators are our heroes!!! They work so hard and are so dedicated to our children...they are on the Front Lines of the world's future!! Thank you!! - Sarah V.

I would like to thank Andrew Hayes, 5th grade teacher at Blair Elementary. He has truly been a blessing for my son, and is the first teacher to truly see and encourage the academic strengths my son has, regardless of his ASD diagnosis and challenges. The transition to home school while being an essential worker, at 45 plus hours a week since March, has not been easy, and Mr. Hayes has been more than flexible with our schedule, routine, and circumstances during this time. His dedication is appreciated more than I could ever express. Thank you for being that "one teacher." - Holliesue W.

We would love to thank our skilled and caring teachers at Glenn Loomis (TCAPS Montessori). Mrs. Barnes and Mr. Stewart have already done so much for their primary students. They have been working so hard to provide lessons, resources, and material to keep the children busy learning during this “new normal.” Along with them, Miss Shelly, Krissy, and Margie have also done a wonderful job. My daughter LIGHTS up when a new song or story shows up from her teachers. She even received mail today! What a fun day. We don’t go a single day without listening to a song or story from ALL of the teachers mentioned above. Thank you for all that you have done for us all year, and thank you for transitioning our learning by providing such wonderful resources for us. - Theo & Kennedy P. and Family

Our most heartfelt thank yous go out to Willow Hill teachers Sue Thomas and Megan Wolf. We are a teacher family and we like to think we know good ones when we see them. This school closure, like everyone, has made us appreciate just how much of our children's development rests on our teachers shoulders. Sue and Megan exemplify good teaching. We know that teaching at their level is nothing that happens by accident, it must take hours and hours of time each week beyond the classroom. We just want them to know that it does NOT go unnoticed or unappreciated. Our children are better because of you and the heart that you bring to your job! The McGurn Family.

We would like to shout out to Ms. Gang and Ms. DeKett art teachers at Willow Hill. They are using fun art challenges and making videos showcasing artwork, they’ve been hosting art chats and sending inspirational examples of beautiful artwork. Art is really brightening our days during quarantine and we are grateful for the art and specials staff at Willow Hill for all their dedication to the students. The Glancy Family 

For Ms. Hendges, Courtade Elementary: It has been a pleasure having Ms. Hendges teach [our daughter] this year! We were even lucky enough to have Ms. Hendges for 1st & 2nd grade![Our daughter] wants to say... "I think you are a great teacher and I am glad to have you as a teacher. I think you are a great teacher because you TEACH us! I think you are nice, caring & respectful. I hope you have a great day! - The Alkilani Family

This is a huge shout out to the Central High School Administrative Team: Jessie Houghton, Brian Guiney, Nate Kepler, and Ben Berger. They have worked tirelessly to see our students and staff through this changing educational landscape. Clear, concise, cohesive communication has been their mode of operation--something that was in place and valued before we were all sent home. They have focused on the students' well-being and connectedness to the school community and their staff's family needs with equal measure. Their level of positivity has been unwavering...for this, I am grateful; we all need it. We stress making meaning connections at Central; our ad-team is keeping those connections strong and purposeful by supporting our teaching staff as they try new ways to keep kids engaged. Our students, the seniors who are moving on and those freshmen who were finally feeling comfortable, are the benefactors of this focus. Thank you for your leadership, now and in calmer times.  --A Central High School Teacher

We would like to thank Terri Banish, Nancy Gagnon, and Brad Petrie at Central High School for their care, dedication and support. They have worked tirelessly to develop meaningful relationships and support students in a wide variety of settings. You can tell that they care and love the students they work with, by the connections that they have made. We truly appreciate your service and support. We couldn’t do this without you. -The Neveau Family

We would like to send a special thank you to our son's 5th grade teacher Mrs. Savoie at Eastern Elementary School. She helped him have a great start to the school year and it has continued every day!  She encourages him to learn and grow in different ways each day. She has also been amazing during the at-home learning. We'd also like to thank Mrs. Ruskowski for starting Student Senate. It gave him a chance to become more involved in his school. He is proud of the activities they were able to provide for the other students and enjoyed the leadership opportunity it provided. We'd also like to thank the office staff Mrs. Jenkins and Mrs. Waskiewicz. They are awesome and help each student be an amazing Eastern Star!   Scott and Becky H

Mrs. VanderZee, Librarian, is an important part of student’s routines at Central High School.  She has been missed by many students so much. THANK YOU Mrs. VanderZee for staying in touch with students!  You make their day!  Especially because they don’t expect to hear from someone who isn’t teaching a class.  Very special. - Kate P.

All through TCAPS my son has had the most incredible teachers. We feel very blessed to be apart of this community. This year he has had the opportunity to have Mr Durbin (West Senior High School). He has gone above and beyond for his students preparing them for their AP exams. He has challenged my son and has made him a better student. I also want to thank Chad Meliens for his dedication to his students in band. Ms Campbell for always being there and teaching sign language online. Because of these dedicated teachers we will overcome these trying times. Kelly H

Our family is fortunate to be part of the Cherry Knoll community. From the minute we walk in the school, we feel the love, safety, and excitement for learning. There are so many people to thank for their dedication to the school and students! Mrs. Mansfield, thank you for greeting us with a smiling face each morning and making P.E. a highlight of our kids' days. Mrs. Carrie Donovan, thank you for creating a wonderful world of preschool with Mrs. Kathleen Reiman. Our children have been fortunate to each be loved and nurtured by you ladies; it's a bittersweet end to our season of having preschoolers for sure.  We also want to thank Mrs. Bee for the way she has helped each of our daughters learn so many wonderful things in their first grade year.  Her classroom certainly fosters learning and growth!  Mrs. Dara Parkhurst has been an absolute gift to our oldest this year with her warm, caring, engaging, FUN classroom.  She truly shows love in everything she does for her students!  Mrs. Jennifer Truszkowski has gone above and beyond for students at Cherry Knoll and she has a special place in our family's heart.  We are sad we won't step foot in these classes again this year, but these teachers have continued loving and meeting with our kids in this whole new way.  Thank you also to Dr. Victoria Derks for leading staff and students so well, the support staff, custodians, staff in the lunchroom feeding our hungry kiddos, and the wonderful ladies in the office, Mrs. Amy McDonald and Mrs. Kerri-Ann Bonaddio.  Each of you helps make the school the awesome place it is!  -The Walters

We cannot thank the amazing staff at Eastern Elementary enough for all of their kindness and the dedication they show to providing an excellent education to our children. We are in awe of the incredible efforts they have taken to ensure that each child feels supported and loved during this challenging time. A BIG thanks to Ms. Julie Brott, Ms. Joy Brasington, and Ms. Kathy Radakovich for always taking the time to make sure our children continue to feel like a special part of the Eastern family. With all our thanks, The Doerr Family

It feels impossible to express in words how thankful we are for the amazing work being done by our two children's teachers at Glenn Loomis Montessori. Angie Ballmer and Angela Barnes have worked tirelessly during this remote learning period to keep their students feeling connected and engaged. They are incredibly organized and patient, helping not only their students but also the parents as we all learn to navigate this new learning environment. They have figured out complex technology at record speed and have integrated it with ease, responding to endless questions, emails, etc all day, every day. But most importantly, they have continued to love our children from a distance, reading books to them, checking on them, talking with them and making it incredibly clear that their love and passion for their profession and their students was never actually confined to the 4 walls of the classroom to begin with. We are incredibly grateful for their love and care now and always. Thank you for all that you do! Sincerely, Emily and Philip M.

We would like to thank a few very special ladies at Eastern Elementary. Our son genuinely looks forward to his "specials" during the week and often defines the day and even dresses for which one(s) he has. Mrs. Richmond, Mrs. Asiala, Mrs. Brazee, and Mrs. Culik-thank you for your kindness and genuine interest in our son. He lights up when he talks about a new game played in gym, a book being saved for him, a new song he learns and sings for the class or an art project he's been working on. Your dedication to your passions and your students are immeasurable and we appreciate you so much. -The Dilloway Family 

We would like to thank the staff at WMS, especially, Ms. Robbins, Ms. O'Neill, Mrs. Six-King, Mrs. Sommerville, Mrs. Sirrine, Ms. Babel, Ms. Peoples, Mr. Deyo, Mr. Dee, Mr. Baumann and Mr. Swanson. These teachers go above and beyond for their students. Our kids have been challenged by them, and strive to do more for their teachers. Whether it was while they were in class, or now transitioned to distance learning, they are working so hard to ensure our kids continue to learn. Thank you! You are all amazing, and we so appreciate everything you have done and continue to do.  Sara and Bill B.

Mrs. Westerman at Cherry Knoll has been absolutely wonderful. I have really enjoyed getting to listen in on some of my son's class meetings and hear how she is not only challenging the students' minds but also ensuring that they feel connected and have a good support network. Thank you!! - Cara E.

A special thank you to the 2nd grade teachers at Willow Hill.  Our kids occupy a seat in each of Mrs. Brezezinski, Mrs. Peplinski, and Mrs. Gosney’s 2nd grade classrooms.  They have collaborated to give us the tools to learn from home.  Additionally, a shout out to the specials teachers, Mrs. Topol, Mrs. Gang, Mr. Hysel, and Mrs. Brazee for their efforts to keep the kids engaged with fun activities during our time at home.  Thank you to Mrs. Sides-McKay…we get to “see” you for 10 min every morning and it’s a bright spot to start our day!  Thank you to all of the behind the scenes support staff at WH who keep things going to support our kids (both pre and post C-19).  Finally…a shout out to our bus drivers, Miss. Cynthia and Mr. Brian - We miss you and can’t wait to be back on board soon.  -Nicole R.

A high school student’s connection to teachers and staff extends far beyond academic instruction. And, that connection is essential when school, the building itself, for any number of reasons is a hard place to be. Instructional time becomes secondary to a simple smile; understanding without question and the genuine question “how’s it going?”; the recognition of needs and also potential; insight from one’s own experience and the ability to laugh at one’s own experience; providing information and support and just being there to support and encourage. To truly listen, laugh and care through the fun times and the far harder times is the foundation of the student/staff connection. Thank you Emily Moore, Julie Puckett, Kristi Brunink, Alice Hilner, Julie Flaherty, Emily Howard, Ben Berger and Kim Fleming (Central High School). Our daughter is a senior and didn’t get the chance to share the hug, high five and proud, excited smiles with these special staff members upon news of a college commitment decision before the school’s closing – the next step on a foundation which they helped build – but she will carry with her the many special moments she shared with all of them through the last four years. Thank you! Heather A.

Central Grade is filled with so many great role models and really caring people that deserve thank yous all year round. Thank you Mr.Tisdale and Mrs. DuGuay for truly exemplifying what it means to be a leader and getting to know your students! Mrs. Oleson and Mrs. Forysth truly care for anyone who walks in their classroom and goes above and beyond and it's felt by their students and families! The support and love at Central goes beyond the classroom, it's felt with Mrs. Schrock, Mrs. Radecki, and Mrs.Pulliam for reaching the students in their perspective passions! Thank you to Mrs. Seeley and Mrs. Keyser for your support along our journey at Central Grade. Also, thank you to Mrs. Kiella for all the great ideas, patience, and problem solving in such a kind way! We truly appreciate all of you! - Danielle J.

We love and appreciate Mrs. Mooney at Blair Elementary. She teaches third grade and has had two of our grandkids. She is SO kind, patient and attentive to each child, always. She has been extra helpful during this pandemic to assist us at home. What a wonderful teacher!!! - Joelle

We would like to recognize Alison Lauters (Westwoods Elementary School) for all that she has done to help [our son] grow as a learner and find his confidence as a first grader. Mrs. Lauters works tirelessly to ensure that students love to learn! Her lessons are meaningful, engaging and manageable for parents who are working to support distance learning at this time. The Google meets with Mrs. Lauters often see greater than 100% attendance as younger brothers and sisters are eager to join in on the learning as they sneak into view of the screen. I can't keep my younger son away from the math lessons and bedtime stories! This is a true testament to how caring and welcoming Mrs. Lauters is to all children. Thank you also to Dan Tiesworth for his leadership in ensuring that Westwoods families were supported through careful planning and coordination. - Tim & Kristin 

We would like to give a big shout out to Ms. Kelly Bevier, preschool teacher at Oak Park Elementary.  Ms. Kelly has provided a fun and loving learning environment for our son.  He has grown tremendously both emotionally and academically and wakes up each morning asking, “Can I go see Ms. Kelly today?”  Her love and compassion for working with little ones shines and we couldn’t have imagined a better start to school for him. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for loving, supporting and teaching our little guy.  - Mark and Becky H.

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to so many of the incredible teachers that have touched my children's lives this year. This is not how we envisioned celebrating our daughters senior year, but thanks to so many of you it has allowed her to be so thankful and reflective for what you have all meant to her. Mrs. Brunink (Central High School) you have instilled a love of psychology that is so strong she is going to major in it in college. She chose to continue working on her grade in physics simply because she loves Mr. Forton so much. Ms. Sandy has been a constant source of kindness and patience and someone she greatly admires. Mrs. Puckett, even though she is 2 years removed from being in your class she still talks about you with so much affection. To Mr. McCall, Ms. Porath, Mr. Dykstra, Mr Deneen and Mr. Rucker at East Middle School thank you! You have shown such patience with our youngest. He loves all of you. Thank you for all of your hard work in keeping him engaged, learning and connected with his classmates during this time. You are exceptional teachers and people. Amy F. 

Mrs. Kelly, Mrs. Cindy and Mrs. Clark have been an amazing team of educators for my daughter. She has flourished and is ready for Kindergarten despite the changes to the end of her preschool years. I am always excited to talk with her at the end of her days at Oak Park and am continually impressed by what her teachers do to help her learn. Thank you Mrs. Kelly, Mrs. Cindy and Mrs. Clark!!! -Katie B.

I would like to share my heartfelt appreciation to all of the staff at Long Lake Elementary.  I was blessed enough to join the staff there this year.  Everyone there made me feel so welcome.  I always felt comfortable to ask for help and found everyone so patient and kind in answering my questions.  I especially want to give a shout out to Kate Burwinkel for fostering such an amazing environment of family and teamwork, and to Sandy Griffin and Dawn Aspenleiter for all of their assistance.  I felt especially blessed to be working under the guidance and tutelage of Ann Thaxton and Theresa Wangeman.  I learned so much from these amazing and compassionate women.  Lastly, I would like to give a shout out to Chrissy Albin for selflessly sharing all her insight on working with special needs kids.  This was so invaluable and allowed me to be the best I could be.  Thank you everyone for teaching me how to be a PANTHER!!  Laurene K.

Thank you to the WMS 6th grade Silver Team of Mr. Worm, Mrs. Owens and Mrs. Schopieray,  Mr. Schrotenboer of the Blue team and elective teachers of Mr. Kolanowski, Mr. Emerick, Mrs. Jones and Mrs. LaBonte. - For their compassion and guidance with helping my daughter make the transition from elementary school to middle school. - For helping  my daughter realize and gain confidence in her abilities as a student. - For  their continued commitment to my daughter’s  education with the conversion from an in room classroom environment to online. This school year has been a year like no other and  I am beyond thankful. Thank you, Carrie H.

I wanted to give a BIG thank you to Blair Elementary's Mr. Mike Vincent and Miss Carolyn Athanson.  I am so blessed to have shared an amazing year in GSRP.  You both have created a positive and inspiring team!  -J.E.

I would like to thank my friend and colleague Kelley Carroll (Cherry Knoll Elementary School) for her endless hours of teaching and coaching as we navigated through teaching remotely.  Her patience and encouragement inspired confidence and success, just as she does routinely with her first grade students at Cherry Knoll.  Thank you!  Eileen B.

Appreciate K. Forton (Central High School) sharing his emails with parents re: online physics instruction. Enjoy the updates as well as his humor. Go STEM! Thank you all CHS Staff - Katie H.

Mrs. Westerman and the entire staff at Cherry Knoll Elementary School have made my daughter's experience in elementary school wonderful. She is cared for, challenged and ready for Middle School. Despite the challenging end to her elementary school life, Mrs. Westerman has gone the extra mile to be sure she feels as though she is ready to move on, yet celebrated for her hard work in elementary school. Thank you Mrs. Westerman and the Cherry Knoll team! We will miss you! -Katie B.

Miss Paula and Mrs. Leonard (Westwoods Elementary School) are preschool ROCK STARS! Both of my boys have had the privilege of learning from these ladies who have the highest level of patience and skill in teaching children critical foundational skills. They truly love and respect each child as an individual and find humor and joy in their work. We can't thank Miss Paula and Mrs. Leonard enough for all they have done for our family! - Tim & Kristin 

Mrs. Houghton (Central High School): Your leadership is visible everywhere I look right now.  Thank you so much for empowering your teachers to do great work, and for also staying in touch with students yourself. Getting a card from a Principal is times ten on the impact scale.  Keep it up, especially with the marginal students. They are paying attention. - Kate P.

We'd like to thank our son's teachers at Central High School for the endless time and energy they spend making each our son's days great! Mrs. Puckett, Mrs. King, Mr. Forlenza and Mr. Forton continually challenge him which he loves. Mrs. Shelly-Barnes has him loving English class when it's usually his least favorite subject. Mrs. Moore encourages his love of Spanish and is helping him grow in his language skills. ALL of his teachers these past two years have been amazing and we are so lucky he is able to attend such a great school with so many great opportunities. - Scott and Becky H

We are incredibly grateful for Mrs. Ballmer, Mrs. Walsh, Mrs. Rucker, Mrs. Tank, and the rest of the TCAPS Montessori staff. They have worked tirelessly to be resources for us as parents and reassuring voices for our children - all while sustaining their own families and navigating this uncertain and chaotic time. They have modeled for our children how to give grace to themselves and others, how to hold space for the emotions that come up, how to be flexible and change course when necessary, how to remain positive and optimistic during this strange time, and how to do hard things when they are feeling unsure. We know these amazing teachers are juggling a lot right now and we want them to know that we see it and we appreciate it. Thank you. - The Fri Family

We have been incredibly blessed for our daughter to have Mr. Cooper this year for 3rd grade at Eastern. His passion for nature and science shines through him, and his creative classroom projects motivate the kids to look at lessons and relate them to real world situations. My daughter absolutely loves having him as her teacher and looks forward to seeing him "virtually" every day. We thought we could articulate some of his qualities with an acrostic poem in her words:
Ridiculously good at fishing
Correct with grammar
Outstanding at catching snakes
Eager to teach us
Really allergic to glitter
We would be remiss not to mention Mrs. Ruskowski (the coolest, basketball playing, principal around), Mrs. Stout (the smiliest, fast talking first grade teacher), Mrs. Bui (the hippest, grooviest music teacher), Mrs. Brott (the kindest, and most patient cat herder) and Mrs. Brasington (the most organized, sweetest teacher) as well! We certainly feel like we won the jackpot in the teacher lottery. They are so caring and thoughtful and bring a level of motivation to the kids that is enviable. After home schooling for these last several weeks I know we have an even greater appreciation for the patience and creativity that they manage to summon on a daily basis! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Macare and Dustin L

Staff Appreciation Week Day 4: A Great Team

Talk about trailblazers! Thank you to all administrators, teachers, and support staff for jumping into action with little notice during this pandemic. We are ALL still trying to figure this out both personally and professionally. Thank you for doing so with compassion, humor, and patience. It hasn't been easy. But it has been appreciated!  Our daughter is a senior this year at WSH. Even though things haven't wrapped up in the way she envisioned, it has meant so much to know administration and staff have come together to find ways to help celebrate this important milestone and remind the seniors they haven't been forgotten. Thank you to Mr. Esper and volunteers for making & delivering the 2020 Senior Grad yard signs. Pretty awesome surprise! Over [our daughter’s] four years at West, the following staff have been a remarkable presence and source of encouragement to her, and we are so grateful: Mr. O'Berski, Ms. Aimee Cole, Mrs. Tamie Rosenburg, Mrs. Genevieve Minor,  Mrs. Megan Olsen,  Mr. Jeremy Rintala, and Mr. Darren Frechette. Heartfelt thanks, Amy & Garret L.

[My son] moved to Central High last year from GTA and found it a surprisingly great fit! He's on the Asperger's end of things, which doesn't make transitions easy, but everyone from administration to teachers to office staff has been great at accommodating him and letting him take a few minutes outside of class if he needs to. He's like to make a special shout out to Mrs. Gerber, his science teacher, who is both willing to listen to all his questions, and good at getting him to stop questioning and sit down for class. Thanks again, Central staff! -Amy S.

We are so blessed and grateful to have Mrs. Bageris as my daughter's third grade teacher. She is so patient and kind. Most of all I know that she loves each and every one of the children in her class with all her heart. My daughter lights up every time she sees her even if it is only by video. A special thank you to her and all the wonderful teachers and staff at Central Grade School. - Sincerely, Laura M.

Thank you to the staff of Traverse City Central High School for living true to your motto of “Making Meaningful Connection With Purpose”. [My student] has received at least one handwritten, personal note from each of his teachers in the mail. The impact this type of communication has, reaches far beyond the classroom. Thank you also for being so organized and having such great communication during these crazy times. We appreciate you! - Scott & Laurie H.

I would like to thank Mr. Worm at WMS. Thank you for being such a positive influence on [my son]. He LOVES your sense of humor and misses seeing you every day. Thank you to Ms. Owens for fostering [his] love of science. Your kind words and encouragement go far. Mr. Mielens for getting my son to love the trombone. It is truly a passion of his. Mary Beth Schmidt, thank you for continuing to challenge [my son] in math. Your routines are apparent as he continues to learn new concepts remotely. Thank you Sarah Schopieray for creating meaningful assignments during this time. Thank you to Mr. Lesinski at Central Grade for spending time to learn new things and keeping [my younger son] engaged. He had a grin from ear to ear when he got to see you and his classmates for the first time. You have been a positive influence in his life. Thank you to Joe Esper at WSH for your countless hours in leading our staff. I appreciate your direction and calm demeanor as we navigate through uncharted territory. - Genevieve M. 

Ashley Howe - Central High School: Ms. Howe has made the transition to high school a seamless process for our son. She has taught him not only U.S. History and Spanish, but how to organize his learning and share his thinking. Every time we speak to her, you can tell that she truly cares about her students. Thank you so much for all you do! - Shannon C.

My son is in Mrs. Beckwith’s first grade class at Westwoods Elementary and we have been so impressed with her dedication and enthusiasm. She does a great job challenging our son and also holding him accountable. She and the other first grade teachers at Westwoods have done an amazing job transitioning to online/distance learning and have made it relatively easy to do school at home with the daily videos, lesson plans and Google Meet groups. Thank you Mrs. Beckwith! - Laura B. & family

There are so many wonderful teachers that have made an incredible impact in my children’s lives this year! Mike Lesinski at Central Grade has been a patient, understanding force during our fifth grade son’s last year in elementary school. He is always willing to try new things and is wonderful at listening to each student’s needs. He is always there whenever my son has a question or concern, no matter how small. Laine Kyser, also at Central Grade, treats each kid as if they are her own. She cares immensely about their well being and makes sure that each child is being challenged in a way that works for them. Her organization from day one of the school closures has been nothing short of remarkable. We have been so fortunate to have had her in our children’s lives for four years. Mike Livengood at West Middle School has made a huge impression on our daughter during her eighth grade year. She always looked forward to his Friday current events discussions and looked up to him as her honor society advisor. He has helped instill a curiosity for learning that I am confident will serve her well in high school. We miss all of our teachers but are so grateful that they are so committed to helping us remotely! - Kim L.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Traverse City West Senior High Leadership team and the TCAPS Administration for how well they have managed the response to the COVID-19 crisis. The responses to the Governor's Executive Orders have been well thought through and implemented seamlessly. My daughter has been able to continue her learning throughout this period, which is greatly appreciated given her challenging course load. I also really commend Mr. Esper for the way he has engaged with the Seniors to get input on putting the best face possible on a thoroughly disrupted Senior year. This extra personal effort reminds me of how fortunate we have been to have our daughters attend West. - Mike F.

I would like to share my deepest gratitude to the AMAZING staff at West Senior High for their dedication, thoughtfulness and caring during these last few months since the world for our WSH Senior Class of 2020 changed forever. Mr. Esper’s emails are a lifeline to our kids’ hearts – filled with reassurance, kindness and hope – he has truly made all the difference to our seniors. To my son’s AP teachers (Mrs. Farmer, Mr. Ulicny, Mr. Ranke and Mr. Ready): THANK YOU for continuing to teach and mentor and give these kids a path to their future at a time when it’s so hard to see. The Zoom meetings, emails, homework, advice, simulations, and laughter give them normalcy which was what they crave. Jen Nowak and Mindy Wilkening: we love you for all the years you have taken care of our kids and all that you continue to do even now, you are the best!! There are not enough words for how much WSH means to all of us during this sad time, just know that YOU will be what is remembered forever as the best part of their senior year. - Jenn S.

I want to thank Mrs. Angela Camp, Mrs. Laura Carpenter, and the staff of Silver Lake Elementary for being so welcoming when I was a student teacher this past winter. It was a challenging, fulfilling, and enjoyable, experience. I especially want to thank Mrs. Carpenter for her guidance and support during this experience. Thank you for being so amazing! I learned so much from you and the students. - Kris V.

Thank you wonderful EMS Staff for rolling out a seamless virtual learning environment for my children during COVID -19.  The fast-acting implementation of Google Classrooms and other various learning platforms provided our family with a sense of normalcy, structure and comfort when everything else in the world felt chaotic. (Thomas Adair, Thad Bousamra, Patricia Brian, Melissa Brooke, Bryan Burns,  John Girton, Laurie Hebert, Danielle Humphrey, Jon Moore, Jodi Murphy, Gabriel Taylor, Jessica Unger, Michele Zebell) - Brad & Jennifer C.  

Thank you to the first grade team of teachers at Westwoods Elementary- Mr. Kramer, Mrs. Lauters, and especially, Mrs. Beckwith for being a constant, positive force for our daughter. Online learning has certainly had its highs and lows, but their tireless efforts to make the best of this situation has not gone unnoticed! They've been amazing in providing consistency and support, and we are very appreciative. Thank you! - Ian & Kim K.

I feel very blessed to work with Lisa Vanloo. She is an innovative, effective leader that helps motivate me to be my own personal best every day. She is a very approachable administrator who protects and honors her staff, students and school family. Lisa attacks problems, big and small, with a positive attitude, logical mind and strong moral compass. Our TCAPS Montessori community is extremely fortunate to have her leadership through these difficult times, as well as our exciting future with the construction of our new school.  -Tracy R. 

I want to extend my most heartfelt thank you to Mrs. Dorgan and Mrs. Willis at Cherry Knoll for their incredible help and guidance. My husband and I have both been working 40 hr weeks remotely from home since the schools have shut down, and the struggles of balancing our work and managing the home-schooling of a kindergartner and 2nd grader have been real. When TCAPS pivoted to online learning, both Dorgan and Willis made this transition look easy, and their structured lessons have made it so that our sons are looking forward to their classwork each day - and with minimal help from us! Our kindergartner has a running, one-sided conversation with Mrs. Dorgan the ENTIRE time he listens to her daily lesson videos. It's HILARIOUS to listen to! And thanks to the Technology Department at TCAPS, my 6-year old can log onto his borrowed Chromebook on his own, navigate to the google classroom by himself and access his daily lessons - all without my input. He reads his daily letter, and then dives into his work. I am SO BLOWN AWAY - all of this from a kindergartner! And I know much of it is because of the guidance through Mrs. Dorgan's videos. Both Willis and Dorgan stay in constant touch with the boys and for that, I'm so appreciative. So THANK YOU to everyone - you've made our working lives a million times easier in these unprecedented times!! - Jen T.

Six years ago, my husband and I decided to take our kids out of our school district and put them in TCAPS.  It was the best decision for our family. My girls have been given so many class options and opportunities that they wouldn’t have had before.  My oldest daughter is a freshman at Traverse City West Senior High.  As one of 3 freshman in an AP class, she felt a little like a fish out of water. Mr. Ben Zenner has been so supportive and encouraging to our daughter all year, and understands her love of history. He recently drove to our house and left her binder on our porch so she’d have her study materials. I’d also like to mention Mrs. Kelly Rintala. Thank you so much for encouraging our daughter to keep writing.  It warms my heart when another person can see the passion my daughter has for words. As for West Middle School, thank you to Mrs. Teachout for giving the kids incentive to practice their instruments at home.  My 6th grader has been playing her violin everyday. Mrs. Kerry LaBonte, thank you for all you’ve done this year for both of our girls. They hope to get to Germany soon!  I appreciate all of the email updates that each teacher has been sending. You’re all doing a superb job given the lack of time we had to prepare for this. This isn’t an easy time. I know many of you are at home with your own kids. I support all of you and wish you the best! Thank you so much! - Rhonda C. 

A good teacher is  both passionate and cares about their students. Mrs. Grant (Central High School) has and does both. She has been a huge inspiration to my daughter. I’m so appreciative for my daughter to have had her as a teacher! Meagan L.

A huge thank you to Mr. Brian from Westwoods Elementary. Our first grade daughter was new this year and had a hard time making friends at first. When she earned rewards for good behavior, her favorite activity to choose was playing games with Mr. Brian. He made her feel welcomed and we are so grateful for kindness! - Ian and Kim K. 

It’s difficult to know where to begin when I want to give a HUGE shout out to EACH staff member at Eastern. Our school is amazing because of each and every one of you. Mrs. Nelson you give kids the confidence in themselves to set personal goals and challenges, they know where they are in their studies and what they need to do to improve. I LOVE the student-led conferences!! It was great to see my daughter take pride in her successes and to be able to share her personal growth and goals this year. Thank you! Mrs. Bui, your love of music, your creativity and your passion for these students shines bright! Thank you for continuing our daughter’s passion for music. Ms. Kaufman, your song at the start of the stay at home order was incredible! We listened to it so many times. I love that you encouraged the kids to try something new and to be proud of their talents. I have never seen you without a smile on your face. The kids LOVED your daily announcements and we are so thankful for all you do! According to my kids, Mrs. Richmond “is an awesome gym teacher,” just absolutely “the BEST ever!” I agree! Thank you for all of the fun activities you do with these guys. I especially love that you get them out on cross country skis. Mrs. Marek, thank you for being you. Your love of learning and reading is contagious to the kids. The Kids in Community was a definite highlight to kindergarten this year. The online learning program that you, Mrs. Owens and Mrs. Edwardson, have set up is so easy to use and I applaud your efforts. Mrs. Radakovich - As C says, “you’re too amazing to even think of a way to start.” We love you. Whenever we see a great tree we give it a hug in your honor, thank you for sharing your goodness with all of us. Jill and Missy, I feel like I’m in the presence of superwomen when I’m in the office. The way you’re able to juggle everything, and still have a hug for any kiddo who walks in needing one is amazing. Thank you for being an extra “mom” for all of Eastern. - Sarah G.

We have loved all of our daughter’s teachers at Silver Lake! Michelle Conway in preschool, Danielle Frick in Kindergarten, Alicia Vanderford in first grade, and Jenny Hetfield in second grade. Thank you for making school a positive and rewarding experience for our daughter.  - Sarah and Charlie H.

Big thanks to Mrs. Nelson, 4th Grade Teacher at Eastern Elementary for all she has done to transition the class to online learning. She continues to be in touch with the students as much as possible and finds alternative educational tools every week. We really appreciate her and the entire staff at Eastern for making this transition a little easier for all. Kudos to the 6th grade teachers at East Middle School for their transition to online learning by keeping students engaged as much as possible. - M Robinson

We would like to thank Stephanie Jackson, our son’s 3rd grade teacher at Central Grade School. She has always been a dedicated teacher and even when faced with the extreme challenge of virtual teaching, she has shined. Her love of teaching and her students is very evident. We’d also like to thank Sara Bageris and Steve Balcom, who, as members of the third grade team, have worked tirelessly to teach our child. Thanks to all of our Central Grade Superstar staff who have gone above and beyond for our school community. I’m thankful to get to work alongside this staff and for them to help raise our child. -Erika and Craig O.

Oftentimes we do not extend enough thanks to our support staff, so I would like to publicly recognize the incredible work that Alice Hilner and Laurie Coulter do at Central High School. As LMPs in the library, they work daily with students to help them feel safe, secure, and valued. They help them navigate technology issues, find the exact right book, and feel connected to our school community. Both of these individuals also support the work of our teaching staff in unseen ways, ways necessary for the seamless transition from summer to fall, one semester to another semester, and then back to summer again. Our library media center is a busy, happy, wonderful place that could not run smoothly without them. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with both of them on a daily basis. - Larissa V.

I am so fortunate to be both a parent and a staff member at TCAPS Montessori.  My son is a third grade student in Mrs. Stricker’s class.  Every day he wakes up knowing that he is going to have a message from Mrs. Stricker or from her classroom assistant Mrs. McKean. This is a tough time for everyone but for my kid, Mrs. Sticker and Mrs. McKean are giving my son a sense of normalcy. They are commenting on his assignments, reminding him of due dates, reading books to him and hosting google meets where he gets to see all of his friends. Thank you for all of the work and effort you are putting in to keep these kids feeling safe and “normal” - Liz Y.

So many wonderful staff members to thank at WSH and we appreciate all that you do! We would like to extend a special thank you to Jen Nowak (Admin. Assistant) in the Sparta office at WSH. Jen is a constant ray of sunshine at West and our girls adore her! Anyone who enters her office or comes in contact with Jen, feels welcome. No matter what Jen has on her plate, she’s never too busy to take the time. Jen has helped mold many lives at West...making a lasting impact on students, some who didn’t have another support system. Thank you for your dedication to our kids, your sweet voice on the other end of the phone and your kind heart! Love- A very appreciative WSH family

My twin boys are a handful and this teaching is very new to me but my boys’ school teachers have helped all three of us oodles. Ms. Pfost (Traverse Heights Elementary School) has gone above and beyond and my husband and I are so thankful for her. Ms. Jess has reached out many times and helps me keep my sanity. Mrs. Mapes reads to my boys, they love library and she is always a friendly face to see. Mr. Schrock is ever present and always brings a bit of normalcy for my guys. My family is so thankful for all these teachers and things they do. My boys’ faces light up when they hear and see their teachers. They make my life oodles easier. Thank you - thank you - thank you!!!  You folks are AWESOME! - the Kuklas

We say this in our building a lot but I feel that all of TCAPS should know how amazing Kate Burwinkel is at Long Lake Elementary. She has built a school community based on kindness, high expectations and social/emotional supports.  She is hands on and involved in all of our classrooms. Her organizational skills are amazing and have made this transition to virtual teaching so much smoother than it could have been. She consistently goes over and above for her students and her staff. We are so lucky to have her as our leader!  Sincerely, Jackie S.-H. 

I would like to thank Mrs. Stephany Peplinski at Willow Hill! We have had the privilege of having her as a teacher for our older son in the past and now again this year. We have twins in her class and she has been so great with really figuring out each of their strengths and helping them succeed. She has been awesome at engaging a class of excited 2nd graders in Google Class meets and has made this transition to online learning a lot easier.Thanks Mrs. Peplinski!!  You’re awesome!! Thank you!! - Stephanie L. (parent of 4 TCAPS students)

During this unprecedented time where our kids are still trying to figure out how to handle being home schooled and away from their "school families", the teachers and TCAPS staff have really gone above and beyond to make this transition as manageable and hopeful as possible. Mr. Kramer at Westwoods Elementary has been a positive and happy influence with the kids of his first grade class since the beginning and despite not having the kids in class, his presence and light in my son's schooling is still as bright as ever! My son loves getting to "see" Mr. Kramer and his classmates every week and tells me about all the things he wants to tell Mr. Kramer about the next time they chat. He's even taken up a button up shirt and tie to "look just like Mr. Kramer" Thank you, Mr. Kramer for being a positive role model this year and especially now. Our daughter is in middle school at WMS (blue team) and her teachers have been wonderful at accommodating the expanded virtual learning and keeping her interested in her school work, even during all that's going on in our world. Mrs. Botkin, Ms. Teachout, Mr. Schrotenboer, Mrs. Lyman, Mrs. Steele, Ms. Peoples, Ms. Jones and Mr. Tester have done all they can to make this an easier transition for us parents to try and fill their shoes for now. We appreciate all their hard work and the effort they've dedicated to our kids. I was in awe of their skills and ambition before all this happened, but I feel like they are even bigger role models to our kids for being the calm, consistent presence in this storm. Thank you! - Anonymous 

I would like to thank the staff at Traverse Heights.They have always been so friendly and helpful and this epidemic seems to only have strengthened these characteristics! And a huge shout out to Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Pfost for being such a delight in my boys' lives. You make learning fun and you both have made the transition to schooling at home easier than I could have hoped. My two sons not only are excited to do their school work, but are always excited to see their teachers on their Google meetings. I can't thank you both enough for all of the love you put into your work, and all of the patience you have for teaching us parents too! We love you! - Sheila and the Boyer gang

We want to thank Mr. Steele and the entire Westwoods staff for the excellent education they have given our son over the years. Fifth grade is a special time in a student's life, and although the current fifth graders are not able to enjoy the traditional coming of age experiences Westwoods offers, we are still grateful for the time they did have in school. We know our son is prepared for middle school since Mr. Steele has been working all year to prepare them for their next step. Mr. Steele has made learning fun; and we have enjoyed our son's dinner time stories about Steele Bucks, guitar playing and the "roasting" he does all in good fun. We feel confident our son will continue to thrive due to Westwoods and the exceptional education he has received. You are appreciated! -The O'Brien's

Margo Sirrine (West Middle School) came out of retirement to do a long term substitute position for a maternity leave for the second half of this year. (After a long teaching career with TCAPS, Margo had been retired for a year, and a half.) Little did we know that Covid-19 would strike. Margo has quickly adapted to her new circumstances. She has learned Google classroom, and Google meets, and other programs to successfully implement online learning for her students. She thoughtfully, and carefully reads her students' work, and leaves them insightful comments. I am particularly thankful that my own daughter gets to have Margo to finish up her 7th grade year. Thank you Margo. You Rock!!!  My middle school daughter also has the rest of my team, the purple team teachers, Mrs. Slaggert, Mrs. Schuba, Mrs. Medler, Mrs. Kane, and Mrs. LaBonte. These ladies are all amazingly professional, hardworking, and caring. I couldn't ask for better teachers for my daughter. Her principal is Mr. Kay, and her guidance counselor is Mrs. K. Baumann. These people are an amazing team. I couldn't ask for better than that.  Thank you all. - Jenn H.  

My older daughter goes to West Senior High. These professionals are hardworking and goal focused individuals. They always push my daughter to reach her best potential. Their expectations, and professionalism are of the highest caliber. Thank you so much, Mrs. Jenkins-Whall, Mr. Clark, Mrs. Clone, Mrs. McKeon-Jacobs, Mrs. Sheeran, Mr. Rosenberg. Thank you.  - Jenn H.   

We wanted to provide a special thank you to Mrs. Stout (Eastern Elementary First Grade) for keeping our son challenged and fostering an environment where he is ALWAYS EXCITED to go to school. From day one, Mrs. Stout has provided a warm, loving, and kind environment, that has resulted in my son looking up to her with such admiration. She has had the ability to challenge all her students at all different levels, keeping the kids engaged as their knowledge just takes off! This has continued as we learn from home, catering to all skill levels, making herself available one on one, and showing grace to us parents with our plates full.  We are very thankful for all that you do! Also, we would like to provide a special thank you to Mrs. Annelin (Eastern Elementary Young-5’s) for providing a very calm environment with our son who seems to be impacted by transitions more sensitively. She has reached out on multiple occasions pre-covid, and even as we learn from home, providing that extra special attention to ensure transitions go smoothly. She has nurtured both him and his classmates where they can really excel in academics to be that much more prepared for Kindergarten next year. Thank you Mrs. Annelin for all that you do and continue to do…I don’t know how you do it!! Judy and Jeff S.

We are so grateful for Ms. Kelly BeVier, preschool teacher at Oak Park. Both of our boys have had the joy of knowing her and currently our youngest is enrolled in her class. Ms. Kelly loves him as if he is family and I can't say enough about how much that means to a parent of a preschooler! Her smile, positivity, incredible patience, and HUGE heart help create a seamless transition for young children who are experiencing school for the first time. Our four-year-old beams every time he talks about Ms. Kelly.  She, along with Ms. Clark and Ms. Cindy, make learning so fun and it is incredibly comforting to know that my children start their school experience LOVING every part of it. Thank you, Ms. Kelly! You are very loved in our home!  - Mindy C.

I want to thank two teachers at Central Grade School who I want to be like "when I grow up;" Steve Balcom and Betty McGrew. Steve, your constant state of calm and sense of humor will be missed at school (and at all future field days). Betty, thank you for your daily kindness towards me and your dedication to my daughter in your student council - you have made an impact and I will not forget it. - Bill C. 

We would like to give a huge shout out to the Eastern Elementary staff team. Our son has had the privilege of having Ms. Edwardson and Mrs. Stout in his time at Eastern, and we have been blessed beyond measure by them. Their positivity and joy of teaching shine through each day. All the Eastern staff members have made our son have an incredible school experience. We feel like a part of a special community at Eastern, and we are grateful for that! With love, The Attwood family

Miss Kelly Bevier (Oak Park) is an absolute treasure. She taught both my children in the TCAPS Oak Park Preschool program and she still has a very special relationship with each of them. Miss Kelly has a knack for making each person feel as if they are the most important person in the world. It's easy to see why both of my kids absolutely love her and completely light up when they talk with her or when they talk about her. I have personally watched her get (and keep) the attention of a room of preschoolers, whether it was in person or virtually...and it was nothing less than magical.  When I would drop my kid off early in the morning...and I had barely had my coffee yet...and I was still a little tired...Miss Kelly was already dancing, singing, and making school the most amazing place in the world for kids.  This momentum was not lost when we moved to virtual learning. She still connects, loves, and takes care of her Oak Park families with that same magic. I cannot say enough kind words about this amazing educator and how grateful we are that she is in our lives. - Danelle B.

Our family would like to show our sincere GRATEFULNESS for our daughters' teachers Ms. Renee Sanders & Ms. Catherine Rossan (& Ms. Wilcox & Ms. Anderson last year!:) We have never been more HAPPY with our decision to CHOOSE TCAPS Courtade after moving to Traverse City. But then, we were blessed with these FIRST-CLASS teachers! Ms. Sanders is so seasoned & connected to all of her pupils, they can't help but love to learn & excel! Ms. Rossan is so patient & kind with all the different personalities in her pre-school classes while engaging them in fun & learning--a truly admirable feat! We really couldn't be more fortunate with our teachers! Our children miss them & their classmates so much in this unprecedented time, but I have to say that these teachers have stepped up to the plate and continue to do a TOP NOTCH JOB (we had no doubts!) with e-learning & trying to stay connected! The way they have adapted to this historical transition to technological learning is commendable in itself! 

We also just want to give a nod to Principal Fetters, the administrative staff (Jean & Norma), extended care staff (Ms. Piatek & Ms. Dansingburg) for helping to keep our children happy & healthy while making our family's life a little easier every day with your organization and SMILES! We love and miss you all! ...and hope to see you soon! The Boysen family

I would like to thank Mrs. Larrea and Mrs. T at TCAPS Montessori. They create such a safe, loving classroom that students thrive and grow in leaps and bounds. My daughter has flourished in their classroom and I am grateful to them for all the time, effort, and love they put into their classroom. Thank you!! - Beth H.

Thank you Central High School! Tonight (May 5th) Mr. Peter Deneen personally delivered a sign for our graduating senior. This exemplifies why you are a top 100 high school in the nation, you always put the kids first.Thank you for all you do every day to help shape these students for the future. Your acts of kindness, great and small, do not go unrecognized or unappreciated. - Jay and Cheryl R.

Thank you to Mrs. Frick (Silver Lake Elementary School) from the bottom of our hearts. In the midst of several family losses and jarring changes to routine, she has been the consistency we needed these last few weeks. She is a welcome presence in our home, providing structure and engaging content in a way that makes it easy for our son to continue learning. I find myself saying "I love Mrs. Frick" quite often lately and while I know she is also dealing with work/life balance adjustments as a Silver Lake parent, I hope she finds comfort that she is really helping mine. Love, The Moores

Mrs. King (Central High School), Honors Chemistry: you are doing an amazing job keeping students engaged from home, not an easy feat! Your videos capturing your instruction (and cats!) have been a topic of conversation in our house multiple times in the last few weeks. In fact, I’ve been asked to join “class” a few times just so I can check out your videos. Something about that personal touch and laid back approach to discussing concepts is really working well - and this is one of the few classes where our son’s grades aren’t slipping. Please keep up the great work, we are so impressed with how you’ve approached this whole virtual learning challenge! Becky K.

We have been fortunate to have Ms. Weston for both of our children at Willow Hill. Her compassion and love for children shines through in person and virtually! We appreciate the entire Willow Hill 1st grade team for maintaining relationships and continued learning immediately when schools closed. Mrs. Sides-McKay has continued morning announcements, which shows how much she cares. Gratitude for all at Willow Hill! Go Falcons! - Stacey P.

Mrs. McDonough and Mrs. Wolfert (Central Grade School) have kept their kids learning since the very first day of school closure. I especially would like to thank them for allowing me grace, as my own transition to online learning was less than smooth! They were patient and kind when responding to my millions of questions. When hearing of the official end of in-school learning, [my son] said "This was the worst year for this to happen; I was still getting to know my new classmates and teachers." Thank you for your devotion to your students, regardless of the classroom setting! Sarah C.

We are very blessed to have such a wonderful TCAPS staff teaching our son at West Senior High. The transition to on-line learning has gone smoothly with the continued hard work and communication from our son’s teachers. Thank you, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Marrow, Mrs. Sheeran, Mrs. Brisbois, Ms. Campbell and Mr. McDonald. [Our son] is engaged every day in his continued learning from home. My husband and I truly value all of your time, effort and support. Thank you, Mr. Kolbusz and Mrs. Nowak for helping things run smoothly and providing office support throughout the school year.  And lastly, thank you, Thomas Ford for all the guidance and support with scheduling and helping [our son] to set off on the best academic path for him. We also have a son at TCAPS West Middle School and are so grateful for Mrs. Lyman, Mr. Schrotenboer, Mrs. Botkin, Mrs. Jones, Mr Downer, Mrs. Steele, and Mrs. Schoolmaster, as you made [our son’s] elementary to middle school transition go so smoothly. You all academically push him, keep him interested and engaged in his learning as well. Mrs. Stuedemann, Mrs. Hartel and Mrs. Perthes, you guys form an amazing team of support in the office. We thank you for all you do every day to help foster such a positive middle school experience!  We so greatly appreciate each one of you! Katie and Matt M.

We want to thank the tremendous staff at Glenn Loomis, especially Miss Krissy, Miss Marge, Miss Shelly, and all of the other members of the mixed-ages toddler room team, as well as Mrs. Olson. Thank you for loving, supporting, and encouraging our daughters while they are in your care. Our little girls love going to school and miss you all very much. Our family could not have asked for a better introduction to school for our girls. Thank you for all that you do for our littlest learners.  Love, The Hanley Family

Mr. Plum (Cherry Knoll Elementary) - THANK YOU!!! You have been a tremendous influence on our daughter this year. We greatly appreciate the level of responsibility and sense of independence you instill upon your class. Sixth grade is a huge leap from fifth and the methods you use we feel are phenomenal in preparing them for that jump. We are also very grateful for your smooth transition into remote learning from the very first day school was out. We couldn't imagine having to teach an entire class in each of their homes from your home but you are killin' it! Thank you so much!!! - The Wares Family

A special thank you Mrs. Olvey at Central Grade School. Mrs. Olvey has demonstrated such wonderful support and dedication with our daughter’s more challenging subjects. We appreciate all her help this year! Thank you, Rob and Stephanie E.

I would like to thank the entire staff at West Middle School for how wonderful they have been to my son all three years he has attended. You all have helped him grow and be ready to move on to the high school next year. There have been so many teachers that have played a part in this. However, this year Mrs. Walters, Mrs. LaBonte, Ms. Donahue, Mrs. Wares, Mrs. Rundio and Mr. Livengood deserve many kudos for all their time and hard work especially switching over seamlessly to online learning. You all have done an amazing job and we are very thankful for all of you! All that you do as a team has not gone unnoticed or without gratitude!  -The DuBois family

We want to share our thanks for Ms. Sarah Hartwig, preschool at Central Grade School. We love the open, loving, and caring learning environment she has created for her students. Our daughter loves Ms. Sarah and Ms. Deb, and we are thankful she had such a loving introduction to her schooling. - anonymous preschool family

Our family appreciates Mrs. Deplaunty, at Westwoods Elementary. She has helped our son tremendously, not only with important educational skills.. but also life skills. She has kindly and patiently taught him how to keep better track of his responsibilities, including his time management and his socializing. During conferences it is so nice to hear how she truly appreciates our son's personality and how she feels connected to him and appreciates his positive attributes. She is able to run her classroom structured enough, with that kindness mixed in perfectly- that our son has a lot of respect for her and tries to continue to do better. The Shuff family

We'd like to thank our children's teachers at Glenn Loomis Montessori for their care and energy during these times when they themselves have children to care for at home as well. Mrs. Rucker and Mrs. Tank are carefully and kindly walking their students through remote learning. They have peppered each class meet with humor, normalcy, and the gift of being present. Mrs. Olson and Mrs. Getchel are miraculously keeping primary-aged kids engaged in remote learning in the simplest, most age-appropriate ways possible. We especially appreciate Mrs. Olson's songs, her children helping with her videos, and her dog being silly. The other adults and educators that have joined class meets do not go unnoticed or unappreciated by us either! Thank you for being there. -The Colton family

I would like to recognize Kristen Abner at Eastern Elementary for the commitment she has shown to students. She provides academic support to many students, and she also started a soccer club for any interested student. She and her kids have even posted a few soccer videos to the Eastern Facebook page since schools were closed. I'd also like to recognize the amazing specials teachers at Eastern for how they have continued to connect with kids during this time. Heather Asiala, Anna Culik, Wendy Richmond, Carrie Bui and Stephanie Brazee are incredible educators and people. - From Jill J.

We would like to thank Mrs. Barnes and Mr. Stewart from primary and Miss Shelly Sissen Burden, Miss Krissy, and Miss Margi from Toddler room at Montessori Glenn Loomis. All of these teachers have shown our kids compassion, guidance, patience, and have been exemplary role models of the peace curriculum. As parents with young children just entering the school system, they have all kindly helped us navigate the new adventures of this process. We are so thankful for every day our kids get to spend with them and couldn't be happier with Glenn Loomis. Love, The Loomis Family

Tanya Hendges (2nd Courtade): I am so glad you are my teacher. You are the best teacher in the world. Thank you for making learning fun for our class. I miss seeing you every day! -Zachary W.

Kristen Schoonover (kindergarten Courtade): I love you being my teacher. Thank you for teaching  me. Because you are my teacher I can now read, write and most of all love you. -Rebecca W.

Lynn Freeman and Ms. Schlimmer  (pre K Courtade): You’re my best teachers. You make me happy. Thank you for letting me play with friends, learning in a fun way, letting me sleep in class and most of all being my teachers! -Samantha W.

We just moved here last September, so this was our first year in TCAPS. I am so pleased with all of the staff at Courtade Elementary! Everyone there is so friendly, welcoming and connects really well with the youngsters there. Thank you so much for making a great transition our first year here! We love and miss you all! Whitney W. (parent of 3 at Courtade)

We would like to give a big shout out to our Duct Tape/Gray Teammates Tanya Donahue and Jennifer Rundio (West Middle School). We are a teaching team of 4, and these two are our “Nuts and Bolts”. They both work around the clock trying to create the dynamic lessons, grading every detail, producing fun team activities, generating communication to parents/students, etc. The list goes on. We are so proud to work with these two fine people. Their hearts are always in the right spot and they care a great deal. Our joke is that “these two make us look good”, well it's no joke!!!  We would like to thank these two kind souls for all they do for kids and their co-workers!!  - Heather Wares & Mike Livengood

Staff Appreciation Week Day 3: Preparing Students for What’s Next

We have 9 grandchildren in the TCAPS school system and want to express our gratitude to all their teachers, counselors and coaches for giving them not only important knowledge but the importance they play in today’s world.....honesty, responsibility, respect for others, determination, sense of self-worth, extending themselves to others, pride in what they do, love of their family and friends and appreciation for how lucky they are to live in Traverse City and have the incredible opportunities from which to take advantage. We are so blessed that all of you play such an important part in their lives. Thank you. From the grandparents of 9 TCAPS students

It's tough to clearly articulate our family's gratitude and appreciation for Mr. Cooper at Eastern Elementary. From the very first day of school in September, our daughter has come home each day, thriving, oftentimes with a new story or interesting fact that she learned at school. The words "Mr. Cooper told us..." were common and there have been several times when we've learned something new as well! Our daughter was heartbroken to hear that in-person school had been canceled for the rest of the school year because, in her words, she "would miss Mr. Cooper too much." But it's no surprise that his virtual learning plan is pretty much the next best thing! He has truly gone above and beyond with his careful planning and organized delivery. The fact that she gets daily math and language arts video lessons from Mr. Cooper is a huge benefit in making our daughter feel like she's still at school with him. And we appreciate how it's so clearly organized and easy to follow, so she's able to jump in to her daily routine without hesitation. In this new normal, Mr. Cooper shares his time freely and is genuinely invested in our daughter's interests and activities. Sharing an email or a video chat with him has become something for her to look forward to and we've always been able to get a hold of him when we've had a question ourselves. Many of us have had that one teacher who made a lasting impact on our lives, and we're so grateful that Mr. Cooper has become this person for our daughter. Thank you! - The Beery family

Thank you Mrs. Wohlfert (Central Grade School), for showering my son with kindness and understanding everyday. Your true love for children is evident in your presence and your smile. You are a Gem! Your efforts to, “Help my son get ready for middle school,” don’t go unnoticed, I invite you to continue your efforts in our home, anytime! (Help!). We love and appreciate you!  Jana D.

Meghan Morgan 5th Grade, Willow Hill: I did not think it would be possible to win the teacher lottery two years in a row, but we absolutely did with my daughter’s teacher last year (Mary Jane Collins) and this year, with Meghan Morgan. Meghan is the epitome of what a teacher should be. It is obvious that she has a passion for teaching and is doing exactly what she is meant to be doing. Not only is she a wonderful teacher, but she is an amazing person. She is always going above and beyond. She takes the time to connect with her students and families on a personal level, and really gets to know them. She works tirelessly to understand her students’ academic needs, and give them exactly what they need to be successful not only in school, but in life. I am incredibly grateful for the extra time, love and care she has taken with my daughter. Meghan has helped my daughter grow into a more confident student and person. I will be forever grateful for the positive impact she has had on my daughter’s life. Thank you for all you do, Meghan!  - Lauren C.

I would like to thank Mr. Mielens at Traverse City West Senior High for the incredible effort he put into the band program this year. We so enjoyed the fabulous Perseverance Marching Band performances, and the Winter concerts were some of the best we have ever experienced. It is amazing what our students can accomplish with the right motivation and leadership. We were so excited for the program that was lined up for the Spring concerts, and for the annual Jazz Band Spring Swing, and I can't tell you how disappointed we all were that these events had to be cancelled, along with so many other events. Our daughter rediscovered her love of band this year, as a direct result of Mr. Mielens' efforts - the challenging music, the expectations for hard work and dedication, and the satisfaction from being a part of an ensemble that can produce such beautiful music together. She is even talking about continuing to play music in college next year, which is a major turn around from her views at the start of the school year. Thank you! - Mike F.

Thank you to Kim Fleming, Central High School guidance counselor. She is always available and helpful, and she provides clear, practical, and honest information. Her support and encouragement for our son has been priceless and has made a huge difference in his life. - Janice C.

We would like to take a moment and share our deep gratitude for Mrs. Michelle Charland at Westwoods Elementary School. She is an exceptional teacher who has worked hard at building relationships with her students to promote a safe and supportive learning environment. When we were in the "traditional school setting" our son thrived in her classroom and loved coming to school. The positive classroom culture Mrs. Charland cultivated was critical in supporting student's as they transitioned to a remote learning platform. Our son still looks forward to his weekly google meets with Mrs. Charland and his friends. Thank you for all you do Mrs. Charland. We appreciate you. -The Laurent Family

Becky Huggard Resource Room, Willow Hill: As if we weren’t lucky enough for my daughter to have an amazing home room teacher (Meghan Morgan), but she also ended up with the best resource room teacher, Becky Huggard. Becky is one of the nicest people I have met, and is really great at what she does. She is always eager to communicate and make sure her students are being supported in the best way possible to meet their needs. My daughter has grown leaps and bounds with her support. It is a wonderful feeling, as a parent, knowing that your child is not only receiving the best academic support, but also that they are loved and cared for. Becky has helped my daughter become more confident and to self-advocate, which are invaluable lifelong skills. Thank you for all that you do, Becky! - Lauren C.

Mr. Ludka from Central High School is a top notch, engaging and informative AP US History teacher and has provided students with a wonderful background in history while also preparing them for the structure of their AP exams this week.  - Judy A., TCAPS parent

Melissa Brooke - East Middle School: Ms. Brooke really understands her students. She creates fun, engaging activities for them to learn all about science. She helped make the transition to middle school an easy process for our daughter. As parents, we appreciate her openness and welcoming attitude as well. Thank you so much, Ms. Brooke! - Shannon C.

A big thank you to Lisa Johnson for her work to get AP Environmental Science at CHS. Our son has loved this class and now knows for sure that this is what he'd like to study in college. Starting a new class from scratch can't be easy, so we appreciate all the extra time and effort spent to create this opportunity. - Chris and Ali S.

Mrs. Michelle Brown (Long Lake Elementary School): Great teachers love with all their hearts and they have the biggest desires to make the happiest and most successful students. They want to make the world a better place, one student at a time. We are so grateful to have you as [our daughter’s] 2nd grade teacher. You made such a difference in her life. Whenever something exciting happens outside of school, she always says, "I can't wait to tell Mrs. Brown about this". We appreciate how patient you are with her and the help you have provided us in determining the best decisions for her and her education. Thank you for bringing out the best in her!  Chris and Marissa M.

We would love to share our heartfelt appreciation for Mrs. McKellar at Cherry Knoll Elementary. She has been a rock of consistency, kindness and love to our kindergartener throughout this school year. She is creative in pursuit of learning and is dedicated to helping her students find success. On top of that, she has worked tirelessly to continue providing her students with learning opportunities during this time of online learning. Mrs. McKellar has gone above and beyond and we will forever be grateful for the positive impact she's made on our son's life. Additionally, we'd like to thank Mrs. Mansfield & Ms. Gowen for joining in on class meetings and providing fun activities during this time and all CK staff who have created such a loving and supportive community that we are proud to be a part of!  Paw Pride! - Teri M.

I would like to thank Mrs. Megan Morgan at Willow Hill Elementary. She has gone above and beyond as a teacher not only during these unprecedented times of online learning, but all year long. She has truly gotten to know our daughter and is very invested in making sure she gets the best education possible during her 5th grade year through all of her interactions both in person and now online. I feel so fortunate that we have gotten to have her as a teacher for our daughter. Thank you Mrs. Morgan! You’re amazing!!! Thank you!! - Stephanie L. (parent of 4 TCAPS students)

We are so thankful for our children's teachers, Mrs.Stout (1st grade at Eastern) and Ms. Julie and Mrs. Brasington (pre-K at Eastern). Our son and daughter love going to school and miss their teachers very much right now! You know the teachers were doing something right if the kids are wishing they were back in school- both during the pandemic and during the school year! Having a 1st grader who jumps out of bed in the AM and LOVES going to school is so wonderful! He can't wait to go back! Our daughter is thrilled to start K at Eastern and her love for school has also been lovingly fostered by her pre-K teachers.  They all go above and beyond and we appreciate them so much!  Love from the Howe Family

Mr. Culver (Silver Lake Elementary School) is always an awesome teacher, both of my kids have had him and love him. I want to give him a special shout out for how amazingly well he has handled the transition to online learning - he makes it look easy although I know it's not! We are so glad to have his support during this time, he's been an absolute rockstar (as always). - Sam C.

We would like to recognize Ms. Houston at Silver Lake Elementary. Our [son] had Ms. Houston for both second and third grade. The growth we have seen out of him as a person, a leader, and a student is a strong reflection of her ability to connect with her students one-on-one and encourage them to strive for more! She has found ways to allow his abilities to shine and to work through his struggles without him getting discouraged. He looks forward to his weekly meetings and always has such pleasant things to say about how great she is as a teacher. She knows just who to sit him by, who to pair him with, and what is going to get him where he needs to be academically. We could not be more thankful that she is his teacher! Thank you Ms. Houston, you’ve made a huge impact on [our son], one he won’t forget! - Hillary B. and family

I want to give a huge thank you and appreciation to Megan Niezgoda (Long Lake Elementary School), and Jaime Cullen (Blair Elementary School), for helping me get my Google Meet account up and running. I truly appreciate you both! I also want to thank Mr. Dumon and Mr. Durbin at WSH for helping my daughter get ready for her AP tests. All your hard work is truly appreciated! Thank you! - Shawna Walton-Silver Lake

[My son] wants to say “thank you to Mrs. Bee (1st grade Cherry Knoll). She always helps me with my work and she is very nice. She is my best teacher!” - David W.

We would like to give a HUGE thank you to Mrs. Stephanie Jackson at Central Grade School.  [Our daughter] loves Mrs. Jackson, she has demonstrated such kindness, dedication and a love of learning. We cannot thank her enough for all her guidance especially during our remote learning! Kudos!! Thank you, Rob and Stephanie E.

Kelly Botkin (WMS) has had a wonderfully positive influence on my son this year. I believe it is her first year at West Middle School, but you would never know it! She goes out of her way to build relationships with her students and my son enjoyed her class. She was also very supportive when we switched to online learning. My son had a difficult start, but just chatting with her on the computer settled his nerves. I just want to send her a huge Thank You!- Lisa G.

When schools closed due to COVID-19, Mrs. Fehrenbach at West Middle School immediately began looking into how to teach her students effectively on-line. She was able to engage with her classes without skipping a beat and keep them on track just as she had been doing face-to-face in the classroom.  - Judy A., TCAPS parent

We want to thank the whole staff at Traverse Heights Elementary School. Everyone has taken part in our grandson with all of his challenges from officer Schrock, Mrs. Ford, teachers, helpers, and counselors. I'm sorry if I missed anyone but this staff has went above and beyond. Thank you Mrs. Kay, Mrs. Lautner and Mrs. Gerlando. We as grandparents raising our grandson don't know what we would do without you in the new schooling all of the dejojos emails and phone calls. We thank you Mrs. Kay and Mrs. Lautner.  - Carl and Rene' E. 

Mrs. Amy Six-King (West Middle School): I want to thank this woman, she is an amazing teacher and in 7 years the first teacher that I feel truly cares about my child. She truly has went above and beyond.  She even sent her a postcard through this time with the best message on it. “The best way out is through” she is an amazing human/teacher. Thank you, Ashley S.

Thank you principals Terry Smith and Brian Kay, Counselor Kathryn Baumann, and teachers at West Middle School. I thought I was super impressed with our daughter's transition into middle school last year, but now that we have another full year in, we now really know that you all for real! Whether she is at school or doing our new virtual-school thing, your staff and teachers never miss a beat. Well done, we look forward to year-three for one daughter and the beginning of middle school for another. Mrs. Hart, Mr. Medler, Mr. Downer, Mr. Mielens, Ms. Kane, Mrs. Medler, Mrs. Slaggert, Mr. Baumann, and Ms. Jones - you all rock!  - Julie and Bill C.

Thank you to the incredible teachers, staff, administrators, coaches and custodians at West High School for all you do day in and day out for our kids.  We look forward to seeing you back at school in the fall! - Deyar J.

We have had the pleasure of being one of the welcoming families for Mrs. Gilpin's first year of teaching at Willow Hill Elementary. We had no idea what to expect of first grade when the school year started but we knew immediately after meeting her that our daughter would be in for a treat! Mrs. Gilpin seemed equally as excited and nervous as our daughter at the start of the school year and it made for an authentic classroom dynamic. I saw Mrs. Gilpin in action many times this school year as I volunteered for various school events and it was always so refreshing to see an educator be able to adapt to all of those little (and some big) personalities in the classroom. With the onset of school closures, Mrs. Gilpin, along with the other first grade staff at Willow Hill, stepped up and adjusted all of their curriculums to adapt to a learning experience for all our first graders for the last few months of school. Even though our daughter isn't seeing Mrs. Gilpin face to face , we know for sure that Mrs. Gilpin is there for her when she needs her. I said it last year and I'll say it again, our family couldn't be happier to be a part of the Willow Hill community! Go Falcons! - The Luta family

My son is a 7th grade student at West Middle School, part of the Orange Team. The first thing I appreciate from all of his team teachers is the level of direct and clear communication that has been part of his experience from day one. It has remained clear, direct, and focused through this recent turn of events. He is never caught unaware, always understands the expectations, and sees what he has to do to be successful. The second thing I value about them is that they have held him accountable for his own learning: he is resourceful, doesn't need a ton of reminders, and cares about his work. Each of these individuals, Amy SixKing, Bonny Bable, Anne Sommerville, and MaryBeth Schmitt have earned and continue to earn my appreciation for doing this incredibly difficult job. It is middle school after all...I really cannot imagine! - Larissa V. (parent of a WMS student)

Thank you so much Mrs. Wohlfert, Mrs. McDonough, Mrs. Cole, and Mrs. Clark at Central Grade School. Our daughter has grown tremendously in your classes these past few years - you have made a HUGE difference in our lives that will last forever. We will never be able to truly thank you and will miss Central Grade School a bunch. Art Teacher Mrs. Pulliam, Librarian Mrs. Schrock, Music Teacher Mr. Vipond, PE teachers Mr. Rucker/Ms. Grahl, and principal Mr. Tisdale -  you all are the best too - THANK YOU! - Julie and Bill C.

Thanks so much to the 8th grade staff at West Middle School! Even when faced with a huge challenge, they have stepped up and done a great job. The work loads have been realistic and they have made themselves very available to support our son. Thanks so much to Jenifer Witt, Matt Medler, Mike Tester, Lisa Peoples, Jill Warren, and Jeff Swanson for being a positive light during this tough time. -Erika and Craig O.

Thank you to Mrs. OBranovic from Blair Elementary. My son thinks the world of her. She has been doing so awesome transitioning into online learning. She really shows that she cares about her students and I appreciate that so much. We are so glad to have such an awesome teacher during this difficult time! Thank you to Mrs. Morgan for being an amazing principal. We really enjoy watching her morning updates on Facebook live. And thank you to the lunch ladies at Blair who hand out lunches during this time! - Tamara B.

We can not thank Dan O'Berski (West Senior High School) enough for his amazing ways of connecting with ALL students. Although he has to follow rules/regulations of the school, his ability to know that sometimes "kids will be kids" he also keeps that in mind. He is one of the most realistic, caring, supportive, people we know and we can not THANK him enough! We are proud of our graduating senior this year, however, without the support of Mr. O'Berski (and Mindy Wilkening: secretary) we might not be in the place we are! We appreciate you both! Love, Sandy and Darek B. family 

Our son is a student at Eastern Elementary and we would like to show our appreciation for Mrs. Radakovich. We are beyond grateful to have Mrs. Radakovich as our son’s first grade teacher this year at Eastern Elementary. Her inclusive nature and kindness has created a warm & welcoming classroom environment and she has the superwoman ability to make each and every student feel special, even in this remote environment.  Thank you for the positive you have made on our son!  - Love, the Armbruster Family

Thank you Mrs. Kylee Katt at Central Grade School. You have made a big difference in our son's learning techniques/strategies, so he can be the best student. We appreciate all your help and support during this time! Thank you, Rob and Stephanie E. 

I appreciate all that Ms. Chelsea Gilpin (Willow Hill) has done for [my daughter] this school year, even before remote learning began. I would like to thank her, as well as Mrs. Wolf and Ms. Weston, for their work in providing online lessons to the first-graders, which I know is no easy feat. Also, I would like to thank Ms. Gilpin for meeting with the students in small groups, giving my daughter an opportunity to talk with her and some of her classmates. Thank you! -  Kris V.

LONG LAKE: Danielle Oster (4th grade) single-handedly, in one Google Meet, got my kid to click back into school mode; he now does his assigned work first thing in the morning--no asking required. Melissa Morrice (2/3 split) checks in once a week with each of her students individually to ask what they are doing and make sure they are all okay, and she posts a clear, concise learning plan that an 8 year old can maneuver without assistance. These two have been empathetic, clear, reasonable, and, above all, dedicated to my kids' learning. I know that the entire Long Lake community has worked tirelessly for their students' transition. From the beginning roll out of lunch distribution to the new learning plans to the retrieval of student belongings, the entire community has been a touchstone of support and consistency in what may have been a tumultuous time. They are invaluable. Thank you, all of you. - Larissa V. (Parent of two LL students)

I am so thankful that my son has Katherine Brege (Central High School) for Algebra II! She puts so much work into helping her students understand the concepts all year. Then when the schools were shut down she developed great easy to follow lesson plans, note guides and assignments. TCAPS and all her students should be so thankful that she is one of their teachers!!! I know we are! - From Nancy E.

Our family would like to give Mrs. Morgan at Willow Hill a HUGE shout out for being such an amazing fifth grade teacher to our daughter. Her communication is thorough and timely. She cares deeply about her class and their well-being and has gone above and beyond during these homeschooling times to make sure every student is doing OK and feeling connected. She puts in extra effort with everything she does. It has not gone unnoticed one bit. Our daughter and our family will miss you like crazy next year, Mrs. Morgan! Love, The Adamczaks

A heartfelt thank you to Mrs. Simons at Central Grade School. She has such a wonderful and fun way of teaching our young children. [Our son] is blessed to have her as his teacher for first grade. A special thanks for all your help and guidance with remote learning! - Thank you Rob and Stephanie E.

Shout out to Kim Kelderhouse (East Middle School) who was new to TCAPS this year.  [My daughter] is in super star math teacher, Jody Murphy’s co-taught 6th grade class with Mrs.K. This duo has been a game changer for my daughter’s attitude toward math and has increased her confidence in this subject. She is a leader in the class. The combined energy, knowledge and teaching style of this awesome duo is 5-star. Thanks for all you do! - Scott & Laurie H.

I want to say thank you to the 4th and 5th grade teachers at Cherry Knoll Elementary. Especially Mrs. Vujea, Mrs. Westerman and Mr. Plum. They have worked over and beyond what they needed to teach my son. I love hearing all the great lessons and connections that they make with him. Thank you, The Rassel Family

Staff Appreciation Week Day 2: Making Learning Fun

Hi Mr. Lesinski (Central Grade School), we would like to thank you for all your hard work that you have put into our daughter’s education. The caring and thoughtfulness that we see from you in the classroom and now to the online learning/teaching. We also appreciate your contribution to her “Dad joke” repertoire.  It’s nice to have a teacher who we know has our daughter's best interests at heart, and is another source of strength for her when things get difficult to deal with as far as school and her social life are concerned. We appreciate you. Tiffany and Mike P.

Mrs. Dall’Olmo (Central Grade School) has been a blessing to our daughter. She makes learning fun for the kids by being positive and encouraging each day. She truly cares about the success of her students and it shows! We appreciate all you have done for [our daughter] this year, she has improved so much! - From the Melville’s

We want to send a big shout out to the teachers at Blair and how amazing they have been to work with during these crazy times. Especially our children's teachers, Ms. Engle, Ms. Van Hammen, Mrs. Ross, Mrs. Stegmeyer and Mrs. Seguin whom are always communicating with us and doing a great job with keeping the kids excited to work. Love, The Dean Family

You can't find more enthusiasm for math than with Ms. Howard at Central High School. She engages effectively with her students, makes math class fun, and coordinates "coffee hours'' during exam weeks for group study time for math or other classes. She also shows her support for her students outside of class by attending their athletic events, musicals, and other extracurricular activities. Her exuberance, dedication to teaching, and approach in supporting the whole student is commendable.  - Judy A., TCAPS parent

Amy Harper (Central High School): I cannot say enough wonderful things about this human. She is an amazing teacher and person. Her students are lucky to have her.  She inspires, challenges, tests and makes sure her students become better artists through exploration and practice. I am thrilled that my daughter had Mrs. Harper throughout her 4 years at Central High. - Meagan L.

Both of my children had the privilege of being taught by Mrs. Cole and Mrs. Clark in 5th grade TAG at Central Grade School. These two teachers are first class educators and are strong advocates for the students they teach.  My kids couldn't be more different personality wise, but both teachers catered to and encouraged each of them while in their classes. They understand the desire of these kids to learn and provided them with every opportunity to do so, pushing them just enough to challenge, excite and interest them. Throughout the years spent in their classes my kids were excited to go to school and relish the "what's next..." for them.  I'm upset that this will be our last year with these teachers and it was cut short.  Kudos to you guys for embodying what educators truly are, can't thank you enough for what you did and do for kids at TCAPS.  Audra B.

We would LOVE a huge thank you to Mrs. Sonnemann-Grams and the whole staff at Traverse Heights. We don’t like the new norm but she has made it smooth sailing for all of us. We are so grateful to have you. Thank you! Thank you!! [My son] loves looking forward to his meets and small groups with you! - Shannah H. and son

We would like to recognize Ms. Howey at Silver Lake Elementary. [Our son] has her for first grade and we have been very happy with her as his teacher! She has been a wonderful addition to the Silver Lake family! Ms. Howey is excellent at recognizing the way [our son] learns and always allows him to get his wiggles out or move around in order complete his thought process. We know he learns “uniquely” and are so thankful he has a teacher who encourages him as well as reminds him of the rules! [Our son] is excelling with her as a teacher and we are always so happy to see his smile light up when he talks about learning! Thank you Ms Howey, your ability to adapt to wiggly learners has made [our son ]more confident in his ability to learn! - Hillary B. and family

This year's speech therapy days have been some of my son's favorites at school. He loves learning with Mrs. Orton (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis), and having the one-on-one time to chat, play games, and interact with her. She is approachable, warm, and kind, and consistently explains to us how best to support his speech at home. Mrs Orton continues to connect with him over Google Meet now that school is closed. We are grateful to her and look forward to next year! - Hannah I.

A shout out to bus driver Dennis. According to my son, Dennis always stays calm even when the kids get rowdy. Dennis often has a one liner at the ready. He even brings pretzel snacks for the kids sometimes. My son has appreciated getting to know Dennis during his middle and high school years. - The Lindberg family

I would like to express my appreciation for Ms. Brisbois, Mr. Zenner, Mr. Ranke, Ms. Sheeran and Mr. VanDalson at Traverse City West Senior High. They have truly gone the extra mile all year, and especially in these last 2 months, to keep my daughter motivated and help her be as prepared as possible for her upcoming battery of AP tests. This was obviously not the way any of us wanted her senior year to play out, but we are very grateful for the commitment of these fantastic educators and role models. - Mike F.

We would like to extend our huge thanks to all of the staff at Traverse Heights. This is such a unique time in our lives and you have all gone above and beyond to do what you can to make this all run as smoothly as possible. Not only have you been a huge support to the students, but the parents as well. The amount of communication you have all done has been amazing. I LOVE seeing the looks on the boys’ faces when they get done with a classroom meet and they tell me all the people who joined. When they get excited to see a face they haven't seen in awhile. So thank you Mrs. Sonnemann-Grams for all of your help and encouragement with [my son]. Thank you Mrs. Pfost for staying so present in [my other son’s] life. Thank you for all of your hard work with them, it really means a lot to us. Thank you to ALL of the staff - I would name each of you if I could!! Traverse Heights Strong!!!!! - Stephanie W.

She is a wonderful social studies teacher, but Ms. Rizzo at West Middle School is also a pro at on-line engagement. At the end of a rough first week of online schooling, she organized an on-line quiz game on Kahoot for students and their families to highlight the fun that can be had in on-line learning. - Judy A., TCAPS parent

I can't thank Tammy Lantz (5th grade Long Lake Elementary School) enough for how supportive she's been, even before the schools were closed. She has encouraged our son to try his hardest and also recognizes that he's still growing and learning at his pace. She celebrates his creativity and humor. Tammy works so hard to put together events for her students, even creating a whole Battle of the Books program, complete with Battle and award ceremony, when Long Lake's teams couldn't sign up in time for the official competition. Tammy is invaluable and I can't thank her enough for being a fantastic teacher and human being! - Kristy P.

Kelly Kochney (works with TCAPS IEP): Kelly has always been a ray of sunshine in our son's life since day one. She's positive, works very hard to help each student understand and work with their impairment, and she makes it fun! She's interested in her student's day to day lives, their overall growth, and she recognizes their needs as kids and humans first. We can't thank Kelly enough for everything she does for not just Long Lake, but every school in TCAPS! - Kristy P.

We are so grateful for the year of learning and friendship our daughter has had in second grade at Eastern Elementary. Mandy LaBarre is a selfless, nurturing and dedicated teacher who deeply cares for every single student, including our daughter. She has gone above and beyond to care for the social/emotional well being of each child. [Our daughter] and her peers are so fortunate to have a teacher like Mandy in their lives who shows kindness each and every day. She has done a wonderful job outlining resources and making herself accessible online while maintaining a personal connection. I am fortunate to work with Mandy and enjoy seeing the love her students have for her. She is one of a kind and although we’d love for [our daughter] to still be learning in a classroom setting at Eastern- Mandy hasn’t missed a beat and has made it a very smooth and peaceful transition. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to Mandy LaBarre, Biz Ruskowski and the entire Eastern Elementary staff. With gratitude, Mike and Lindsay A. 

We are so incredibly lucky to have had another amazing teacher at Silver Lake. This year we were thrilled to have Mrs. Kelly Benson as my son's teacher. She has not only challenged him academically but also nurtured his creativity and imagination. Kelly has created a supportive classroom built on kindness. She has high expectations for her students and supports them every step of the way to be their best selves.  When it was decided that we would no longer have face to face instruction, Kelly worked hard to learn new technology and continue to convey her love for her students only now through a computer screen.  When he was struggling, she, without pause, set up a time to meet with him and spent over a half hour building him up, hearing his quarantine activity stories and just connecting with him. His bright smile after they disconnected lasted well into the evening.  I am so grateful for her continued efforts to help her students and support their whole person.  Sincerely, Jackie S.-H.

I want to thank Kaischa Smith from Willow Hill Elementary for her outstanding way of connecting with the kids. She never missed a beat and made sure the students knew she loved them and never left their side through all this. She does a read aloud every day, posts fun, engaging assignments that her dog helps her teach, and makes sure the students connect on an emotional level as well. She is the best teacher for my daughter, and we are so thankful for her and her dedication. Thank you so much Ms. Smith! - Sarah and Brian S.

As mom of a student who is a Senior at Central (High School), I have been truly blown away and impressed with the incredibly good job that teachers have been doing at staying in touch with my student and also providing high-quality instruction.  The online teaching has been, I'm sure, a difficult pivot, but one that my daughter's teachers have made with grace. The dependability of the online classes have been SO meaningful to my daughter. I have noticed that the online classes are something that she looks forward to and comes away from feeling cheerful. They have provided a bedrock of consistency in a changing world for her, and I'm sure for many other students, as well. As my husband and I have enjoyed the unique opportunity to occasionally overhear parts of the online instruction, we have both observed and commented on how truly caring the teachers are (really checking in with students about how they're doing emotionally), how clear their expectations about assignments are (making it clear that education is still an important priority), and also how candid they have been about the knowns and unknowns in the current situation ( like the AP tests, commencement, etc.). All of those things, along with their evident passion for teaching their coursework, makes me want to give big shout-outs to Mrs. Johnson, Mrs King, Mrs. Puckett, and Mrs. Shelley-Barnes! I also want to thank everyone who is involved in the post-card writing campaign. I heard some kids talk about getting them during a Zoom get-together and they are loving them!  A fun surprise in the middle of an often boring day. Also, lots of surprises about who they have heard from that seem to be helping them to feel visible and special. Hats off to all of you who are doing that job-perhaps tedious?-but very much appreciated!  Those cards are treasures right now. Thank You so Much - Kate P. 

Staff Appreciation Week Day 1: Learning in New Ways Together

On the first day of this year’s TCAPS Staff Appreciation Week, I would like to thank our incredible team of employees for moving the entire district to remote delivery of instruction, as well as, helping me to personally transition to a virtual office environment in response to the state-mandated school closures. This was a huge endeavor and one that has no doubt contributed to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. While I know it wasn’t easy and we will still have challenges to face, it is a feat worthy of recognition and applause! I would also like to thank the online classrooms I’ve been able to visit the last few weeks for the great conversation and for allowing me to have a window into how our classrooms have transitioned, seemingly overnight, to learning together in a new way. While I did not envision the year ending this way when I started, thanks to this amazing TCAPS team, our community-wide response to the COVID -19 pandemic has been nothing short of impressive. It is because of our strong systems, including systems to hire and retain the best, that we have been able to rise to the occasion and meet the demands of the day. On behalf of the Board of Education and the Executive Team, thank you to each of our employees for stepping up to the challenge and serving our students and community so well! It is an honor to serve alongside you.  - Jim Pavelka, Interim Superintendent of TCAPS

The staff at Blair has been exceptional in helping with [my grandson’s] work and my inexperience with online learning. Ms. Engle and Mr. Simons have been great. Mrs. Morgan and staff have been so helpful. THANK YOU SO MUCH! - Lorna A.

Thank you to specials teachers Mrs. Pulliam, Mr. Vipond, and Mr. Kolanowski for making visits to Central Grade School classes video meetings to highlight the fabulous online resources and activities they are offering to students. They are offering wonderful ways to keep the students engaged in Art, Music, and Gym. Bill Clark's wonderful Bill Nye inspired Earth Day video and Mrs. Shrock's weekly virtual library visits for Central Grade School students have been fabulous.  Mrs. DeMarsh, 2nd grade teacher at Central Grade School, has gone above and beyond to meet her students where they are and help them reach their learning goals in fun and engaging ways.- Judy A., TCAPS parent

Thank you to all the educators at CHS. [Our daughter] has had 4 wonderful years learning and growing as a Trojan. While we are sad that her last months as a senior have not been what we thought they would be...we remain grateful. We have been impressed with how everyone was always eager to go out of their way to help her academically or personally. She is graduating more confident and independent. She is excited for the next chapter in her life. She specifically chose a smaller college because she said she wanted to have close relationships with her teachers the same way she did in high school.  Thank you again!  Chris and Stephanie J.

I am writing in honor of Staff Appreciation Week. My daughter has had an interim choir director since just before and during this difficult time of the pandemic. Mr. Andrew Schafer has truly gone above and beyond in his short time as interim director at TC Central High School. He began weekly Thursday evening Google Meets, long before they were required, to keep the kids engaged and communicating. Along with his now required Google Meet on Mondays, he still continues this original informal chat with the kids, on Thursday evenings.  He has also added a talent show, paper plate awards, and a "March Madness" with choir songs to keep things fun for his students. Every week, the choirs are given multiple academic and choral assignments to maintain and improve their understanding and abilities. I have no doubt that wherever he is hired next year, they will feel lucky,  blessed, and amazed at his capability of relating to these students and at keeping them engaged, even in a time of being apart. This school is very fortunate to have such strong and capable Choral staff in Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Wolf-Schlarf. How amazing to have found another absolutely extraordinary instructor in Mr. Schafer!  Bravo! Shannon E.

Shelly Barnes (Central High School) is a fantastic and passionate teacher. Keeping a teenager’s attention is not easy but Shelly is able to very successfully engage, elevate and teach our children. I’ve always been so appreciative and thankful to have Shelly as a teacher for my daughter but it was a true pleasure to get to hear her on a video call with the class to hear her “in action”. - Meagan L.

Mrs. Puckett (Central High School) has been absolutely wonderful this entire school year (in school and online) as my daughter's Honors Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus teacher. She has checked in many times with her and her class, provided easy to follow directions for assignments/class online, and has made this Spring's online learning as positive as can be. Thank you Mrs. Puckett for all your hard work and extra hours helping the Math Department and TCAPS. I feel very fortunate to have children in TCAPS right now as they are feeling supported and their education is continuing during these difficult times. - Tracy W.

With enormous gratitude and HUGE THANK YOUS to the Teachers and Coaches and Staff. From the beginning of the pandemic, teachers gave their students kindness, sent caring notes, coaches distributed accolades and care packages, and teachers gave clear instructions on what learning would look like for the remainder of the school year. Students were fed. Every day my child is focused on what she has to do academically and meets with her teachers and classmates to learn, to laugh and enjoy the caring community of her classrooms (this was in place prior to the pandemic). TCAPS students are in the best of hands - the commitment to caring for our kids both inside and outside of the classroom is extraordinary. A BIG SHOUT OUT to CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL educators, coaches and staff! You are AMAZING! GO ahead TROJANS accomplish much in the midst of this pandemic! and because of the opportunities and inspiration given to you by the BEST educators, the BEST coaches and the BEST staff - go on and do your BEST, you will accomplish much! You will reach your goals! Much appreciation from a TCAPS parent.

I would love to give my heartfelt thanks to all of our TCAPS (especially Cherry Knoll) staff - you have made the transition from classroom learning to learning in our own homes, seamless. Thank you!! A HUGE thank you to the kitchen staff for working so hard to ensure our kiddos are fed daily. You are seen and appreciated. Thanks to the custodians who are ensuring our schools are disinfected and clean when our kids are finally able to return. Thanks to the bus drivers who made sure to get our kids to school and back home, safely, day after day. Thanks to the office and support staff for doing your jobs as well as so much of the behind the scenes work that I’m sure is happening. Lastly, thank you to the teachers who choose to spend everyday teaching our kids and helping to mold them into great citizens. I think the last 6 weeks have shown parents everywhere how hard you truly work. Thank you for continuing to work hard and making virtual learning possible. You are teaching your students from home and for a lot of you, teaching your own children, too and that is truly amazing. From the bottom of my heart - THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! - Chanda M.

I am so appreciative of the effort, care and bravery of my children’s teachers at Cherry Knoll, Mrs. Marie Willis and Mrs. Kelly Vujea. They have taken time to quickly learn new formats of delivering lessons, developed effective lessons that keep my kids engaged through the week, and have consistently been available for questions and support when we need them. There is bravery in learning something new and then quickly throwing it out there into reality. I want to say they are both doing awesome jobs at their awesome jobs! Thank you so very much! Also thank you to our art and music teachers for creating some fun videos and making appearances during zoom meetings! - Catherine V.

Dear Ms. Freeman (Courtade Elementary School), [my daughter] and I would like to say thank you so much for a great year! I cannot thank you enough for helping [her] succeed as much as she has with her very first year of school. She loved every minute of it. Of course we are sad it was cut short, but we look forward to our weekly meetings with you and Ms. Schlimmer! [My daughter] wants to say thank you for giving her some of her learning things. I will be forever grateful for an amazing first year! Love and well wishes, The Blackmore’s.

We would like to recognize an outstanding teacher and vocal coach, Mrs. Zebell from East Middle School. She has mentored and taught both of my daughters, my [oldest] who graduated in 2011 as a TC Central Choral-Aires, and this year has also made a profound effect on my [younger daughter]. Mrs. Zebell has worked so hard at motivating and promoting each of her student’s individual vocal skills. [Our daughter] has exceeded our expectations! We listen to her practice everyday, and each week hear such hard work. Sadly, during this pandemic, the students didn't get to see or thank their educators in person. [Our daughter] was noticeably sad that she didn't get to say goodbye and wouldn't be seeing Mrs. Zebell next year.  She told us that she will miss her, and shed some tears. She will continue her vocal education journey next year as she begins high school at TC Central High School. Thank you for all your hard work, Mrs. Zebell. We appreciate all that you have done for both of our daughters. - Jim and Angie G.

Our heartfelt thank you to the entire staff of Eastern Elementary including Mrs. Radakovich, Mrs. Ruskowski, Mrs. Jenkins, Mrs. Waskiewicz, Mr. Keith - You encourage, uplift, protect and teach [our son]. He is and will continue to be a better person because of it. We are a food allergy family and have felt safe and informed throughout the years. You are slammin’ it during this difficult time and we especially love talking online with you Mrs. R.  You brighten our days!  XO - The DeSantis Family

We would like to send a most heartfelt thank you to [our son’s] 1st grade teacher Mrs. Ferguson (Eastern Elementary School). She has stayed in touch with [our son] throughout the stay at home order and school closure. Her friendly voice lends comfort to [him] during this difficult time. She also took to the time to call [our son] on his birthday and sing Happy Birthday to him which was so nice. She's doing an outstanding job running the virtual classrooms and, though it's been a tricky endeavor, she's provided a friendly and fun "virtual" environment for the class filled with fun activities. Thanks Mrs Ferguson! - The Talaga Family

I want to give a huge shoutout to my son’s teacher, Kelly DeLonge (Long Lake Elementary School). She has been amazing for him this year in helping him figure out some things. She has been patient, loving and has shown so much grace this year. To add to the mix, she has gone above and beyond with homeschool learning. Checking in to make sure he is happy, meeting at times of need, and helping us navigate some struggles. Kelly, we appreciate you every day, but even more so now! With gratitude, Megan and Eric N.

My daughter's teacher did a talent show on Friday (yesterday). It was the cutest things, from cat training to crafts. Piano playing. Gymnastics. Definitely put a smile on everyone's face. During the talent show one of her students asked if she had a talent. She was caught a little off guard and she showed a trick she taught her dog. It was a needed,fun break for everyone. So glad to have her as my daughter's teacher at this time. Not only has she been there for all her students but for parents as well. Thank you for all you do Mrs. Gorenflo (Long Lake Elementary School)!! - Audrey P.

Thank you to all the amazing staff at Silver Lake for their continued dedication and commitment to our children. We are so thankful to have a strong, supportive team behind our kids! - Hillary B. and family

We have felt SO blessed and appreciative to have absolutely incredible teachers for all of our children at Silver Lake Elementary;  Mrs. Stephanie Maskart, Mrs. Theresa Galante, Ms. Kristen Hull and Mrs. Jen Hetfield. These women have been incredible educators, encouragers, supporters and friends all year, taking special interest in our children’s individual preferences and needs. Their timely, thorough and flexible response to such unique and sudden challenges presented this year has been nothing short of amazing. I truly can’t imagine all they put in and the time, effort and consideration they put forth everyday. They are certainly not unnoticed or unappreciated in our household. I think every parent can now collectively agree that we have been given a unique and wonderful insight to what these teachers contribute to our children’s education and just how valuable they are. Thank you so much for all you do. Seen and unseen, noticed and neglected, appreciated or overlooked. Your efforts will have a lasting impact on children and we are grateful. - Ben and Britni A.

Our family would love to recognize all the hard work, dedication, and selflessness the entire TCAPS staff has exhibited during this time. Our staff has become a rare constant in the world right now-a sure thing our communities children can rely on. They have set up meetings, made friends available for those who need someone to reach out, and stepped up in a way they’d NEVER dreamed they’d be asked to. We are lucky to have such a strong crew of people making a difference and teaching these young minds! Thank you for giving your time, your passion, and your hearts to our children-we see it now more than ever.  - Hillary B. and family

To all the TCAPS Administrators, Teachers, and Staff:  We always knew what phenomenal jobs you have done educating and supporting our students. The school shut down has only confirmed this even more. Our students miss you terribly. They are not embracing their parents as partners in teachers (at least not in my house).  And we all cannot wait for the building doors to open again. - Judy A., TCAPS parent

The custodians everywhere in TCAPS are amazing but I have a special place in my heart for Mary Dezelski and Jim Rucker at TCAPS Montessori. They did an outstanding job distributing materials and computers to our families.  It is a pleasure to be on their team! - Liz. Y

This will be [my son’s] final year in Mrs. Olson's (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis) classroom, and we have three years of true appreciation for her warmth, patience, leadership, and intuition.  Her classroom is a truly special place and we are all grateful to have begun Montessori education with her.  It's strange to be leaving the year from home, but these last weeks have been witness to the incredible work all the district teachers are doing to support students through these strange times.  Thank you. - Hannah I.

The Vogel & Wagner team (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis 5th Grade): Ready, Willing, Able & Insightful. They stay aware of each student's needs and successes and proceed from there. They each care for and about the students, especially in these virtual classroom situations. WELL DONE!! - The Blixbergs

I would like to thank Mr. Schrock and Mrs. Kay, Mrs. Lautner, and Mrs. Ford and all of the team/teachers (Traverse Heights Elementary School) who work with [our grandson]. You all blow this out of the park and all go above and beyond for helping our grandson and making accommodations and taking special care of his needs. Mrs. Kay and Mrs. Lautner have been really helpful in helping Carl and myself in this new normal with online school. Thank you all again for your love and support and being the school that you are. There is no other school that can beat the Traverse Heights Road Runners! Thank you Staff - Sincerely Carl and Rene E. 

As a parent I would like to send a huge thank you to the purple team at WMS, Mr. Brush and Mrs. Kane.  They have worked hard this year and especially during this pandemic to connect with kids.  Thank you for all you do, your hard work doesn't go unnoticed! - The Pomaville Family

Our family would like to thank the 6th grade Blue Team staff for their dedication and hard work this year! [Our son] had an amazing year at WMS and loved going to school everyday. Thank you to Mrs. Lyman for her high expectations of students in her class. Thank you to Mrs. Botkin for her appreciation of choice books and building independent choice reading time into her curriculum. Thank you to Mr. Schrotenboer for his fun style of teaching math. Thank you to Mrs. Steele for making science fun and engaging for all and who our child calls "the nicest person ever". This core group of teachers went above and beyond this year for their students both while they were face to face and now that we are distant learning. We'd also like to thank Mrs. LaBonte for making German fun to learn, Mr. Downer for bringing music to life for kids who have never played an instrument, to Mrs. Schoolmaster for her fun and engaging physical activities she provided in her class and to Mr. Todd Tester for keeping students active through movement. We couldn't have asked for a better first year experience at middle school for our child. From the bottom of our hearts THANK YOU! - Chris and Michelle C.

I would like to give a huge THANK YOU to Miss Thompson. Both of my girls have her as a math teacher at West Senior High, and absolutely enjoy having her. Miss Thompson even went out of her way to send one of my daughters a postcard to congratulate her on a job well done with her test. That truly meant a lot to her...Amazing! - Ellen G.

We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation for all the teachers and staff of Westwoods Elementary, each and everyone has been amazing through all the new challenges we are currently facing. Mrs. Sorenson in particular has done such an amazing job. Thank you for going above and beyond every single day to help students learn in a whole new way, to help coworkers with navigating new teaching strategies and to help parents not want to pull their hair out as they learn too. It isn’t said out loud enough, but do know you are more appreciated than you will ever know! Thank you for all you do! - Westwoods Family

I wanted to share how amazing Mrs. Meghan Morgan is. She truly cares for and loves her students as if they are her own children. She first demonstrated this at the beginning of the school year by getting to know all of her students. Now, she doesn’t just learn a couple of key facts about each child. She goes all in and gives 100% all of the time by really studying them. She finds out who they are and what they love. She discovers how they learn best and how to help them in weak areas. This year is her first year teaching at Willow Hill and she was assigned a 4th/5th split. I initially thought it could be an interesting year due to said split, as [my daughter] is a fifth grader. However, I learned quickly that [my daughter] is extremely blessed to have her as a teacher. From the start of the school year, she studied [my daughter] and quickly learned how competitive [she] is. She also learned that [my daughter], up until that point, was mostly about wanting to have fun and laugh, and less about school. She learned her favorite tv show, favorite character of that tv show, favorite sport, even the sports that she plays but aren’t her favorite. As soon as the school closed for quarantine, Mrs. Morgan had connected with [my daughter] and the rest of the class. She emailed the parents and has had impressive communication skills. Long before online learning officially began, Mrs. Morgan had already conquered that “online hurdle”. She was organized and focused on the children. She makes learning incredibly fun. She goes above and beyond for all of her students because she cares so much. She has the largest heart. I’m so grateful for her. I wish all kids could experience the love and brilliance of Meghan Morgan. Thank you, Suzy B.

Share Your Stories

Staff Appreciation Week is May 4th-8th and we would like to invite you to share your stories about how our dedicated staff makes a difference in the life of your child.

You can share your “thank yous” by emailing or by sending a private message to our External LinkTCAPS Facebook page. We will be compiling responses and sharing them throughout the week as a way to show our deepest gratitude and appreciation for our amazing staff. A little story goes a long way in brightening someone’s day. Thank you in advance for taking the time to recognize our wonderful staff.

May 1, 2020 Message

Staff Appreciation Week is May 4th-8th and I would like to invite you to share your stories about how our dedicated staff make a difference in the life of your child. 

I know firsthand the impact that a “thank you” from a parent can have on a teacher or staff member and the difference that a special acknowledgement can make, particularly during these unprecedented times. In every position I’ve held over my decades-long career, it was the kind words and support during the toughest times that helped to carry me through. I know your appreciation means even more now as we all adjust to new routines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In order to celebrate the hard work of our teachers, food service workers, custodians, bus drivers, administrative assistants, administrators, and support staff, you are invited to share your “thank yous” by emailing or by sending a private message to our External LinkTCAPS Facebook page

The district will be compiling responses and sharing them throughout the week as a way to show our deepest gratitude and appreciation for our amazing staff, perhaps even in new or unexpected ways since COVID-19. A little story goes a long way in brightening someone’s day. Thank you in advance for taking the time to recognize our wonderful staff. 

I’d like to leave you with some words from a school board member in Lancaster, South Carolina named Ken Buck that capture the spirit of the moment and the challenge that our educators have risen to meet.

“We gave educators almost no notice. We asked them to completely redesign what school looks like and in about 24 hours local administrators and teachers "Apollo 13'ed" the problem and fixed it. Kids learning, children being fed, needs being met in the midst of a global crisis.

No state agency did this, no so-called national experts on curriculum. The local educators fixed it in hours. HOURS.

In fact, existing state and federal policies actually created multiple roadblocks. Local schools figured out how to do it around those too. No complaining and no handwringing - just solutions and amazingly clever plans.

Remember that the next time someone tries to convince you that schools are better run by mandates from non-educators. Remember that the next time someone tells you that teachers have it easy or try to persuade you that educators are not among the smartest, most ingenious people in society. And please never say to me again, "Those who can't do anything else just go into teaching."

Get out of the way of a teacher and watch with amazement at what really happens.”

It takes a team, and ours is truly great!

Stay safe and enjoy the sunshine.


Jim Pavelka 
Interim Superintendent
Traverse City Area Public Schools

Staff Appreciation Week - May 6-10, 2019

Each year, the Board of Education celebrates staff by designating the first week of May as Staff Appreciation Week. PDF DocumentView 2019 Board Proclamation

Day 5: Putting Kids First

Special treat: Please take a moment to view the EdTech Loop 83: Staff Appreciation video as staff members share what they appreciate about their coworkers.

As first year parents at Willow Hill, we have been so thrilled about the quality of education and staff at Willow Hill, from the principal, Mrs. Sides-McKay, to their custodian, Alberto. The passion for creating a school culture of quality learning, respect for each other and themselves, and incorporating fun into all of it is apparent in everything that happens at the school. We have been so fortunate to have Mrs. Vance and Mrs. Morgan as our daughter’s teachers this year. They are an amazing team and first rate educators. They are kind and compassionate and always put the kids first. They respect their students and expect the same in return. Our daughter has grown and learned so much this year and she absolutely loves being at Willow Hill. Thank you to everyone who makes this possible for all of us! - Kendra Luta

I would like to recognize David Goodwin (Courtade Elementary School). He has encouraged a safe, respectful, and positive learning environment for our oldest daughter. Not only does he teach the kids math, writing, etc., but also shows the importance of kindness, hard work, and dedication. My daughter is excited to learn and improve. I know that has so much to do with David. He is an excellent educator and we feel blessed that our daughter has him this year! Thank you - K. Watkins

We want to thank Ms. Kelly, Ms. Clark and Ms. Cindy at Oak Park preschool for always going above and beyond. Our son's first year of preschool has been nothing more than amazing. He has learned more than we ever had hoped this year- from engaging field trips, to building robots and teaching independence! Ms. Kelly's passion for early childhood and her patience with children is out of this world! - Jesi Gosney

Mrs. Walter at Westwoods Elementary - you have made such a huge difference in our sweet son’s life! Even at his most difficult moments, you have been able to focus on his good points, and most importantly, you have taught him to do the same for himself. He has grown so much because of you, and we are forever grateful. Thank you also Mr. Tiesworth for you endless patience with him. - Chad and Diana Novak

Cherry Knoll Elementary is a place where students thrive, in part because of staff like Ms. Carrie Donovan and Ms. Kathleen Rieman in preschool, who love the children and give them an exciting environment to learn. Mrs. Kate McKellar in kindergarten shows kindness and makes kindergarten a fun and engaging year of learning. Mrs. Eileen Bee captivates her first graders and stretches their thinking. We are also thankful for Ms. Mary Courson, who regularly has been a guest teacher willing to go above and beyond for the students. From the minute you walk in the doors, you’re welcomed and it’s evident learning is everywhere. We are so thankful for our kids’ awesome learning experiences at CK!! -The Walters

Thanks to Terry Smith and the staff at West Middle School for helping us raise a middle schooler! I always feel in the loop due to all your efforts to communicate with families. Our son has become much more confident and independent. He has learned to be more responsible! Thanks to Ryan Ranger for your dedication. We appreciate Mr. Medler, Mr. Hofstra, Mrs. Somerville, Mrs. Six-King, Mrs. Walters, and Mrs. Schoolmaster for all their efforts in helping our son succeed. -The Olvey Family

Thank you Mrs. Laing (Central High School) for welcoming our daughter into your chemistry class this past semester. Before our daughter was in your class, she felt very discouraged about herself as a chemistry student. Within just a few weeks time she came home and informed us that she was really enjoying chemistry and that you thought she was a good student and that you enjoyed having her in your class. Your positive words and encouragement changed how she saw herself.  Thank you for caring about our daughter. - Chris and Stephanie Jackson

Miss Catherine, Miss Emily, Miss Kelly, and all of Eastern's extended day staff make sure students who arrive early and stay late are cared for, fed, and stay busy with countless activities and games. They have established close relationships with the families at Eastern and play such an important role in the development of our students. Miss Catherine has a knack for making others feel special.  Every year she works with the extended day students to create handmade Christmas ornaments for the staff members at Eastern. I know I look forward to seeing what they'll make each year! What a gift it is for parents to be able to trust these amazing women with their kiddos when they can't be with them. Thank you for your time, energy, and love you pour into our extended day program and congratulations to Miss Catherine on her retirement this year - you will be missed! - Mandy LaBarre

My son's oldest friend changed schools last year. Susan Mayfield (Central Grade School) was able to get a letter from the friend to my son, who wrote back. They are now in contact via phone and I can't thank her enough for making it happen. - Alison Widmer

Cathy Rossan, pre-school teacher at Courtade, is amazing! She has a positive attitude, caring demeanor, and is very creative with developing fun and engaging activities for the kids. It's comforting to have the kids return home and enthusiastically share stories of the day's activities or express excitement to go to school. It is evident how she cares for the welfare of the whole child and nurtures their social/emotional and academic growth. I thank her for creating a wonderful first year experience for our youngest learners as they begin their educational journey. With much appreciation, Brenda A.

We would like to give a shoutout to Ms. Rosalie Overheul (Traverse Heights - former Cherry Knoll teacher) & Mr. Nate Plum & Ms. Kelley Carroll - Cherry Knoll. These three teachers were so fantastic that we requested them for both of our kids and then again when they changed the grades they taught. We will forever be thankful for their contribution to our kiddos education. Their diverse teaching styles helped us to raise open-minded and well-rounded learners. We credit each of them with the strong academic foundation our children have going into 6th & 9th grade - The Hebert Family

Thank you to the 5th grade teaching team at Westwoods Elementary. You all have added a vitality and created excitement to being a 5th grader. You help the kids feel smart, confident, and independent. Thank you for all you do. - Autumn Kirby

Mrs. Phillips at East Middle School has a passion for teaching history and engaging in meaningful discussions with her students. Her teaching style not only prepares students for high school but also encourages students to dig deeper into topics and further enhance their learning through opportunities such as National History Day. She also is a wonderful Journalism teacher and does a great job mentoring students working on the school newspaper. - Judy Arnold

I would like to thank Mr. May at Blair Elementary he is an awesome teacher! My son is in his class and absolutely loves going to school everyday he’s a great teacher that takes the time to connect with his students! Thank you for doing such and awesome job! - Jennifer Marsh

This email should provide wonderful recognition and gratitude to Megan Niezgoda (Long Lake Elementary School) in one of the preschool classrooms. She has been that patient angel that watches over our kiddos. My son has learned so much this year and I certainly cannot take all that credit. Ms. Megan is helpful, caring, and eager to see our kids grow. I am appreciative that my son can continue to learn manners and life skills outside of the house. I know he’s in good hands when I am working hard at work. Thank you for such a blessing! - C. Verschaeve

I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Willow Hill 1st grade teacher Mrs. Kim Tumey for several years. She is a gifted educator who knows and understands her young students' individual needs, possibilities and potential. She is a whiz when it comes to data and technology and is always ready to lend a helping hand to children and colleagues alike. Her smile and good humor are contagious.  Thank you, Mrs. Tumey! - Kim Chase

Mrs. Grzegorczyk (Cherry Knoll Elementary School) in first grade has been amazing with our son! He has had some medicine addition/ changes and she has been both understanding and very willing to help. Mrs. Grzegorczyk has given us peace of mind that our son is in good hands while at school. - Cherry Knoll Parent

We are so thankful for Cathy Rossan (Courtade Elementary School) and that she was our daughter’s first teacher. This is our second year with her and we will miss her next year. We have had no worries knowing that our daughter is in her care. She has a special gift in her ability not only to teach, but to give these kids great encouragement. Cathy, thank you for all your hard work! The French Family

I would just like to say how much I appreciate my son’s 4th grade teacher at Westwoods Elementary. Ms. Herzberg goes above and beyond what is expected of her. She is one of those teachers, that really cares about her students, and puts forth the extra effort, to make sure they succeed. Thank you so much for all that you’ve done for my son, Ms. Herzberg! - Samantha Shumsky

David Hester (East Middle School Band) has developed a positive and supportive relationship with my son. Mr. Hester has recognized his unique strengths in such a way that has served as a role model to my son. Mr. Hester’s mentoring has allowed my son to imagine new and challenging ideas about the future and about giving back to others, as Mr. Hester has demonstrated for him. - Amy Cox

Having our son attend pre-school at Eastern Elementary has been so fulfilling for him and for our family.  He loves his school and especially loves his teachers. Special thanks to Ms. Julie & Mrs. Wendy for creating such a wonderful positive learning environment for our son and his classmates. He has benefited so much by being in your classroom. We are and will always be forever grateful to both of you. - Andrew MacDonald   

We are so thankful for Mrs. Rowney at Cherry Knoll! Our son was lucky to be in her 2/3 split last year and her 3rd grade class this year. Mrs. Rowney is creative in her teaching style, she makes learning fun. Mrs. Rowney has been such a positive influence on our son and all of the students in her class. Cherry Knoll has a treasure!! Steve & Kristy Conz

We would like to thank David Ready (AP government at TC West Senior High School) for his unbiased approach to teaching government. Mr. Ready challenges our children to form their own opinions and does not try to influence their opinions. He makes our children become aware of what it means to be a citizen in our country and how they can become actively involved instead of a bystander. Thanks Mr. Ready for encouraging our children to form their own opinions and presenting the materials in an unbiased approach.  Ted and Kathy Momrik

I would like to show appreciation to Ms. Amanda Engle from Blair Elementary for doing such a fantastic job with her Kindergarten class. We were so lucky our daughter got her this year. Ms. Engle is always so involved and listens to each child with such care. It is amazing to see the progress that our daughter has made and she has really taken an interest to all her school work. One fun thing they do is her teacher has incorporated sign language with every letter learned which is a fun way to help their brains make a connection. I was impressed when my daughter showed me. Also a big thank you to the principal Mrs. Morgan for always being a smiling face in the hall to cheer on the kids as they travel to their classes. She is so nice and runs a very safe and well maintained school. We are proud to be here and look forward to the years that are to follow. With such a wonderful staff on hand it would be hard to list all of them but these are the two that really stand out.  Thank you! - Brandle Serrano

We would like to thank the staff at Westwoods Elementary for all that they have done to support and nurture the growth of our sons. Ms. Paula's kindness, dedication to teaching strong foundational skills and genuine appreciation for our son as an individual has made all the difference for a wonderful preschool year. Mrs. Johnson has worked her instructional "magic" to transform our older son into a kindergartner who is a determined mathematician and confident reader. We are so thankful to be a part of the incredible Westwoods school community! -Tim & Kristin S.

A big thank you to Stephanie Jackson at Central Grade. Stephanie is an amazing teacher! Not only does she have the gift of teaching children, she does so with passion, love, and dedication each day. She forms relationships with her students that last far beyond the year she teaches them and makes each student feel special. She continues to grow her knowledge of teaching by keeping up on the latest in education, and goes above and beyond in so many ways. She is always ready to recommend a book that fits each student's interest, which instills children with a love of reading. Even when her students leave her class, she follows up on them and seeks them out in the hallway. We have been so blessed to have both of our children in Stephanie's class. She makes students feel safe and loved, which helps them grow and flourish. Thank you isn't enough for the time, sacrifice, and care she gives on a daily basis.  We love you, Mrs. Jackson! Love, The Johns Family

Traverse Heights Elementary has been a school that I am proud to be a part of as a parent. Mr. Schrock has been a wonderful breath of fresh air to the school. He has strong values that will help our young ones to be more successful as they carry on to the next stage. Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Ufer are always pleasant, helpful and compassionate. I couldn't ask for better people to be that first welcoming face. I could really go on and on but I will just extend a huge thank you to the following staff for reasons that are far beyond words: Mrs. Pfost, Mrs. Kay, Mrs. Cobb, Mrs. Anderson-Schwartz and Mrs. Beamish. Lastly, I am beyond blessed to have you all for another 6 years. My 5th grader is a breath of fresh air moving on to the next stage. My preschooler will be a quirky handful but adorably sweet and salty. - Melissa Devantier

A huge shout out to Wendy Richmond, Anna Culik, and Stephanie Schall-Brazee. These wonderful women are our daughters' P.E., art, and music teachers at Eastern Elementary School. Mrs. Richmond teaches our children the importance of physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle. She is a super star role model for the kids and provides a positive environment for learning. We are in constant awe of the incredible artwork that Anna Culik accomplishes with our children in just thirty minutes, once a week. Both of our girls know which day of the week is art class and never want to be late or miss it!  Thank you, Anna for teaching our kids the value in art and helping them explore their creative talents. Stephanie Schall-Brazee has such a gift for teaching music! Our daughters come home singing new songs with excitement and are now more confident because of Stephanie's encouragement. We are very thankful for these amazing specials teachers at Eastern! -The LaBarre Family

Mrs. Paul (Central High School) is my 11th grade daughter’s AP Gov. teacher. My first indication that Mrs. Paul was an involved and fantastic teacher was prior to the first day of class when I read the syllabus. It is extensive and pertinent. My daughter has become interested in politics and enjoys talking about issues, legislature, and how the government system works in general. However, the day I realized that Mrs. Paul is such an excellent teacher was when my daughter could not tell me if Mrs. Paul was a Democrat or a Republican. Really?  This day in age when a person in a position to sway or have effect on a group doesn’t give their biased opinion or explain a concept with a spin toward their preferred side of the aisle?  How unusual!  I try to be neutral when talking to my children about politics (which I thoroughly enjoy and am involved in through my industry) and no matter how hard I try, I cannot remain neutral. But Mrs. Paul remains neutral and first and foremost is a teacher to these kids! I am so proud of her and admire her dedication to these kids and her profession. She should be commended and respected. Thank you Mrs. Paul for what you are doing for my daughter and for all of the children that you will teach throughout the years. - Meagan & Erik Luce

I wanted to thank the ECSE teachers at Central Grade (Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Rosinski, Lisa Paul, and Speech Therapist, Janet Ruggles). My daughter has been in this program the past two years due to her speech delay and she has improved immensely. They are patient, caring and dedicated to each student and I truly appreciate all they have done for my daughter. It takes a special person to work with children with disabilities and I am so incredibly grateful for these amazing women. - Katie Melville

Amy McKean, Instructional Assistant, Noon Duty and Extended Day (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis). Mrs. McKean is the assistant in my son’s Lower Elementary classroom. My son loves Mrs. McKean, she finds ways to inspire and ignite his learning in a kind and respectful way. Thank you Mrs. McKean for being so supportive and always being there to offer my kiddo some encouragement!  - Liz Yarch

Terri Mattarella (Eastern Elementary) deserves a big shout as she approaches her final months as an elementary teacher before retiring.  My son had the pleasure of having her this year and he adores her. She has such a calm demeanor and really cares for her students. Congrats Terri! Wishing you the best for the next chapter of life, you deserve it! - M. Robinson

A huge THANK YOU to Mrs. Grigal at Central Grade School! Our son is in her kindergarten class and he has blossomed in so many ways! He loves going to school to learn! Thank you for all your support and guidance Mrs. Grigal! Simply one of the best! Thank you - Rob and Stephanie Ellul  

Thank you Emily Howard (Central High School) for being an excellent math teacher to our daughter the past two years. It is not uncommon to hear “Ms. Howard said this...” or “I was talking to Ms. Howard and ...” at our dinner table. Our daughter frequently shares examples of times you have met with her (and many other students) before, during, and after school to answer questions or review concepts and skills. She sees you as someone that truly cares about her. The first thing she showed us after Prom was a group photo from the dance that included you:) We appreciate you taking the time to build a relationship with our daughter and because of this she is thriving in math and school! Thank you! - Chris and Stephanie Jackson

I would like to thank Andy Wares (West Senior High School) for always being my number one supporter throughout all my four years of high school. He was there for me when I struggled most and helped me get through the toughest times. I will never forget the tears and laughs we both went through. - Debra Danek 2017 West Senior High Graduate.

Our daughter’s love of school has continued to grow due to Mrs. Mandy LaBarre’s (Eastern Elementary School) positive and empathetic classroom. She is very intentional when it comes to teaching empathy and my daughter has grown because of it! I’m not sure how she does it, but she must have a photogenic memory for the events that surround each child because she personalizes the learning experience and somehow finds the time to send her postcards at home and inspirational quotes that I even apply to my daily life. We recently had a baby and she created the sweetest collaborative book that we will enjoy for years to come. She is a kind, thoughtful soul and so many children’s lives have been enriched through her. Thank you Mandy! - Macare and Dustin Lumbrezer

We'd like to say thank you to Lisa VanLoo's amazing staff at TCAPS Montessori. Both our girls love going to school and have such great affection for their teachers and other adults in the building. We especially want to thank the Early Care staff of Liz Yarch and Amy McKean, lower elementary teachers Jennifer Girard, Casey Stachnik, Alicia Olson, Kristi Getchel and Robin Heintz. -Kathryn and Andy Baumann

I would like to say THANK YOU to Mary Beth Stein (Human Resources). This young lady is the district’s student services coordinator and much more. She is one to step in when needed and will just stop by to say “Hi”. Mary Beth works non-stop, but still takes time to be with her family and grand babies. I think she is one amazing person and I love working with her. We would be lost without her. Thank you Mary Beth Stein for all you do. - Liz Sievers

I would like to take the time to send out a dedication and thank you to an amazing TCAPS teacher who lost her battle with Metastatic Breast Cancer earlier this year. Erin Banton was a true gem of a person and teacher. We were so lucky and fortunate to have her for two years for our daughter, and it was such an amazing beginning of her school experience. She loved each of her students genuinely and sincerely. Her patience, encouragement, kindness, and warmth was endless. Her positivity and smile was contagious, and we miss her so much. This year I feel like I have won the lottery for a second time as we have her dearest friend, Mandy LaBarre, as our youngest daughter’s second grade teacher at Eastern Elementary. Mandy is cut from the same cloth as Erin. She is so warm, loving, energetic, compassionate, encouraging, and professional. Mandy, know that you are letting Erin’s spirit live on through your love and passion for children and teaching. Our lives have been forever changed by both of these teachers. -  The Shotwell Family

We would like to recognize Stacy Walston and Sarah Odette at Central Grade. We have really felt that they are partners with us in working for our son's first grade success. The adjustment to a more academically rigorous school day than kindergarten was a challenge for him, and they both were very communicative and responsive to our every email, Dojo message, and note. They recognized his strengths and worked to draw them out, encouraging him along the way. They backed us up on expectations at school and at home, and positively reinforced him, making him strive to work hard and do his best. His math and reading abilities have skyrocketed this year and we are thrilled to see his progress - all in large part, of course, to their teaching and guidance. Thank you Stacy and Sarah, you are a big part of what makes the CGS team Superstars!  - Jason & Kellie Parks

I would like to express our extreme appreciation for Rebecca Walters at West Middle School. She has helped our daughter bloom into a creative, confident leader and strong young lady. Ms. Walters has been monumental in our daughter’s middle school experience. She has come out of her shell and I truly feel Ms. Walters is a one-in-a-million and an unforgettable supporter! She will be a part of our lives for years to come! Thank you to Rebecca Walters! You have no idea what a vital difference you have made! Laura and Mike Nagy

When Karen Nelson found out our son would be in her 4th grade class at Eastern Elementary this year, she said she was happy to be able to complete the trifecta and we knew we’d won the triple crown (both our older daughters had Karen also)! Karen is an extremely talented, experienced, challenging, caring teacher who works tirelessly to meet the social, emotional, psychological, physical and academic needs of every one of her students and somehow manages to do it with a positive attitude, genuine love and incredible sense of humor. We’re constantly amazed at her insight in her students and her true passion for her craft and profession. Thank you, Karen, and thank you to our son’s other amazing, creative, talented and caring teachers at Eastern: Sarah Marek, Kathy Radakovich, Mandy LaBarre and Karen Smith! – Asiala Family

A huge thank you to all the teachers, administration and staff at Central Grade Elementary who continue to make that busy school thrive. A special shout out this year to Mrs. Kyser, Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. Dall’Olmo, Mrs. Ruggles, Mrs. Swartz and Mrs. Sevimli for their tireless support, warmth and compassion for our kids. They are all better kids for having been in your class this year. Wishing you all a warm and relaxing summer! – The Burkholder’s

High fives to Mrs. Dunscombe and Mrs. Hall at East Middle School Mildly Cognitively Impaired (MICI) classroom. It takes special energy and compassion to be with our kids day in and day out...and this year the class happens to have ALL BOYS! These ladies are earning their sainthood right here, right now! Daily doses of creativity and individual attention makes these teachers outstanding. We especially appreciate how they love our son almost as much as we do. That is priceless, and so are they!  God bless you! Heidi and Wayne M.

We can't say enough good things about the teachers at Cherry Knoll! We would 1st love to thank Ms. Deadman for the patience and caring she has given our daughter throughout the years, she wouldn't be where she is today without you! Mrs. Rhem, where do we broke our son out of his shell and helped him exceed more and more each day. This is the first year he has been excited about his teacher and loves how you challenge him daily! We honestly couldn't ask for a better role model/teacher/friend. (I wish we could carry you on with us every year!) We've seen such growth in our son this year and this is thanks to you! We would also love to thank Mrs. Leppien, Mr. Schweitzer and Mr.'ve all been such amazing teachers, thanks for all you do! ~Munro's

I would like give a HUGE shout-out to Miss Fak at Eastern Elementary! She is extremely dedicated to her teaching and she cares deeply for her students. Miss Fak has created an environment where students can thrive, be challenged, and show respect for each other while still being allowed to be 6 and 7 years old. My daughter absolutely adores Miss Fak and she loves coming to school to be challenged every day! Thank you so much, Miss Fak. - The Richmond Family 

From Mrs. Wyatt & Mr. Culver at Silver Lake Elementary to Dr. Witt & Mr. Tester at West Middle (and so many other amazing TCAPS staff members).....”Thank You” just isn’t enough to show the gratitude I have for all you’ve invested in my son. He’s tossing around the idea of becoming a teacher because of the wonderful people who’ve had a positive impact on him. - Leslie Hamilton

A huge shoutout and thank you to the secretaries at Cherry Knoll, Amy McDonald and Laurie Coulter and East Middle School Mindy Neuhardt, Caron Alpers, Laurie Hebert, Danielle Humphrey. The secretaries are on the front line at the schools and no matter how busy they are, they are always so welcoming and nice and treat you like you're a friend or family. They have been there for our kids for many years, making them feel safe and welcome whenever they need to go down to the office, and for that I am forever grateful. - Stacy F.

Mrs. Wingfield (Central Grade School) did an excellent job filling in for Mrs. Simons during her maternity leave this year and we are grateful to both teachers for their excellent work with the first graders and for making the teacher transitions in September and March an easy one. - Judy Arnold

We have been so fortunate to have Mrs. Vogel and Mrs. Wagner at Glenn Loomis (Montessori) for our daughter's teachers. My daughter has grown leaps and bounds with confidence and it amazes me how much she has learned these last two years from being in this class.  Mrs. Vogel is kind yet knows exactly how to guide each of these kids to become their best. She has high expectations and is very in tune with each child's individual personality. She knows how to individualize education for each child to reach their potential. She has a great sense of humor and utilizes it in her teaching. She is creative in her teaching style and captures her student's attention. Mrs. Wagner has a golden heart and also shares the same qualities of Mrs. Vogel. Mrs. Wagner is fun, sweet and an outstanding listener. Mrs. Wagner is just an amazing teacher. My daughter actually said, "I wish they could be my teachers all the way through college." The love of teaching is so apparent in both these teachers. They have a gift and make a perfect team.  I only wish I could have been so blessed to have teachers like this when I was growing up. Thanks for all you do! - Shannon Steiner

The kitchen staff at Eastern is top notch!  Karen Phillips goes out of her way to make sure the staff and students are served delicious food on a daily basis. Sheila Vanhuizen greets each student with a smile and is always full of kindness and patience. They make sure all students leave the cafeteria with a full belly!  Thank you for all that you do Karen and Sheila!  You are superheroes!  - The LaBarre Family

Mrs. Chargo, Mr. Dumon, Mr. Skodack, Mr. Mielens, Mr. Ulicny, Mr. Ranke and Mrs. Farmer (West Senior High School), THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! ~ Candan Sevimli

I want to thank Mrs. Marek from Eastern Elementary for being so patient and so kind to everyone. She brings happiness and joy every day to her classroom and it spreads throughout the school. She’s always so positive and does so much for every family in her class. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. - Sarah Murphy

Diane Burden (Central High School school social worker) has also been instrumental in my son’s success as a student. She has encouraged him to participate in activities that have allowed him to be a creative and intelligent leader. - Amy Cox

I would like to thank the Cherry Knoll Elementary staff for their kindness and dedication to the education of my son. I also want to recognize a terrific educator, Alicia Rowney. She goes above and beyond to assist her students in their learning. Thank you all for helping my son grow as a learner. - Melissa Rassel

We couldn’t let the week go by without recognizing our daughter’s Kindergarten teacher, Michelle Anderson, at Courtade Elementary! Mrs. Anderson’s dedication to helping her succeed has been evident throughout the year. At home, we also enjoy hearing about choice time, dancing to Go Noodle, and WOW parties - all things that have made her Kindergarten experience truly special! Our daughter also loves her before and after school teachers! We cannot thank Sharon Piatek, Michele Dansingburg, and the entire extended day care staff at Courtade for providing such a fun, loving, and safe environment to play outside of school hours. She never wants to leave! Thank you again - we appreciate all of you so very much!!! -Matt and Alli Rider

As we write this email we are heading down to Michigan Youth Arts Festival to watch our Traverse City Westmen represent the best our state has to offer in choral music, led by Mr. Erich Wangeman (West Senior High School). All I can tell you is that Erich dominates our dinner time conversation. We ask our sons about the best part of their day or about their classes and although they have many favorites, Erich is the one both our sons (Middle and High School) talk about, laugh about and admire. We could not have a better role model in an educator than Erich. They see his hard work, his dedication to his craft. They see his ability to have fun with what he is doing. They feel valued in every single conversation with him. They are sincerely important to him. All of his students are important to him. We are so very grateful and appreciative of what this man does for our students in TCAPS. Thank you Erich for all you do! - The Hoxsie family

We are so grateful for our fantastic staff and teachers at TCAPS Montessori.  Not only do they do an amazing job of staying aligned with the Montessori philosophy - they do it while navigating the challenges that come with being a public school. Thank you Mrs. Larrea and Mrs. Tomlinson for helping our daughter grow into the confident, happy, intelligent little student over the last three years. We will miss seeing your kind faces every day as she moves up next year.  Thank you Mrs. Ballmer and Mrs. Walsh for guiding our other daughter’s transition to Lower Elementary this year. She loves school and we are thrilled to watch her grow into a confident, curious and excited student under your watch. Special thank you goes out to our specials teachers - Mr. Q, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Urbain and Mrs. Funkhouser.  Our daughters love their gym, music, Spanish and library classes because of you! And a special thank you to Miss Van Loo, Liz and Liz for all of the behind-the-scenes things you do to make sure our school runs smoothly for all of us. Miss Van Loo, we are tremendously grateful for your leadership and the way that you've taken on the new build project. This no doubt adds more work to your already busy schedule and we are so thankful for all the extra research, school visits and planning meetings that you've initiated. And finally, a huge shout out to our janitorial and cafeteria truly are the unsung heroes. You make sure our students arrive to a clean and orderly facility and teach them manners and grace. Thank you all for making sure we have a quality public school option for Montessori education.  It truly does take a village and we are so glad you are ours.  - Melissa and Matthew Fri

We'd like to recognize Mr. Schrotenboer and Mr. MacTavish at WMS. They seem to have figured out the right formula to change a math hater to a math lover! Our daughter was struggling with math prior to having these two amazing teachers. Their compassion, humor, patience and persistence made a world of difference for her and for us. Many thanks!! The Anderson/Browns

The Willow Hill staff is amazing! My children have had the best teachers over the years and are fortunate enough to have Mrs. Glynn for 5th grade this year and Mrs. Tumey for 1st grade.  Both of you have been wonderful! Mrs. Phend and Mrs. Forton have been incredible all our years at the school, providing the best care and compassion. I literally don’t know what I would have done without you both! Thank you to Mrs. Sides-Mckay for keeping the school safe and respectful, Mrs. Brazee for the wonderful memories of all the musical performances, Mrs. Gang for sending short videos of the children doing art projects, Mrs. Nelson for the extra help with reading, Mr. Hysell for their favorite subject–gym class, and Mrs. Topol for library reminders. Also want to shout out to Mr. Dimas and the facilities staff, the recess staff, and the food service staff! Lastly, I want to recognize what a special teacher Mrs. Duguay is! My son had her 2 years ago and still talks about her and what an impact she had on him! - Barb Jones

Our family really appreciates Ms. Karen Nelson at Eastern Elementary! The level of communication we get from her about what our daughter is learning and doing in school is amazing. She consistently updates the classroom website and sends emails home. Karen always has positive and encouraging comments for our daughter booklet that comes home, too. - B. Holmes-Bozung

I wanted to say thank you to all the staff at West Senior High who have been a part of guiding and supporting our non-traditional student. We have been down many roads trying to meet the educational needs of our son. They have not always been met with a team that is willing to look outside the box. When someone loves to learn as much as our child it feels essential to have support from many mentors and educators who are invested and interested in the learning process. We feel supported at West. Thank you for noticing. Thank you for traveling down different roads for different learners. It makes all the difference. - Sarah Swayne Shelp

Words cannot describe how blessed I am to work with Lisa VanLoo (Principal) and Liz Yarch ( Admin Asst) at TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis. These two women are the heart and soul of our office and I get to work with them every day! They are there for you in good times and bad, for a good laugh but get the job done also. Lisa VanLoo is an amazing principal who is kind, generous but also firm in her position. Liz Yarch wears many hats. She would drop anything she is doing to help out a fellow staff member or student in need. I consider these two true friends and as Liz Yarch always says, “This is the best job ever!” - Liz Sievers

We would like to thank all the wonderful staff at Eastern Elementary for creating such a warm, loving, supportive community for our entire family. We would especially like to thank Mrs. Julie Brott for her endless joy, love, and attention she gives to each and every one of her students and their families. Ms. Julie creates a preschool environment where every student can be comfortable, feels confident, and learns through play. She has made such an impact in our son’s life and our family just cherishes her! We would also like to thank Mrs. Terri Lutes for providing a learning environment full of positive reinforcement! She has helped build confidence in our second grader and we have seen more leadership skills then ever before. We love that she thinks outside the box and promotes hands on and life experience learning. Thank you for all that you do. ~ The Galdes Family

I would like to give a huge shout out to all the staff at Central Grade School. As a fellow staff member, I am thankful to know each and every one of you, and thankful for the friendships that have blossomed from spending every day with you. I can always count on a smile, hello, or a quick pick-me-up conversation from all of you. I couldn't ask for better co-workers! - Angela Adamick

An ode to the Courtade Elementary School staff:
Thank you for 15 years wonderful years of elementary school.

Thank you for touching the young minds and hearts of all 4 of my children.

Thank you for never losing faith in our youngest learners.

Thank you for being smart, strong, creative and inspiring.

Thank you for the toothpick bridges, famous person wax museum, boxtown, construction paper spiders, Rube-Goldberg fair, shedding a tear while reading Wonder together, egg drop protection devices, student-run school store, baking thunder cake and friendship fudge, and the too-many-to-mention ways you keep the fun in learning - all of which my kids still talk about at the dinner table.

Thank you for knowing when my kids were sad or had cause to celebrate.

Thank you for being an invaluable partner in this journey of raising children – you have helped me and my family more than you will ever know.

So to ALL of you at Courtade, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Kim Beattie

Day 4: Building Confidence

We have been so incredibly blessed with amazing teachers and staff at Silver Lake ever since my son first started! I am so grateful for every person who has had interaction with him and helped to make his school days more enjoyable and at ease. This year we are so lucky to have Becky Sanford as his teacher! My son talks about her often and obviously loves being in her class. With her guidance and support, he has been able to overcome some reading challenges and really thrive! She focuses on her students as a whole and really builds their social and emotional sides as well as academic. I have seen so much more focus and confidence in him this year and I could not be prouder! We wish that Becky would move up to third grade with him so he could enjoy her teaching another year but we know she's moved grades enough! Thank you, Mrs. Sanford and all of the Silver Lake staff for encouraging my son and helping him really grow as a learner! - J. Stremlow

Mrs. Rossan (Courtade Elementary School) has been a delight to work with this year during our son's first year in preschool. From the very first day she eased all of our anxieties, and continues to offer a smile daily. Our son has loved his introduction to school and enjoys Mrs. Rossan's classroom and all of the activities and projects she provides the students. Thank you for making our first year in TCAPS such a great one!! -The Dilloway Family

I would personally like to thank and acknowledge the two amazing teachers in the 4th Grade TAG Program at Central Grade School, Ann McDonough and Jennifer Wohlfert! They have been such wonderful influences and inspiring teachers for my son. Thank you for consistently challenging and caring for your amazing and talented students. - Colleen M. Gerace

Thomas Paolacci (Technology) - thanks for always making me laugh and for always taking my calls even when “I’m killing you” with my requests. You knock it out of the park on a daily basis and I am grateful. - RaeAnn Fiebing

Eastern's support staff is out of this world! Kristen Abner, Kori Quinn, and Heather Asiala are absolute rock stars and play major roles in the lives of the students and staff at the school. Kristen, Kori, and Heather are reliable, upbeat, and such team players. They are positive role models to students and are always willing to go the extra mile for staff, no questions asked. These talented and compassionate women are such shining stars at Eastern and make our school a better place! - Mandy LaBarre

As we watch our youngest daughter in her final month as a TCAPS student, we would like to give a huge THANK YOU to all of the amazing teachers, administration, and support staff at Bertha Vos Elementary, Old Mission Peninsula School, East Middle School, and Central High School (you know who you are!) for helping both of our girls get through their K-12 schooling. It takes a village to raise a child and we certainly could not have done it without you. You have our utmost respect and gratitude for all of your hard work and endless dedication to your profession.  With Appreciation, Erin and Doug Kosch

I would like to thank all my son’s West Middle School teachers. We would like to give a special shout-out to thank Ms. Perthes, Mrs. Stuedemann, Mrs. Hartel and Mr. Muempfer. When I look back at our son’s middle school years, my family will be forever grateful for their top-notch office ensemble. We want to thank them for their caring, compassion and smiles that were greatly appreciated throughout these last three years. - Mr. and Mrs. Leachman

Bill Clark and Candan Sevimli, Instructional Assistants at Central Grade School, love their work and interactions with students and it shows. They always have smiles on their faces and their enthusiasm for teaching is contagious and pairs well with their ability to engage with kids and help them meet their learning goals. - Judy Arnold

A BIG THANK YOU to Mr. Tiesworth and staff at Westwoods Elementary. My son entered as a 4th grade student and Mr. Tiesworth has continually gone above and beyond to make him feel welcome and encourage his learning. Now that he is leaving as a 5th grader Mr. Tiesworth and the staff has helped give him confidence and a more positive outlook moving to the middle school. Thanks for all you do! - Ashley VanLandschoot

I would like to send a heartfelt thank you to Tracy Rucker and Jen Tank, my kids' teachers during their lower elementary years at Glenn Loomis Montessori. You are both wonderfully positive role models for the children, and for me. You have taught me by example about what children need from the adults around them to foster learning. Watching your classroom function, I am amazed by the level of caring and respect present in teachers and students alike, and the rich learning environment you have created in that classroom. Your work is truly love made visible. - Alison Quiring

I would love to thank Mrs. Sanford at Silver Lake Elementary. Our daughter has had some anxiety about going to school each morning since kindergarten. Going into second grade, I was worried it would continue, but Mrs. Sanford has helped our daughter so much! She’s made her feel comfortable and has helped her socially and academically. Also would love to thank our office staff, kitchen staff, custodians, aides...your work and love for the kids does not go unnoticed! thank you all! - The Townsend Family

I don't think I ever had a teacher that utilized technology in the classroom as efficiently and smoothly as Mr. Noller (West Senior High School). He is creative and constantly looking for new ways to better prepare his students for 21st century real world demands. He both models and facilitates a deep level of inquiry into the literature texts studied in class. He also pushed and challenged me take an honest look at both texts and situations from multiple perspectives before formulating my own opinions. I am grateful for the preparation I received from him for college and the continued support and encouragement in the early stages of my own teaching career. - 2013 TC West Graduate

I just wanted to say thank you to Mrs. Ashley Howe at Central High School for helping provide a great transition from middle school to high school. My 9th grader looks forward to her class and thoroughly enjoys Mrs. Howe’s sense of humor. Even with the many snow days, she still has been able to keep her history classes on track. I am so glad that my daughter was able to have Mrs. Howe for her teacher! - Jenny D.

We just wanted to say thank you to both of our daughter's teachers. Ms. Cisneros has been such a great teacher to our kindergartner. Ms. Cisneros noticed she loves to read, that on their library days she gets to check out two books and she loves it! She also loves when they get special days at school, like pajama day or stuffed animal day! Ms. Cisneros was the perfect teacher for our daughter this year. Mrs. Grzegorczyk was also the perfect teacher for our 1st grader this year. She started the school year as a new student, but she has adjusted great and we owe it all to Mrs. Grzegorczyk! Our daughter loves going school and she had made so many friends! She loves Mrs. G. Both our girls love attending Cherry Knoll and the rest of the staff is so friendly! Thanks again from The Hentschel Family!!

Our hearts are overwhelmed with appreciation for our son’s teacher Ms. Brown at Long Lake Elementary!!! She has given us help and guidance and so accommodating with our son! She has shared with our family so many wonderful pointers and tips on how we all can be included in our son’s education and help him to become the best he can be! I will forever be thankful for her patience and love and genuinely caring about our family and helping our son grow as a person and also helping us grow as supportive parents. She had imprinted so many memories and tools that my husband and I as parents will carry on for all of our son’s life and our lives too. - The Bell Family

Keith Ballmer, Duane Fewins, and Teresa Schoech (Custodial) come to work every day with a smile and keep Eastern sparkling and shiny! We are so lucky to have this terrific trio who roll their sleeves up each day to take care of our messes! On most days they are either the first to arrive or last to leave. Thank you for keeping our school safe and clean and being such a special part of our staff! -The LaBarre Family

My son and our family have found such support and guidance in Mrs. Olson's classroom at Glenn Loomis (TCAPS Montessori) this spring (and all through the last two years). She helped identify his speech deficits and got him working with Mrs. Orton in the Speech Therapy room, which is new but a total game-changer for my son and his attitude about school. He's happy, confident, and excited to go to class in the mornings. Thank you, Mrs. Orton. The music teacher (Cress Smith) also deserves a big thank you for organizing so many kids on STEAM night and getting the whole audience to sing TO my nervous son as he stood on stage, petrified and unable to perform. It was incredible and sweet and a testament to the whole Glenn Loomis community. And finally, Liz and the office staff deserve thanks for all they do to help everybody all the time. - Hannah Israel

Our family wants to thank all the staff at Blair Elementary School for their dedication and hard work.  Without their caring nature, the students would not be able to thrive like they have. Especially our children's teachers, Mrs. Ross, Ms. Walker, Mrs. Stewart, Mrs. Stegmeyer, Ms. Engle, Mrs. Seguin, Mrs. Bostick and Mrs. Tracey, who have treated our kids as their own and really brought them out of their shells and push them to be the best they can be. Thanks for everything. - The Dean Family.

We would like to extend a heartfelt note of gratitude to our 6th grade son's team of academic teachers, Christina Steele, Shawna Lyman, Mike Schrotenboer, and Aislyn Johnson (West Middle School). Our boy has had a great first year of middle a large part because you all have held him accountable for his actions, set high academic standards, and encouraged him to explore new ideas and areas of interest. We also appreciate the team approach that is used at WMS--the communication home always helps us to assist in whatever ways we can, and the fact that you share students enables you to address both successes and setbacks as a united front. Our son has also had a very enriching experience with his other instructors: Emerick Dee, Elizabeth Schoolmaster, Todd Tester, and Nathan Brush. It is a huge switch from one teacher in 5th grade to eight in 6th grade. You all have made this transition and experience thoroughly rewarding for him. You are valued more than you know! Thank you for the time and energy you put forth for all of the students you serve on a daily basis. --Larissa VanderZee and Matthew Dumon

Mrs. LaBarre at Eastern Elementary has been such a gift for second grade!  She provides constant encouragement and affirmation - which is exactly what our daughter needs. How amazing to have your teacher be your personal cheerleader! Mrs. LaBarre makes learning fun. She is approachable for anxious students and creates a classroom that is warm and comfortable. Ultimately, Mrs. LaBarre teaches and models integrity, empathy, kindness, and understanding- lessons that surpass the classroom. Thank you, Mrs. LaBarre, you are exceptional!  - The Reynolds Family

I would like to say thank you to Mrs. Hilden and Mrs. Engler at Courtade Elementary! They are so gentle, patient, and sweet with kiddos. They communicate with parents so very well, and they are always happy and never seem to miss a beat. They have not only encouraged my daughters but taken the time to individually work with them and show them the attention and dedication each teacher should have. I can only hope Mrs. Hilden is still teaching when our youngest daughter gets to the preschool age. I am so happy yet sadden to see Mrs. Engler retire this year and know that our youngest daughter won't have the dynamic duo as her teachers. These two teachers deserve more just a thank you they have taught my girls to love school and that's something i will always be grateful for. Every time I walk through the doors, drive pass, or stand outside the school I am grateful that my kids go there. - Andrea Jessen

Our family would like to thank Mrs. Dunscombe, Mrs. Unger, Mrs. Sullivan, Mrs. Brooke, Mrs. White, Mrs. Zebell, Mr. Adair, and Mrs. Kehoe at East Middle School for helping our daughter to have a successful 6th grade experience! Our daughter has become more confident and independent this year due to this amazing team of teachers. As her parents we have been impressed with her increased love

for school and learning. She feels a personal relationship with each of these teachers and is comfortable going to them when she needs help! We appreciate all their hard work. They have set the bar high for the rest of her secondary education experience! - Chris and Stephanie Jackson

Miss Sarah (Hartwig, Central Grade preschool) is a true gift. Watching how my daughter has blossomed under her tutelage is incredible. As a first time parent, sending my only child to school was a bit nerve-wracking. I couldn't have asked for a better first experience. My daughter adores Miss Sarah, and is always excited to tell me stories about what she did in school. So, Miss Sarah, we appreciate you. - Kayla McGee

I want to acknowledge each and every administrative assistant and paraprofessional in all of our TCAPS buildings. They work so hard to keep everything running smoothly, with smiles on their faces and expertise to share! They know the students in the building well, often offering exactly the right words of encouragement or stretch break to help them refocus. They have great insight into our students as they see them throughout the day - inside the classroom, in the cafeteria, and outside on the playground. We couldn't do our jobs without them and for this I know we are all grateful! I want to send an extra shout-out to the English Learner Teaching Assistants at the K-5 level and the ESL Teachers at the secondary schools. They are Ashley Dittrich (BL & WH), Bill Clark (CE), Kenzie Waller (CK), Cheryl Patterson (CO), Peg Siciliano (EA & MOGL), Frances Coiman (LL & SL), Giuliana Mullen (TH) Brenda Galligan (WW), Amanda White (EMS), Alli Szatkiewicz (WMS), Lisa Dohm (CHS) and Heidi Gregory (WSH). They are all fiercely dedicated to their English learners, guiding them as they learn an additional language to proficiency. Thank you, EL team!  - Kathleen Schneider

We would like to say a big THANKS to Mrs. Kathryn Phillips at EMS!! Our daughter has had her for multiple classes the past two years and she is so much more than a teacher!! She has also been a friend and confidant. EMS and the students are so fortunate to have her as a teacher!! - The Bills Family

Much gratitude for our son’s bus driver, Bill, and his helper, Carrie (Transportation). What a winter it has been! They are faithful, reliable and safe though every road condition MI could throw at them! It is incredibly difficult to trust others with our most vulnerable kids. Thank you for making all of us feel at ease and for showering our kids with your kindness. God bless you! Heidi and Wayne Mueller

Mrs. Walter at Westwoods Elementary - Her patience and incredible love and warmth for every single one of her students does not go unnoticed. She is constantly supporting every student individually in the way that they need to be supported. I have no idea how she does it but she does...and our son will forever be better for it. He has grown in confidence, socially, emotionally and of course academically since entering her class. Thank you Mrs. Walter for ALL that you do for EVERYONE. - Jonathan and Cate Moe

We have had the pleasure of having Mrs. Sarah Marek (Eastern Elementary School) for the second time with our kiddos. When speaking to the kids she talks to them with the patience and empathy as if they’re the only child in the room. I can’t imagine how distracting it must be teaching 25 energetic students, and attempting to fill the needs both intellectually and emotionally of these developing minds.... but somehow she manages to do it all while being a busy mom herself. She holds a special place in our hearts and we are so lucky she chose teaching as her profession! - Macare and Dustin Lumbrezer

A big thank you to Lance Morgan and Jill Cheever (TC High School) for their support over the years. And to Jennifer Ciolek and Joshua Veith for all for their support of my daughter. - Bruce Makie

Lindsay Annelin, Mike Lesinski, and Betty McGrew do a fabulous job team teaching 5th grade at Central Grade School. They have a passion for their subject areas and student learning. They care so much for their students and do an excellent job preparing them for the transition to middle school.  - Judy Arnold

We cannot say enough about Mrs. G (Grzegorczyk) (and Mrs. Leppien) at Cherry Knoll. These two teachers have done so much for our children. They are such wonderful teachers and role models for all their students. We can’t forget Ms. Amy (McDonald) from the office and all the other wonderful teachers that make that school run. Also, all the teachers my daughter has had at Central High School. It’s wonderful to see that they believe in our child as much as we do. They have always been so supportive and that really helps a teen through high school. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. - The Malinao’s

I cannot begin to adequately describe the compassion and connection that Erich Wangeman (West Senior High School) shows to his students. His zero hour class (7-8am), the “normal” school day, the afterschool Westmen practices twice a week - that are late in the evening so students don’t have to pick between choir and sports, to the endless rehearsals for plays that become more like a part time job, are part of Mr. Wangeman’s typical school year. He goes above and beyond as a teacher and as a male role model to connect with his students. The young men that are lucky enough to have him as a teacher/mentor gain respect for themselves and others. He is the adult that every parent would want their child to talk with and provide sound advice and counsel. His tireless effort to work with students to provide guidance and growth for their passion in singing and in life is a true asset to West Senior High.  – Barb & Mike Cote

I'd like to show our family's appreciation for Mrs. Nelson at Eastern Elementary. Her devotion to teaching has been phenomenal at Eastern! Our 2 boys have had the pleasure of being in her class and they have both risen to Mrs. Nelson's high expectations. She has created an environment that allows students to take ownership of their learning and that fosters a great sense of community in the classroom. Mrs. Nelson truly is a master teacher! Thank you so much for caring so much about students. Mrs. Nelson. - The Richmond Family

Mrs. McManus (Willow Hill Elementary School), You have made the transition easy into full-time school a breeze! We see how you care deeply for your students, have endless patience and enthusiasm to teach them, and are so kind to every person that you encounter! We are so thankful that our son had you for his first year of school! - The Murphy Family

I would like to thank Mr. Dee at West Middle for all he does for my daughter, as well as the other students he instructs. Not only is he a phenomenal teacher when it comes to the music aspect, but he is a leader and mentor in such meaningful regards. He teaches them morals, teamwork, respect of others, as well of themselves, as well as the importance of a strong work ethic. These are extremely important values that will carry over throughout their lives. He is loved by many and respected by more! - Karen U.

Mrs.  Kathy Radakovich (Mother Earth is how she is referred to in our house) has been everything as a first grade teacher to our son. From a cheerleader, a friend, a counselor, a teacher to her neutral state of just being a wonderful human being who always sees the good and acts intently with kindness. Mother Earth knows my child, his likes, his strengths, his challenges and his heart. She continues to amaze us with her love and support each day. Mother Earth is the kind of teacher everyone needs in their child’s life as a role model and as a reminder to parents, the importance of loving your child for who they are. Her patience and wisdom inspire us daily. Hats off to Mother Earth, Mrs. Kathy Radakovich (Eastern Elementary School) and cheers to the many lives she impacts each day! - Jenny and Jason Walter

Ms. Bee at Cherry Knoll has done a tremendous job helping my daughter catch up after a rough year in kindergarten. My daughter is a much stronger reader and the confidence she feels about reading shows every day. We appreciate her and what she does each day with all the little ones. - M. Keene-Hinds

I would like to say a big thank you to Mrs. Ballmer of Glenn Loomis (Montessori). Our family has been so fortunate to have both of our daughters have her as a teacher. Mrs. Ballmer is a wonderful balance of being kind, gentle and encouraging to her students yet able to keep them on track with a calmness. That is a gift all on its own. She was born to be a teacher. She was absolutely a perfect fit for both my girls. My kids both absolutely love her. She does a wonderful job individualizing each child's needs and really cares for each of her students and it really shows. Thank you to her assistant and Ms. Ann (Walsh) too. Glenn Loomis is a wonderful school. Thank You to all of Glenn Loomis's dedicated teachers and staff! - Shannon Steiner

Mrs. Jackson is our son's third grade teacher at Central Grade, and she is AMAZING! Our son feels so loved and as a result is more eager to learn. She is so positive and proactive, and we are consistently in the loop about activities or about Bryce's progress. Mrs. Jackson works so hard for her kids and never "punches out," as we have realized through her weekend and weeknight Class Dojo messages. As a result of wonderful teachers, past (Erika Olvey / Erin Oleson) and present, our son will be a lifelong reader, and we can't thank you enough! - The Hawkins Family

Kristen Ryder (Willow Hill/TBAISD) does a fantastic job connecting with students, and is truly wonderful at what she does. She can make a child, and parents, feel at ease during difficult times. She is relatable, knowledgeable and down to earth. She is also, “the nicest person in the entire school” according to my children. Thank you, Mrs. Ryder, for all that you do. - Lauren Creighton

We would like to thank Mrs. LaBarre at Eastern Elementary for not only being an amazing teacher but also for her dedication to ensuring each student of hers feels special and cared for. She fosters a positive learning environment where our son has a real sense of belonging. Her focus on not just academics but truly instilling core values of kindness and empathy are lessons that we hope will stay with our son throughout his life. We couldn't have asked for a better second grade teacher, thank you!  - The O'Berski family

Dr. Markley (Central High School) has supported my son’s growth as a musician and student by recognizing his individual needs and going above and beyond to challenge him beyond his comfort zone. - Amy Cox

Mrs. Eileen Bee (Cherry Knoll Elementary School) is a great encourager of our son’s best qualities. She makes sure to positively reinforce good behaviors and choices, and her class content keeps him engaged and excited about learning. She is a strong example and supportive of us as parents as well. We are very happy she has been our son’s teacher this year. Thank you, Mrs. Bee! - A Cherry Knoll Family

I would just like to thank Mrs. Thomas (Willow Hill Elementary School). She has been so supportive and provided so much patience and guidance to my son. He was out of class for some time this winter and she put in extra time and work to make sure he was always kept up to date. We appreciate all of the teachers, but she’s extra special and we are so grateful she was his teacher this year! Thank you, Mrs. Thomas!! - K. Allgaier

As first time Kindergarten parents, my wife and I were very nervous for our little guy entering Kindergarten. We have the pleasure of having Mrs. Anderson for our son.  What an amazing teacher!!  Our son adores her.  Not only is he reaching amazing academic goals, his behavior has been changing at home throughout the year.  He takes what he has learned socio-emotionally and has applied it to his everyday life.  She is also amazing at communicating with us almost on a daily basis. We could not have been more lucky with Mrs. Anderson and the whole staff at Courtade Elementary. - Mathew Price

We are so thankful for ALL the wonderful staff at Eastern Elementary! Our son has had an amazing kindergarten experience there. We also can’t say enough great things about Ms. Edwardson. She is kind, patient, loving, and connects with her students in a beautiful way. She is all the things a kindergarten teacher should be, and we are beyond grateful that our son is in her class. Thank you for all you do, Eastern Elementary staff!!! - The Attwood Family

We have two students at Willow Hill and we are so thankful for both of their teachers. It truly takes a special person with a caring, compassionate heart (not to mention an insane amount of patience) to be a teacher. Mrs. Collins is one of the most caring and compassionate teachers I have ever met. She goes above and beyond for each and every student. My son has experienced so much growth this year and I know it is directly related to the support and guidance Mrs. Collins has given him. Mrs. Peplinski has a passion for learning that is contagious! My son is excited for school and loves to hear Mrs. Peplinski's stories. He has struggled with reading and this year with her guidance and support, he has improved and leaps and bounds! Thank you both for everything you do to support your students and families; you both are an incredible part of the Willow Hill community. - Tiera Nyland

Our family would love to take this opportunity to send a huge THANK YOU to the entire staff at Eastern Elementary and in particular Ms. Edwardson, Ms. Feaster, and Ms. Brasington for all of your amazing efforts this year. We are truly blessed to be surrounded by such caring and truly empathetic individuals who are not only committed to our children’s academic success but also their social and emotional wellbeing. Thank you for going above and beyond the call of duty each and every day - we are forever grateful! With much love, The Doerr Family

Sarah Hartwig (Central Grade School) was my daughter’s preschool teacher this past year. She has done an amazing job and has really helped me with the transition of my baby girl being in school. She is an excellent teacher and always updates on events and things going on at the school. She has been so thoughtful and understanding! I would just like to say a big thank you for being the best teacher, I’m so glad my daughter was put into your preschool class MWF. - Corrie Reyna

I would like to thank Mrs. Jody Meyers at West Middle School. My daughter has spoken so highly of her all year long. Mrs. Meyers is very caring and understanding toward all of her students, and this has made quite an impression on my daughter.  Mrs. Meyers takes the time to help her students feel good about themselves, and this is so important! Thank you for being a bright in my daughter's day! With appreciation - Stephanie Schall-Brazee

My daughter loved having Mr. Girton (East Middle School) for weights/conditioning this year. He gave her the tools and techniques to build not only her strength but also her confidence in basketball and volleyball. - The Parker Family

Ms. Overheul, 2nd grade at Traverse Heights, we just cannot say enough about this amazing woman. She has helped transform my shy, super to himself, guy into a very confident young man. He feels proud of his accomplishments and has made many new friends this year. He even wanted to join a sports team - which was always a big fat NO before. Her patience and understanding in the classroom and beyond or so much appreciated. She is always thinking of fun new ways to keep the kids learning, and she has always made sure that she is challenging the children to their potential. We cannot thank her enough for this amazing year she has given to our son. Much love - The Wilsons

I would like to extend a huge thank you to Mrs. Kronk and Mrs. McCall at Long Lake Elementary. They have both been so patient, kind and caring in helping my daughter adjust to kindergarten. It was a big transition, with a few more transitions throughout the year with Mrs. McCall welcoming her son and they have both been so incredibly helpful and patient helping my daughter through each one. - C. Wujcik

Mrs. McConnell (Eastern Elementary School) made our day last Friday. Tom and I were just finishing up a work breakfast. My phone beeps with a text. She had sent me a video of our daughter jumping up in front of the whole class to share her strategy for a math problem about elapsed time. Mrs. McConnell was telling me how proud she was of her! The reason why it's such a big deal is my daughter was doing so terribly bad in math just a few months ago and dreaded the subject, and was really struggling. She never ever raised her hand, and had zero confidence. It was just such an unexpected surprise, and so very thoughtful of her to share it. We were so very proud... And it was sweet that she was just as proud of our little girl!  - ​Teri Gorsline

A huge shout out to Blaise Lowe, Lauren Pinto, Andy Wares and Amy Kane (West Senior High School) for always being on top of things. What a great team! Thank you! ~ Candan Sevimli

I would like to thank Mrs. Gallagher at EMS. She is extremely dedicated, and my child has greatly appreciated her support for the past two years. As a parent, I can't thank her enough. I am at ease knowing my child is safe, and she always has a trusted adult on her side. THANK YOU, Mrs. Gallagher! - EMS Parent

Jean DuCheney (Courtade), thanks for the smiles you have brought me on the many occasions I have opened my mail to find a nice thank you or a great article from the newspaper and of course, the sweet treats that come with it. Your thoughtfulness is so appreciated. - RaeAnn Fiebing

Share Your Stories

Staff Appreciation Week is May 6th-10th and we would like to invite you to share your stories about how our dedicated staff makes a difference in the life of your child.

You can share your “thank yous” by emailing or by sending a private message to our TCAPS Facebook page. We will be compiling responses and sharing them throughout the week as a way to show our deepest gratitude and appreciation for our amazing staff. A little story goes a long way in brightening someone’s day. Thank you in advance for taking the

Day 3: We Are Better Together

I would be remiss if I didn't take the time to call attention to the team at Blair Elementary School and everything they've done for our family. Luan Ross and Susan Stegmeyer are amazing for all the hard work they do in the Early Childhood Special Education preschool classroom with my son and his peers. Their guidance and care, along with the support of Grey Meyer, Jane Laferriere and Lisa Burtt via the TBAISD, has helped our son make great strides this year. Mrs. Ross, in particular, has gone the extra mile by always taking the time to break down a rough day for us via an after hours email and making time to meet whenever we ask. I'd also like to thank Jeffrey May, and the positive influence he's had on our daughter as she struggled to adjust to life at a new school. He was constantly the highlight of her day at school, always going out of his way to make sure that she felt confident and safe. Thank you all for the selfless work you take on every day! - Jeremiah & Michelle Prentice

Just want to send a thank you to all the TCAPS staff for your hard work and dedication. Every one of you share a part in making this a great district from teachers, custodians, and aides to bus drivers, kitchen staff, support staff and anyone who meets the needs of our students. It has been a pleasure to work with all of you these past 5 1/2 years and TCAPS will continue to do great things with your support. - Doris Ellery

I think Mr. Schrock was born to be an elementary school principal. My daughter, and our entire family love him! He’s always so positive and upbeat, and loves to make the kids in the school smile. But, I can’t say one bad thing about ANY faculty member at Traverse Heights. I love the environment my daughter is in, and I love the amazing support she gets. Mrs. Budd does an amazing job teaching my daughter things that other people have failed to get her to understand. And I love the amount of communication I get from her. And my daughter LOVES seeing Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Ufer in the mornings. She loves going to school and I’m sure the majority of it is the way she gets treated. I’m so grateful that I chose Traverse Heights as her school. Thank ALL of you so much for creating a positive environment for all of the kiddos there! I can’t wait for my boys to have that experience in a couple years! - Lauren Bickel

I’d like to thank my children’s teachers, Tracy Rucker, Jen Hisem, Jen Tank and Laurie Tuck (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis) who are dedicated, hardworking and have been diligent in the academic and social/emotional success of my children. I’m grateful that they put their whole hearts into what they do and the growth in my children as a whole are proof of that. It takes a village and I am so thankful for this village of wonderful, caring, smart, and innovative women who have contributed so much in my children’s lives. I’d also like to thank the very hard work of Julie Hay, Katrina Walter, Mark Goldman, Theresa LaDuke and Sandy Beyer who have incredibly difficult jobs but do it with humor and grace and have also made a significant impact in the school success of my son. Last but definitely not least, I’d like to thank my classroom partner-in-crime, Liz Vogel for being my inspiration, friend and role model. The amount of hard work she puts in every single day is awe-inspiring and I am lucky that I get to witness it and be a part of it. Her heart and smarts are unrivaled! Thank you - Bonnie Wagner

As we prepare for the graduation of our second daughter, we would like to give a heartfelt thanks to all the staff in TCAPS who have been a part of our girls’ lives. From the amazing preschool staff at Oak Park, to the loving staff of Silver Lake, to the fantastic team builders of West Middle, to the patient and encouraging staff of TC West (Senior High)--- we thank you.  Please know you are all appreciated! - The Wyatt Family

Our Willow Hill family is the finest! A shout out to the first grade teachers, Mrs. Tumey, Mrs. Chase, and Miss Peck who meet the unique needs of each of our kids and always keep their best interest at heart. Thank you to all of our specials and reading teachers - Mrs. Topol, Mr. Hysell, Mrs. Gang, Mrs. Brazee, and Mrs. Nelson who work their magic 1-3x a week. Thank you to Mrs. Phend, Mrs. Forton, and Principal Sides-McKay who hold down the fort each and every day. Thank you to the custodial staff, food services staff, recess staff; Willow Hill operates at its best because of your hard work. Also a big thank you to Mr. Brian and Miss Sandy, our bus drivers who safely (and with good humor) get our kids to/from school every day. We count ourselves lucky and thankful each and every day because of all of you. -  The Runyon-Wierman Family

Mrs. Hathaway, at Silver Lake Elementary is absolutely fantastic! She really has gone above and beyond for our daughter this year, making sure she has all the resources she needs to have a successful year. We can really tell that she cares our her success and she cares about her as a person. We couldn’t be more grateful that she is our daughter’s teacher! - The Bennett Family

At work I say that I have the best job ever because of the people that I work with. Liz Sievers (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis) is such an amazing coworker, she has been my mentor, teacher and friend. Liz often goes above and beyond for the staff and students at Montessori, sometimes in ways that others never know. I have watched Liz put socks on a student that didn't have any and put together a basket for a staff member going through a challenging time. - Liz Yarch

We are incredibly grateful for the support our daughter received from the Olympia Office staff and her teachers at West Senior High School throughout this school year - shout out to Amy Kane, Andy Wares, Maria Chargo, Tak Ready, Rachel Noller, Matthew Griesinger, Chad Mielens and Eric Ranke. Our daughter suffered a serious concussion in the Fall after being rear-ended while driving home from school, and her recuperation contributed to her missing a significant amount of school time. The understanding and flexibility shown by the staff helped her to catch up with the subject matter she missed while also completing her missed assignments at a pace she could manage. Thank you - Mike & Mary Foley

My son is in kindergarten at Eastern this year with Mrs. Owen. I am grateful for the care and attention shown by the Eastern administrative staff. They make a point to get to know the families. This is critical in my opinion to keep our school community bonds strong and safe. Thank you! - Kristen Talaga

I would like to thank Ms. Amy at Westwoods Elementary. Between the three of my children, I have watched her faithfully show up over the last 14 years and keep the school clean and safe for all! She is always busy with such a challenging job, but is so approachable and is always kind. Thank you, Ms. Amy, for ALL you do! - The Shuff Family

To everyone at Central High School who has taught, helped, or worked with my son, thank you so much! He started at Central this year, in 10th grade, after being at GTA for all his previous school experience, and not only has he liked Central, he's thrived there! His uniqueness has remained intact, and I believe that is due to all the wonderful people he's encountered at Central, from teachers to counselors and principals, office staff, students, and everyone in between. Thank you, all of you, for helping and appreciating my boy. - Amy Spitzley

We would like to give a shout out and thank you to a few teachers at West Senior High. Tak Ready has instilled a passion for politics in my daughter we did not see coming. She is very knowledgeable and loves to discuss topics in our daily news, history, and our Constitution. At election time this past November, she talked to some of our adult friends and was able to inform them about policies and candidates. Mr. Ready has ignited this in her in his AP Government class. Way to go Mr. Ready!  Also, after our daughter took the SAT, she felt very prepared by Diana Lyon-Schumacher, Aimee Cole, and Carl Edgren. Thank you and Go Titans!  -Suzanne and Jake Kaberle

I would like to personally thank Lauren Kiella, our social worker at Central Grade School. She works tirelessly to make our school a safe place to learn. Lauren puts her whole heart into her work, puts students first, and leads by example. Her work is extremely difficult yet she does it with grace and determination. I appreciate her dedication to our students and staff. - Erika Olvey

A huge thank you to Mrs. Hebert at East Middle School. She is an amazing human! She is smart, kind, funny, loving and the kids at EMS absolutely adore her. She goes above and beyond duty every single day to meet the diverse needs of every EMS students. Thank you Mrs. Hebert!  - Cocklin Family

Mrs. Coulter and Mrs. McDonald in the office at Cherry Knoll have always been incredibly compassionate with kiddos in and out of the office. They are also very kind and friendly even when there are several families waiting to speak with them and the phone is ringing at the same time. They are amazing at their jobs and deserve recognition!  Thank you!  - M. Keene-Hinds

We are so thankful for the staff at Courtade Elementary! The school community that is fostered by Principal Fetters, the teachers, and support staff in that building is phenomenal. This year our oldest was fortunate to learn with/from  Mr. Simons. Mr. Simons creates meaningful, creative, and challenging lessons each day that encourage our son (and his peers) to work hard. He is a positive male role model for all students. Mr. Simons often brings music into the classroom by playing his guitar/ukulele or creating a humorous song that coordinates with a lesson. Our son comes home each day excited to share what he has learned. Thank you Mr. Simons!  We are also so very thankful for the year our younger son has spent with Mrs. Sanders! She is continuously challenging her students in all subject areas, encouraging them to make real-life connections, and motivating them to do their best work. She piques our child's interest in science and how things work, takes the time to allow students to learn hands-on, and brings happiness and fun into learning each day.  Thank you Mrs. Sanders! -The DeMarsh Family

We transferred to Eastern this year, in search of an excellent preschool program, and we certainly hit the jackpot with Ms. Julie and Ms. Wendy! These two women are the epitome of warmth and kindness. They are so gentle, patient, and sweet with kiddos. They communicate with parents so very well, and they are ALWAYS happy. How is this possible? No bad days in the PreK room at Eastern, that's for sure. I feel so connected to these women, I'm tempted to bear hug them every morning. Such a ray of sunshine, and the best start to school possible for my son. Thank you! - Jaclyn Clever

An immense thanks to Rebecca McGillivary, Theresa LaDuke, and Lisa VanLoo at Glenn Loomis Montessori. These ladies have gone above and beyond and have been very consistent at taking extra time with us, to make sure we are where we need to be. We had changed schools last year in November of 2018, due to my new employment. And Lisa and Rebecca really made our transition feel great. We have a vast amount of appreciation and gratefulness to have their support. We really can't thank you enough. - Willow Goss.

TCAPS would be lost without Sophie Legault-Bradley (Technology) who always finds a way to make it work. Thank you, Sophie, for all the work you have done on improving the early childhood registration process, BrightArrow assistance, and every other random request that comes your way. You are a pleasure to work with. - RaeAnn Fiebing

We would like to thank Jill Jenkins and Missy Waskiewicz for all they to do support the staff and students at Eastern Elementary. They give so much of themselves to care for others and make sure every student feels safe and loved. I don't know many people who can multitask the way they do and somehow they always seem to have a smile to share. Jill and Missy don't get enough credit and we hope they know how very much we appreciate both of them! -The LaBarre Family

I'm late in the game, but never too late to say a big thank you to the West Senior High School staff!!! I worked in school admin for three years and I personally know it's the toughest job. We appreciate all you do caring for the kids who will make our future. Bless you all!!! - Jessica Young

I would just like to thank everyone at Eastern Elementary for welcoming my daughter who just started there this week. We just moved to TC and I know it’s hard on a child to change schools during the school year, but she loves her new school and can’t wait until it’s time for me to take her back the next day! - Kerri-Ann Bonaddio

I’d like to express my appreciation for all of my twin boys’ teachers, Mrs. Olson, Mrs. Getchel, and especially Mrs. Heinz (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis). Mrs. Heinz’s bright smile and cheerful attitude greets the boys every morning at drop off, and makes the separation process so much easier.  She makes them feel welcome in the classroom, and gives them the little extra encouragement they need to participate with their older peers. We have happened to run into her at various community events, and she always has a huge smile and hello for the boys. We’re so thankful to have her as part of our boys’ educational team! - Jane Price

How can we adequately thank the teachers, aides, custodians, crossing guards, administrators and administrative assistants that spend so much time and effort loving and teaching our kids? I appreciate the whole staff at Willow Hill. Every time I walk through the doors, or stand outside the school I am grateful that my kids go there. Mrs. McManus is just the kindest, most loving teacher and we are so thankful that our son is in her classroom. He is learning so much and growing in so many ways thanks to her! Ms. Mary has had both our kids for their first school experiences, and I don’t know what we would have done without her reassurance and patience. She makes the little ones feel safe and loved all day long. - Katie Fain

Mrs. Marek at Eastern Elementary is the epitome of a Kindergarten teacher; moreover - she makes it look EASY! We are so thankful for her patient, kind, and steadfast demeanor. She seems to have mastered the task of growing a group of energetic newbies into enthusiastic and eager learners. We so appreciated her understanding, accommodating, and collaborating to find solutions to several unique challenges that arose for our daughter this year.  Thank you, Mrs. Marek, you are extraordinary!  - The Reynolds Family

Mary Beth Stein (Human Resources) is such a huge support for all of the administrative assistants within TCAPS. She answers all of my questions with grace, she is a huge resource of wisdom. So happy that we have MaryBeth to call on whenever we need help! - Liz Yarch

Mrs. Doriot and Mrs. Decker from TC High are absolutely amazing! Their dedication to helping my daughter succeed in school is above and beyond. I will forever be grateful for their kindness and support. They are making a huge positive impact on my child and all the children at TC High. THANK YOU! - Anonymous

Amy McDonald and Laurie Coulter at Cherry Knoll are two of the friendliest, most helpful people I have encountered in any office, in any industry. TCAPS is very fortunate to have both of them on staff! - Jerome F. Hartl

I am so grateful to Alison Wright (Westwoods Elementary School) 3rd grade teacher for her dedicated, quality teaching to our kids; My daughter who attends her class has shown great improvement in reading, math and in general socializing with other kids (she used to be so shy). The things I truly admire from Mrs. Wright is her “Patience and Creativity.” I do understand that being a teacher is not easy, all kids are different, they might have different needs; but in my case, she reached out to us parents to make sure we are doing our part in supporting our kids. Whenever we face a challenge within our daughter’s education she’s always there to guide us, making suggestions on what could work better for our kid, working together as a team. The knowledge Mrs. Wright is providing for our daughter is extraordinary, and I really have no words to express how thankful I am for that! I know for a fact that Mrs. Wright is someone so important in my daughter’s life; And for that I just pray that she continue to be blessed for her kindness, for her teaching talent and just for the amazing person she is!!!! Once again, Thank You so much for all you do Mrs. Wright! - Juniel R.

I would like to thank Gene Brzezinski and Ben Amon from Operations for their continued dedication to customer service and to being fully present at each and every event that the district has asked for their assistance with (All Staff Kick Off, Governor’s Visit). You both are a pleasure to work with and I couldn’t thank you enough. - RaeAnn Fiebing

Mandy (Ford) in the office at Traverse Heights is a breath of fresh air. if you need a laugh - she has it. If you need a hug - she has it. - If you need to cry - she will give you a shoulder. She is truly the backbone at our school. The kids adore her. I know we do too. Just wanted to publicly thank you for everything that you do for the kids, the staff and the parents. And especially all of your assistance with PTO. I do not know how I would survive this without your help!! So much love to you - The Wilsons

Erika Lahti in the HR department is amazing! She goes above and beyond to help teachers and staff. She is incredibly timely with email responses and very thorough with explanations. Her willingness to help and patience is so appreciated. - Erika Olvey

Many thanks to West Middle School staff Kathryn Baumann, Marci Perthes, and Jody Meyers for hosting a parent information night about the risks of screen time for young people. They provided excellent information about how screen time can stress our children’s (and our own) brains impacting memory, self-control and emotions. They also shared valuable tips and tools to help control and monitor our children’s screen time. We’re lucky to have Kathryn, Marci and Jody as a resource and I hope this information gets passed on throughout TCAPS! - Elizabeth Dell

Thanks to our Central Grade School Superstar staff for making our school the best place to learn in Traverse City! We appreciate each and every staff member for working hard to help our students and adults grow. Our staff is truly inspiring! Thanks for helping us raise our happy and enlightened sons. - Erika Olvey

Our first experience to Eastern was after our daughter (a new kid) fell on the new playground the 2nd week of school! We didn't know any of the staff at that point. Of course it didn't hurt she became an instant rockstar as the ambulance and fire truck showed up! She had completely dislocated her arm.   We had never met Biz (Ruskowski), and she was such a sweetie.. texting and calling to check in on our daughter in the ER. Even offering to bring over dinner for us! On returning back to school, in a big arm cast all of our daughter's class had made her personal get well cards (thank you Ms. McConnell!!) and there was a line just to sign her cast. I believe it was a blessing as she was missing her old friends and old school before this happened. Everyone was so very kind to her and made her feel so welcome, and cared about. It was the best experience to realize how much we all loved our new school!! - ​Teri Gorsline

I just want to thank Mr. Tisdale, Ms. Deb, and Mrs. Wilcox. My daughter has thoroughly enjoyed her first year at Central Grade! Thank you for making her feel welcome. It's amazing that, in such a large school, the students still receive one-on-one time to the level that Central Grade provides. I'm sure that takes a lot of effort and hard work! A couple of funny comments she's said recently about Mr. Tisdale… "Mr. Tisdale is just like Santa and the Easter Bunny. He's always looking for boys and girls being nice." Over the weekend, we visited the playground. She walked over to the swings to straighten some that were twisted and said, "I better fix this. Mr. Tisdale would not be happy to see them twisted." She was so proud to show her baby sister the playground and school. We look forward to seeing what the future holds at Central Grade! - Erin Kricher

Share Your Stories

Staff Appreciation Week is May 6th-10th and we would like to invite you to share your stories about how our dedicated staff makes a difference in the life of your child.

You can share your “thank yous” by emailing or by sending a private message to our TCAPS Facebook page. We will be compiling responses and sharing them throughout the week as a way to show our deepest gratitude and appreciation for our amazing staff. A little story goes a long way in brightening someone’s day. Thank you in advance for taking the time to recognize our wonderful staff.

Day 2: Caring for Each Student

This is our first year in the TCAPS system. With so many schools to choose from, it felt like such a big decision. However, after meeting Kristen Schoonover, who came highly recommended, we knew our son would have a wonderful Kindergarten experience. Not only has it been a great year for him, but it has been such a positive experience I know he will enjoy being a Cougar in the years to come.  We couldn't be happier with our decision to have him attend Courtade Elementary. Thank you Mrs Schoonover for being such a kind and caring teacher. Your hard work doesn't go unnoticed. Also thank you to all of the other teachers, front desk staff and principal, Mrs. Fetters, for all you do for our kids! You are so appreciated! - The Cupp Family

Our family is incredibly grateful for Mrs. Collins (4th Grade Willow Hill). She is a kindhearted person who goes above and beyond for her students, and truly cares about them. It takes a special person to be a teacher, but to be a really good teacher, that has a positive impact on children’s lives, that is someone very special. Thank you, Mrs. Collins, for all that you do.  - Lauren Creighton

Ms. Julie Bott (Eastern Elementary School) has taught both of my children preschool, and she is truly a gem.  She is ALWAYS smiling, and I know how challenging a room full of 4 and 5 year olds can be, so the fact that I've never seen her "in a bad mood" amazes me! She is happy and cheerful whenever I interact with her, and she is hands down one of the nicest people I know! My son has had two surgeries in the past 3 years, and each time she made him a "get well" bag, full of goodies to make him feel better. My daughter has had major separation anxiety this year, and Julie texts me pictures of her happy and playing with friends, in order to ease my mind (since she is often crying when I leave). We love her! She goes WAY above and beyond the call of duty, and when your child is in her classroom, you know he/she is in great hands!  - Ali Kozan

Our daughter has had a very positive experience riding the bus home from school the past two years. "Miss Mary" (Transportation) has made the ride home something our daughter looks forward to and talks about with us at home. Miss Mary has accommodated a seat up front that alleviates some of our daughter's worry on the bus, which has lead to pleasant rides and enjoyable conversation between Mary and our daughter. Miss Mary asks about art and music and our daughter's hobbies and even donated plants last year to a community garden she works at in the summer. Miss Mary, you have a special place in our hearts for all you do for our daughter and the other children who ride your bus every day. Thank you - Jeff Culver and Allyson McBride-Culver

Mrs. Janelle McPherson at Westwoods Elementary - She is a beam of positive energy and light. Every time I see her she has a huge smile on her face that is absolutely contagious. Her passion and enthusiasm for teaching is so apparent and we are forever grateful for her and her impact on our son. - Jonathan and Cate Moe

Mrs. Harper at Central High School has been such a positive influence on our son. She encourages him in his talent and is always willing to help him with questions and projects, even when it is on her own time. Her love of art and her students is wonderful. - N. Pszczolkowski

Moving mid-year to a place we'd never been, where we had no family, knew no one, and didn't even have a home was not only stressful, but terrifying for our family. My husband and I worried constantly about how our 3 kids (3, 5, and 7 years old) would transition. Paula Sandviet and Erika Schwartz were the first angels we encountered at Westwoods. Erika was so helpful, patient, and kind as we got our kids enrolled at Westwoods, and when our daughter was placed in Paula's class and my sons were placed in Mrs. Jesse-McPherson's class and Mrs. Johnson's class, we were finally able to breathe. These women have showed such intense care, compassion, and flat out love for our kids. All three kids are comfortable, confident, and feel at home in their new school. There are no words to thank you enough for the impact you have made and continue to make not only on our kids, but on our whole family. - Beth Carson

Our family would like to give special appreciation to Becky McGillivary, lower el teacher at TCAPS Montessori. Becky has encouraged, challenged and supported both of our kids throughout 1st, 2nd & 3rd grades. One is finishing up 5th grade in the TAG program and the other is entering the TAG program this fall. Becky helped prepare each of them for their further educational success. This is our 5th and final year with a student in Becky’s classroom. She will be dearly missed in our daily lives next year!  - The Kirby Family

I would like to thank Mrs. Rossan from Courtade. My daughter is in her pre-k class and she absolutely loves going to school! We have watched our daughter improve academically, as well as emotionally. Cathy has a calm, caring, and kind way about her and we appreciate her so much! Thank you for providing such a positive environment for her first year of school! - K. Watkins

My family and I would like to recognize a few of the exceptional staff members at Willow Hill Elementary. Our children get to start their day with a greeting from Mrs. Sides-McKay (Principal) and Mr. Albert (Lead Custodian) they are met with a smile, fist bump, or high five, that sort of enthusiasm is contagious! In the classroom our youngest is met by Mrs. Tammy McManus and let me tell you she is loved beyond measure by our girls, she is just the best!! Our oldest daughter has the pleasure of being in Mrs. Peplinski's class, she is kind and goes out of her way to make sure all feel so welcome! And last but certainly not least Mrs. Becky Huggard, she is referred to almost daily as the "Best Part of My Day" by our oldest daughter!  Thank you for being so GREAT!! - S. Dennis-Parker and Family

Ms. Kelly Bevier (Oak Park Preschool) was born for her job in the early childhood field. Her kind demeanor and patience for all students inspires me as an early childhood educator daily. Ms. Kelly has been a huge part in shaping our two boys while laying an amazing foundation for academic learning. Her genuine love for her job is felt through every interaction with her, even those tough ones to face as a parent. Ms. Kelly continues to go out of her way to focus on student strengths in the classroom that allow all students to feel loved, supported and successful each day. Her efforts are felt by both parents and students as these fabulous little ones begin to transfer that learning to their life outside the classroom. Ms. Kelly we are so lucky to have you in our lives. Thank you for helping us shape our children into kind, empathetic, giving human beings.  - Jenny and Jason Walter

A huge shout out to Mary Radecki at Central Grade. Mary has been teaching for over 30 years and every day seems like her first - she is always ready to roll, a smile on her face, and always has a ton of energy and enthusiasm. Not only does Mary teach PE in a way that is exciting and fun, Mary also rolled out the PE LAB four years ago. In LAB she combines movement and teaching reading in a way that students are engaged and having a blast. She works closely alongside classroom teachers to ensure that she is teaching the same objectives and goals that teachers are working on in the classroom, which reinforces learning to these students. Mary has close to 200 students she works with daily (!) - She knows all of their names and makes each one feel special. Mary works tirelessly not only in her teaching, but also does a lot of behind the scenes in gathering data and tracking her students' progress. We have been blessed that both of our children have had Mrs. Radecki as a teacher- they still love to see her in the hallways and even volunteer to help out in her classroom, which they love. Every child can't wait to see Mrs. Radecki and that's because of her love and passion for teaching. Thank you for your time and dedication, Mary! You are an amazing teacher! - The Johns Family  

As parents of two Eastern Stars, we are in awe of how much love and care our teachers have portrayed in the lives of our kids. Mrs. Feaster, Mrs. Brott, and Mrs. Marek have created an environment where our kids feel safe, loved, and in turn, they want to go to school. Our kids always have wonderful things to say about their teachers, assistant teachers, and Eastern staff. We can just tell from the eyes of our kids how much they look up to each of you. My husband and I give the teachers our utmost respect for your ongoing patience and persistence with our “energetic” kiddos, and are in complete admiration of how much our kids have progressed academically in a year’s time with each of you. Thank you for impacting our children’s lives and enabling their academic growth. You guys are our heroes!  - Judy and Jeff Spencer

Mrs. Adamczak (Silver Lake Elementary School) displays great characteristics not only as a teacher but as a role model for her class. She has shown great patience with not only my daughter but many other children. I have seen this on a first hand basis while parent volunteering in her class. She takes her time with each child to make sure they have the knowledge they need to succeed. She also is not afraid to communicate honestly with how my child is doing, that is greatly appreciated!  My daughter just adores Mrs. Adamczak and has made the start of her 12 years in school a great experience. We as a whole family are forever grateful for a wonderful teacher. We look forward to the rest of the school year! Thank you Mrs. Adamczak, we could not have gotten through this kindergarten year without you! - Destiny Roe

I would like to personally Thank Mr. Kay 6th grade principal at West Middle School. Mr. Kay has made such an impact in our son's 6th grade year. He made it his mission to reach out to our son and connect with him as well as connect our son with good resources! All to help our son achieve his highest potential. It is evident to me as a parent that his students are a priority and the level of communication Mr. Kay has given our family is invaluable! With out Mr. Kay taking the initiative to get interested in our son's education this year definitely could have turned out much different. I appreciate the time, energy, support, advice, care and understanding Mr. Kay has shown to our family! Mr. Kay truly is an asset to the West Middle School Staff! From the very bottom of my heart THANK YOU MR. KAY!!!! - Candy Bint

My daughter was fortunate to have had Mrs. Winterman (Central Grade School) for both 1st and 2nd grade. She is an amazing teacher and is such a great role model for her students. My daughter has thrived in her classroom and has developed a love for all subjects. My daughter loves reading and math and I believe that is due in large part to Mrs. Winterman's teaching. Sarah is also a great communicator with parents keeping them informed of issues, progress, etc. Her weekly 'top dog' incentive is such a motivator to students and provides great recognition for respectful behavior. She has had an impact in teaching our daughter how important 'random acts of kindness' are every day. We are truly grateful that our daughter had the opportunity to learn and be influenced by such an amazing woman. Thank you Mrs. Winterman for all you do! - Beth & John Dunckel

We are truly grateful to everyone at Long Lake Elementary for making the transition to a new school comfortable for our 1st grader and 3rd grader. Our son, who thought it was going to be "terrible to go to a different school," quickly found someone to convince him otherwise. AJ Gorenflo recognized his apprehension and compassionately helped him open up to the new experience, make new friends, and even admit to liking the new place. Thank you for that, AJ. Kelly DeLonge is another person who deserves all kinds of praise. She continues, even in May, to inspire our 1st grade daughter to love school--all parts of it. But most importantly, to me, Kelly has also managed to cultivate and allow for our daughter's joyful spirit. This spirit (and the social nature that it brings with it) can be tricky. Every day this kid walks out of that building with a smile on her face. They have had a wonderful year filled with change, growth, smiles, and laughs. Again, thank you to the entire school community for all you do for all of the children you serve. - Larissa VanderZee and Matthew Dumon

I would like to thank Abbey Kaufman for being such a bright light in the lives of all the students at Eastern Elementary. Abbey is a special education teacher at Eastern but her role is far larger than that. She works tirelessly to make sure each and every student is celebrated, loved, and appreciated. Abbey has established strong bonds with so many children and they all admire her for her positive outlook on life and the fact that she doesn't give up on them. Thank you, Abbey, for focusing on the child first and meeting their social and emotional needs. There is no one else like you and YOU matter! - Mandy LaBarre

I’ve seen this class grow so much this year. It’s so fun seeing them progress and learn throughout the year and no doubt to the credit of Mrs. Adamczak (Silver Lake Elementary School) and the support staff she has in her room. Her and her team’s perseverance, commitment and consistency have really shown and I’m so appreciatively that! - Pickard Family

I’d like to thank Coach Jason Morrow (West Senior High School) for the attention and encouragement he has given my son in the classroom and in the weight room. My son’s confidence and self-esteem has grown immensely during the time he has spent with Coach Morrow and he is a genuinely good guy along with being a good coach and teacher. Thank you for all you’ve done for my son! - Brian Steele

A big shout out to Shelby McCool, Administrative Assistant, at Central Grade School.  She greets kids at the front office enthusiastically every morning and knows each and every one of them personally. Her upbeat and encouraging banter in the morning and throughout the school day visibly perks up the students and puts smiles on their faces each and every day. - Judy Arnold

Ms. Fles at Traverse Heights - I do not even know where to begin! You do so much for our school and I would bet that the majority of the people have no clue the amount you do! You are a teacher, an advocate, a PTO representative, a friend, FAMILY!!! You mean the world to us and Traverse Heights is so very lucky to have you around! I have never met a less selfish person in my life. You constantly amaze me - what you will do to help even just one child! All our love and so much more - The Wilsons

A big shout out to Mrs. Winterman at Central Grade School. Mrs. Winterman is such a kind and giving teacher. She is quick to help our daughter when needed during a challenging assignment. Thank you Mrs. Winterman! - Rob and Stephanie Ellul

Mr. Perkins has been an outstanding addition to East Middle School! I'm very thankful for his frequent, positive messages and the work he's doing to create a highly-functioning, positive, and exciting school environment for the kids.  - B. Holmes-Bozung

I would like to take this time to thank Tamie Rosenburg (West Senior High School) for always believing in and helping her students. Tamie has been very instrumental in building our daughter's confidence in math. We hear stories of her sitting with her students and helping them even when they are not asking questions. Tamie also takes the time to make personal connections with her students. I wonder how many kids came home and make the amazing biscuits she shared with her class? Our daughter has made them for every holiday since Thanksgiving! Thank you Tamie for being you! Thank you for taking the time to make those daily connections with all your students. We love you! - Erich and Theresa Wangeman

I wanted to share my appreciation and sincere thank you to our lovely preschool teacher, Ms. Megan (Long Lake Elementary School). She has been in our family for the past 3 years with our second daughter now in her class. When I say she is in our family, I truly mean she feels like part of our family. She has helped our daughter transition into preschool and she has been her rock while a lot of changes were happening at home. Ms. Megan is wonderfully patient with all her kids, I have witnessed her cuddling someone who is tearful in the morning or helping someone find their way to the sink. She uses gentle reminders and is so very thoughtful. She asks about our family and how I am doing, sort of checking in on ME too! We are so very thankful for her dedication and caring personality to help our children grow and learn in the best way! Thank you Ms. Megan for ALL you do. - Emmalee & Jeff Patterson

My son has been in Mrs. LaBarre's 2nd grade class (Eastern Elementary School) and it has been a pleasure for him! She signs every child's planner everyday with a positive message, that, to me, is dedication. I have never had a teacher sign a planner everyday with a message specific to that child like that, and it makes a difference to my son. She is always trying to challenge my son and motivate him to do more, while continuing to praise him and make him feel confident in the work he does. She is also a very easy person in which to communicate. There are many great people at Eastern, but Mrs. Labarre is so great I felt I should email about her today. Thanks for the great work, Mandy.  - Teresa Howse

My son is in the 7th grade. Mr. Taylor (East Middle School) has done a wonderful job of balancing holding my son accountable but also giving him the tools he needed to succeed. I'm very impressed with his dedication to teaching the the writing skills they will need in the years to come. The tough love is great to see and has helped him over the last two years. - T. Wiltse

Ms. Julie and Mrs. Wendy at Eastern show so much love to the preschool kids at Eastern. I'm always impressed in the brave projects they set up; paint, glitter plus 25 other supplies/activities all at one time is no problem for these wonder women. Not to mention keeping track of who comes on what day parents names, siblings and all of the other things happening in these kiddos lives. Thank you for loving these 4 and 5 year olds.  - Sarah G.

Share Your Stories

Staff Appreciation Week is May 6th-10th and we would like to invite you to share your stories about how our dedicated staff makes a difference in the life of your child.

You can share your “thank yous” by emailing or by sending a private message to our External LinkTCAPS Facebook page. We will be compiling responses and sharing them throughout the week as a way to show our deepest gratitude and appreciation for our amazing staff. A little story goes a long way in brightening someone’s day. Thank you in advance for taking the time to recognize our wonderful staff.

Day 1: Going Above & Beyond to Inspire a Love of Learning

Our daughter is currently a junior and has had the wonderful experience of having Ms. Howard (Central High School) as a math teacher. Ms. Emily Howard is not only an amazing math teacher for her current students but Emily goes ABOVE AND BEYOND by continuing to meet with her students during her OWN time such as the lunch hour and after school. Not only is it admirable that she is giving her own time for these students but many of them are past students or sometimes students that have not even had her as a teacher but go to her classroom because she is well known among the student body to be so good at teaching math concepts and giving of her time. Emily is an huge asset to TC Central. As a business person, I’d love to see her special skillset utilized in a larger capacity – possibly in terms of training other staff in explanation of math concepts, working with teens, etc. Appreciative of Emily - Meagan and Erik Luce

Wow! What can I say to tell you how happy we’ve been with Karen Smith at Eastern this year? The kids are learning such an incredible amount. She teaches with fairness and a no-nonsense belief in their ability to achieve and grow, I am in awe of her classroom.  We are bummed to see you retire Mrs. Smith, but thank you for a great year! - Sarah G.

I would love to thank my daughter’s teacher Mrs. Grigal at Central Grade School. My daughter absolutely loves school and is mad when she has to miss a day because she is going to miss out on learning from her amazing teacher. Her reading since Christmas break has just soared. Mrs. Grigal finds so many different ways for them to explore their reading so they don’t even realize they are stretching themselves. I am forever grateful for such a wonderful foundation into upper grades at Central. - T. VanRheenen

I would like to thank David Goodwin (Courtade Elementary School) for being such an inspirational teacher. We have had the pleasure of having him for both of our children and he truly goes above and beyond for each of his students. My oldest is in 11th grade and still says that he is her absolute favorite teacher. He reaches not only their minds but also their hearts. Thank you, David! - S. Ekins

Mrs. Pfost, GSRP at Traverse Heights, is such a sweet, loving, fun and caring preschool teacher. She is always finding ways to to make learning fun for the kiddos and they all just adore her, as do most of the parents. Thank you, Mrs. Pfost for making our son’s first year of school one to remember. All our love - The Wilsons

Thank you to Toby Tisdale and all of the teachers at Central Grade School. As a parent of a fourth grader and a part time employee there, I get the chance to see how dedicated this wonderful group of people are to your children every minute of every day. We are truly lucky to have you all. I also thank the principals, counselors, and teachers at West Middle School. Saying that I am impressed with our daughter's 6th grade year is an understatement, and that is because of you all. - Bill Clark

I would like to give a shout out to Carrie Robbins at WMS (West Middle School). Mrs. Robbins has been amazing with communication to parents. I know what is going on in my son’s classroom and feel connected to his learning. She has created a fun and engaging learning experience for her students. My son says she’s kind, helpful and funny and he thinks she’s the best!  Thank-you, Mrs. Robbins, for making 6th grade ELA and Science a great experience for my son! - Jennifer Johnson

We’d like to add a note of appreciation for Mrs. Shannon Hall at Central Grade School! She works hard to make school fun and engaging! She meets the students where they are and challenges them to succeed. We are thankful to Mrs. Hall for making 2nd grade a positive experience socially, emotionally, and academically. Our son has loved learning with her. - Erika Olvey

I can't say enough good about 'Ms. Terry" (Transportation) who through rain, ice, snow and sunshine has transported my most precious cargo to and from school safely. But she doesn't stop there. She always welcomes my daughter and I with a warm smile every morning and afternoon. Makes the time to talk. Goes out of her way to give the kids snacks and treats a few times a month. She dresses up for holidays. Gives her kids coloring pages and activity books. She is a ray of sunshine for those kids and I feel so safe putting my daughter on the bus because of her. I know she is not only safe on the road but also loved. I've never met a kinder soul. She is truly a gift we are so grateful for. - C. Wujcik

I don’t think I can show my appreciation for our teachers any better than my daughter’s recent opinion essay. “I know that no matter what teacher you get, they will give you lots of knowledge for your life after Eastern Elementary. You will become very smart at Eastern. The teachers will help you when you need it.” I know our entire staff is great! But special thanks to the women who we’ve had the great fortune of being in your class: Mrs. Marek, Mrs. R, Mrs. LaBarre and Mrs. Smith you make a difference every day. - Sarah G.

Special thanks to Mr. Durbin for leading the AP World History class at West Senior High School with energy and dedication. It's a huge amount of material to cover, but he keeps encouraging the students that they are up to the challenge. - M. Lindberg

At East Middle School, Mr. Gabriel Taylor has made an impression on our son. When we ask what happened in school that day, it's almost always a story about an interesting conversation or project in Mr. Taylor's class. He really seems to challenge the kids to think deeply about the subject, and clearly puts a lot of effort into rubrics. -  - B. Holmes-Bozung

We just wanted to say we SO appreciate Ms. Walters (West Middle School) for her work with the yearbook class and particularly our son. She is so encouraging and positive, he just loves working with her. Ms. Walters has inspired him to take yearbook on in high school and also continue to develop his skills in photography. It's so wonderful to see a teacher's work and impression on kids. Thank you, Ms. Walters, for being an inspirational leader. - Nate and Amy Crosslin

I would like to send a HUGE thank you out to Traverse City High! The staff is truly incredible, including the new member Maverick. They go above and beyond daily to meet the needs of the students. My child is successful and going to school, because of their dedication! No words could express my gratitude! -  TCHS Parent

Thank you, Mrs. Paul (Central High School) for always going the extra mile to help our daughter succeed. We appreciate that you take the time to understand how she learns best and are willing to meet with her outside of class to answer and/or clarify any questions. Our daughter feels comfortable asking you for help and knows that you care about her as an individual. As parents, we can’t thank you enough for your amazing communication and for giving our daughter more confidence as a student. We have seen such amazing growth. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! - Chris and Stephanie Jackson

I want to thank Flournoy Humphreys (West Middle School) for leading and encouraging my son in band. She challenges him and teaches him good values. She demands excellence and helps her students achieve it. She makes the music department indispensable. - R. Hicks

My husband and I would like to take a moment to express our gratitude to Sarah Marek, kindergarten teacher at Eastern Elementary. She goes above and beyond the call of duty for her students, day in and day out. Sarah cares deeply for each child's social and emotional well being. We are so grateful for the patience and love she shows to our daughter who never wants to miss a day of school because of the enthusiasm and passion Sarah teaches with. Sarah is a gift to the entire Eastern community! - LaBarre Family

A big THANK YOU to Mr. Hester and Mr. Deneen in the TC Central High School music department. The amount of hours inside, but especially outside the classroom that these men dedicate to the students makes this music program top notch and one of the main reasons we chose TCAPS as our school of choice. Thank you so much for your passion and dedication to excellence!! - Amy Miller

Mr. Veith at TC High is an incredible teacher. My daughter, who never talks about school, came home all excited about being in two of his classes. She said, "Number one: Mr. Veith is awesome and number two: the content of his class is cool!" Thank you Mr. Veith for taking the time to make a difference in my daughter's life! I can never thank you enough! - TCHS Parent

Mrs. Radakovich (Eastern Elementary School) is the epitome of a first grade teacher. She is warm, gracious, genuine, patient but also stern when it's required. We can’t express our gratitude enough and feel so thankful that we were able to be a part of her 2018-2019 class! The Blaha Family

Share Your Stories

Staff Appreciation Week is May 6th-10th and we would like to invite you to share your stories about how our dedicated staff makes a difference in the life of your child.

You can share your “thank yous” by emailing or by sending a private message to our External LinkTCAPS Facebook page. We will be compiling responses and sharing them throughout the week as a way to show our deepest gratitude and appreciation for our amazing staff. A little story goes a long way in brightening someone’s day. Thank you in advance for taking the time to recognize our wonderful staff.

Staff Appreciation Week - May 7-11, 2018

Each year, the Board of Education celebrates staff by designating the first week of May as Staff Appreciation Week. PDF DocumentView 2018 Board Proclamation

Additional Stories Shared

Mrs. Ross from Blair Elementary ECSE has been and continues to be so patient with my son throughout the two years he’s been in her class. I appreciate all that you’ve done, all the different techniques you’ve shared with me. You’ve definitely improved his life, and I can never thank you and all the staff that takes the time to help him enter kindergarten next fall.  - Xee Lao

I want to recognize the contributions of Kate Hansen (TCAPS West Senior High School) for her dedication to growing the Study Abroad Programming offered at West. Her work and passion for teaching the culture have touched the lives of over 100 travelers since 2012. She researched and developed a new program, a Volunteer - Alternative Learning Experience to Guanajuato, Mexico four years ago. The trip is open to any student regardless of language experience in Spanish. They will learn Spanish even if they currently study German or ASL. It's a fun immersion experience and students volunteer in the afternoons at an orphanage for girls and in a canine shelter/rescue. In the past year, she expanded the program to include a sister-school relationship that blossomed through a connection to one of our former elementary Spanish teachers. Mrs. Hansen uses Skype and pen pals to establish matches between our 30 travelers and another 30 students in León, México. It has been one of the most joyful experiences for both our students, who often leave with tears in their eyes, as well as for the students in León. She has organized numerous fundraisers with special help from the Traverse City Masonic Lodge, and her husband John Hansen, to help our students earn over $12,000 towards covering travel expenses through the annual Cinco de mayo dinner event. This story only gets better because plans are being made to offer scholarships to five students from Leon to travel to Michigan for a homestay experience in 2019.  Mrs. Hansen's modeling of the interest and compassion for stray dogs on the streets, young girls without a safe home life, and opening the hearts and minds of West students, has created memories that last a lifetime. The relationships she develops with her students last a lifetime as well. I am very proud to work with her and observe how she instills the desire to learn in her students. - Tamara Batcha

Staff Appreciation Week - Day 5:

Continued Gratitude for Our Outstanding Staff

Both my husband and I had the wonderful experience of having Mrs. Radakovich as a teacher throughout our school years, so we were pleasantly surprised to see her teaching first grade at Eastern when our daughter started kindergarten. When she was placed in Mrs. R’s class for first grade, it was a joy shared throughout our entire family as we knew our daughter would get the experience of the patient and affirming teacher we have such fond memories of. When our family suffered a personal loss this winter deeply felt by our daughter, Mrs. R’s practice of gentleness played an integral role in our daughter’s grieving process, especially on the toughest days for her to leave mom and dad and head to school. Mrs. R is the same inspiring, optimistic, and FUN teacher we grew to love as kids, and we just know our daughter will hold such a special place in her heart for Mrs. R long after she’s finished with school.  —Andy and Kim Jacobson

Thanks to Alicia Olson (TCAPS Montessori) for the amazing work she does. Both our girls 6 and 3 love her and respect her. She is constantly giving us things to help our oldest improve on her reading and keeps us up to date on how our kiddos are doing. We can tell that she really cares. Thanks again -The Haag’s

Laura Monette has been a constant in our son’s life at Westwoods since the day he started preschool.  Being in both before and aftercare on a daily basis, she has developed a great bond with him. She manages a TON of moving parts in providing the extended day services to the school – a service that our family would struggle to be without. She is always engaged with the kids and it is plain to see from seeing their interactions with her that it is not just our son that she has a bond with – she is a student favorite among many.  Just when I think she has done it all in extended day, I also often find her helping in the kindergarten classrooms when we come to events during the day! She is such a great support for these children and as a parent I am so thankful for her! - Ginny Bilacic

I would like to recognize Matt Sherwin at West Senior High School. Mr. Sherwin is filling in for the Career Internship Student Tech teacher whom we tragically lost in a car accident this spring. My son was devastated losing Mrs. Send as he had become very close with. I had never met her but she sounded like a pretty phenomenal teacher. It takes a special person to step into a role knowing that you have some pretty big shoes to fill. Mr. Sherwin stepped in with empathy and kindness. My son came home from school on Mr. Sherwin's first day and told me that he tried to find a reason not to like this teacher but he couldn't come up with anything. Coming from a kid who was hurting, that meant a lot for me to hear as I knew that this person was going to help lessen his pain. So a big THANK YOU to Mr. Sherwin for stepping up the a very tough plate. - Michell Clishe

Our daughter has had a few learning challenges through the first couple years of elementary school. Mrs. LaMott (Cherry Knoll) has been there every step of the way for our daughter. She sends me notes, emails and calls when she feels there is something that needs to be addressed. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything which I love because we all know that won’t solve a problem that could be very important in a little kids life. She has worked with our daughter in so many ways and we just want to say THANK YOU Mrs. LaMott for everything.  -The Malinao Family

We are so deeply grateful to all the staff at East Middle School!! Colleen's (Smith) leadership and dedication to the staff, students and families continue to inspire us! Every single staff from the smiling and caring women in the main office to the loving and thoughtful women in the Alpha and Omega house we feel our child is in a safe and positive environment. All of the administration pour themselves out daily right alongside the staff and teachers!! I cannot imagine working with middle schoolers every day yet they do it with encouragement and deep commitment. We thank you all so very very much- the impact you have will last throughout the lives of our child and all the teens at EMS!! - Parent at EMS

We appreciate the hard work of everyone who took their part in lives of our children. Our children were students at Glenn Loomis Elementary, Blair Elementary, West Middle School, West High School. One child is going to graduate from WSH this year, and the last one (#9 in the family) is going to move to WSH the following school year. We, the parents, and our children have many good stories and treasure fond memories. We are together with you during 20 years!  Thank you! God Bless Everyone!!! Many thanks from the Chekhovskiy family!

We would like to thank Mrs. Brzezinski (Willow Hill) for always being patient, kind, honest, understanding, considerate, and for going out of her way to investigate situations when needed. You have made my son love math reading and writing and learning. You are truly an amazing teacher and we will miss you at the end of the year! You have an easy way of teaching the children. Keep up the amazing teachings you are doing. Thank you - Jessica and Connor Hiday

I would like to recognize two people that stand out to our family at West Middle School. First, Marsha Warne goes above and beyond in the 8th grade office with all her hard work and kindness she shows daily. Her patience and kindness with both my children and myself never goes unnoticed. She always has a smile on her face as well as taking care of all the details all day long. The next staff member we want to recognize is my son's 8th grade teacher Mr. Livengood. We have great respect for him. My son enjoys his style of teaching which really identifies to the kids. He is firm, fair and kind with a great sense of humor in getting his message across. Thank you for all you both do. - Kimberly Burke

Albert Dimas (Willow Hill Lead Custodian) is always at the ready to make a student smile. In a school district where male role models are few and far between at the elementary level, it is wonderful to see Albert share his time, kindness, and humor with the kids. Thank you Albert! - Torre Boone

Alberto Dimas (Willow Hill): Equal parts Superman and Supermodel! Hard worker, humble, great attitude and sense of humor....Thank you!!! - Kaischa Smith

Thank you to Mr. Mead at Long Lake Elementary School. You get kids that have been sitting for long periods of time and all they want to do is move. Now, that may seem like an easy thing to do as a PE teacher but getting them all moving in the same direction while keeping varied skill levels interested in the same activities is true skill. Your creativity in the games that you come up with make for interesting conversation on the ride home from school. Your demeanor with the children shows the care and concern you have for each one of them. My son loves your class because of your example of leadership and your great attitude. Along with Mr. Mead, a thank you to my son’s first grade teacher, Mrs. Dzierwa. He has become a good reader and interested in many types of books largely due to you and your way of teaching. This fundamental skill is so important and has provided a strong basis for learning all subjects. Thank you Mr. Mead and Mrs. Dzierwa! - Pracilla Venhuizen

Mrs. Willis, Mr. Schweitzer, Mrs. McKellar, Mrs. Steichen, Mrs. Mansfield, Mrs. Cisneros, Mrs. Leppien,  Mrs. Gang, Ms. Metiva, Mrs. Coursen, Mrs. McDonald, Mrs. Coulter, Dr. Derks at Cherry Knoll Elementary. They say it takes a village…  I am so happy my kids get to be a part of yours! You all allow my kids to be kids, and I appreciate you so much for it. Your hard work and dedication to learning in such an amazing variety of ways does not go unnoticed in the Johansson Family and the success they beam from. Thank you for embracing their strengths and helping them learn to stretch new ones along the way. So happy to be a part of the Cherry Knoll Community, this week, this year and always. - Scott & Becky Johansson

My daughter was new to TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis this year in 4th grade moving from a non-TCAPS school. It is not easy to change schools. Everything is new... new faces, new buildings, and new routines. From the day we registered for school, and every day since, Ms. Liz has been there with a big hug for my daughter. This boosted her confidence from day one because she felt she had an adult teacher/friend there to help her adjust. Knowing Liz Yarch is there to watch out for her, and answer all of our questions, has helped us adjust as well.  Thank you Liz for all you do! - Carol Brown

Our son has had many excellent educational experiences in his time at TC West Sr. High and TC West Middle School which he entered in 8th grade. Starting in 8th grade with Brett Graham in history and Flournoy Humphreys for band, he’s had teachers who uniformly have made a positive impression on him and contributed greatly to his success in high school. In high school, we especially thank Maria Chargo (B-C calc), Aimee Cole (language), Tak Ready (government), Marek Ulicny (biology), Dan Rice (psychology), Matt Dumon (literature) and Jeremy Rintala (our son’s faculty advisor for his Advisory/freshman mentoring seminar). Also his growing appreciation of music has been greatly influenced by his time working with Rachel Linsmeier and Pat Brumbaugh. As parents, we have interacted with many of our son’s teachers and have always found them ready to engage and answer all questions. We are grateful. - Jim & Nancy Farese

We’d like to give a big THANK YOU to Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. Olvey, Miss Shauna, Miss Deb and Mrs. Ruggles at Central Grade. These five teachers epitomize what it means to be a “great teacher” and our kids have soared under their guidance this year. Their continued kindness, spirit, “can do attitude” and drive to make things new and interesting has been truly awesome this year. They also consistently look out for what’s best for our kids, both emotionally and academically. We are so grateful for their support and hard work! – Harry and Andrea Burkholder

Jill Jenkins at Eastern Elementary does an amazing job of keeping that ship so well run. Thank you for all you do Jill! - M. Robinson

Thank you to Mr. Deneen and Mr. Hester for their love and dedication to the band program at East Middle School. My daughter is very shy and it's been amazing to see her confidence build through their instruction and leadership. My daughter went from breaking down in tears the first time she needed to play in front of the class to signing up for private lessons. What an amazing gift you've given my daughter.  I am truly grateful! - EMS parent

I would like to thank Mrs. Carroll from Cherry Knoll Elementary. My son has had the privilege of having her for his first grade teacher. She is a great teacher who shows compassion and kindness but also is firm when she needs to be. She truly cares about her students and wants them to succeed. I hope the rest of our experience at Cherry Knoll is as fulfilling. Thanks Mrs Carroll!! - Aprille Truszkowski

Our family would like to thank all the wonderful staff at Eastern Elementary for all the support this year during the transitional year at Bertha Vos. We would especially like to thank Ms. Heather Fak for challenging and supporting our oldest son. She brings to the table enough energy to command a busy classroom and capture our energetic son's attention. Ms. Fak, you have opened a new world of reading to him and we are just amazed at the growth we have seen. We would also like to thank Ms. Julie Brott and Mrs. Joy Brassington, together you two create a world of imagination and love where preschoolers just blossom. Thank you for being the kind, gentle souls that foster learning, love, and creativity. - Stephanie G

Mrs. Melissa Kamm is a Counselor at West Senior High and does a fantastic job for all of the kids on her caseload - including my own. She is careful and considerate of all of their needs and works with each of the students over the 4 years they are in high school so they can reach for the stars!  She works tirelessly for each of the students like they are the only one she has to take care of! Thanks for all you do Mrs. Kamm! - Charles Kolbusz

The Grebe family would like to recognize West Middle School 6th grade principal Ryan Ranger along with ELA teachers Dessie Hughes and Kathy Johnston for meeting with them several times this school year, usually before school started. Their extra time and special talents have helped this family after their son, who has several learning disabilities, made the switch from private school to WMS in mid-November.  Their compassion, communication, follow-up, and desire for all kids to succeed are very much appreciated! - The Grebe family

We wanted to extend some kind words to Mr. Tester (West Middle School) for the amazing trip to Washington DC that he facilitated for all the 8th graders. I am sure this is not an easy challenge, so we sincerely appreciate the efforts of all involved.  My daughter expresses that her favorite class this year has been with Mr. Tester. She tells me that she admires his style of teaching along with his positive attitude and firm but not harsh criticism. That is a meaningful impact! - Many thanks from The Rollert Family!  

This is our son’s first year in school. He has had three teachers come in and out of his classroom for different reasons. At first we were a little concerned that he might not be getting the proper learning experience without the consistency of having just one teacher. That fear went away as I have interacted with all three teachers and they are all a joy. This is their job and they know how to pick up right where the other has left off. Thank you Mrs. Adams, Ms. LaPrade and Ms. C. (Cherry Knoll Elementary School) - Amanda Malinao

Upon entering kindergarten (2017/18), we knew that 2 years in the same room were in our future. But that all changed at Glenn Loomis Montessori. Alicia Olsen, along with Ms. Robin and Ms. Christie, have really built a confidence in my daughter that she never would have found without them. She has come leaps and bounds from where she began and will advance to 1st grade. We are excited for this transition.  Also, a thanks to The Office Liz's for remembering all of our children's names and ailments. And to the alternative education staff, thanks for teaching our daughter some silly things that we are now subjected to trying at home.  - Alicia Richards

Where to start?! Mary Kolle, Arlen Herman, Paula Sandtveit (missed), Kathy Nester-Pohlman (will be missed), Tammy McManus, & Barb Hoffman (missed), have all been wonderful to our family. Angela Sides-McKay, Julie Phend, & Lisa Forton, you are always so kind & helpful...even w/ the silliest questions! Mr. Hysell, your ability to call each child by name is simply impressive. Mrs. Brazee, you have a way of making my kiddos so proud to come home & sing the special songs they learn in your class. They insist on a microphone....loud & proud! Also, Lisa McQueen, keeping kiddos safe at the crosswalk with pleasant conversation and a smile. Last but not least, Mr. Dimas, you are definitely a huge ray of light at Willow Hill! Always such a pleasure to see you. A big thank you to you all, for all of your hard work & dedication to the children & families of Willow Hill. - The Fountain Family

Mrs. Rousos (Central Grade School) has been an incredible blessing in my daughter’s life this year. She is incredibly kind and compassionate towards all of her students. My daughter comes home daily telling us stories which reflect how she is deeply cared about and loved. She  has helped my daughter’s confidence soar with her continued support. Most importantly my daughter LOVES to read due to the impact of this fantastic teacher. Her excitement and passion towards reading is contagious. Thank you Mrs. Rousos! - A very happy Central Grade Parent

I would like to recognize several staff members at Central High School who have made an extremely difficult road a little easier to navigate. To Joyce Battle, Brian Guiney, Hilary Strickland, Kim Fleming and Mary Aldridge - THANK YOU! Thank you for all you are doing to support my student and truly meeting them where they are at. You have done so without judgment, with professionalism, with consistency, with regard for their future and the potential they have to offer the world. The teamwork and care you have demonstrated has helped our family more than you will ever know. - CHS parent

I have four kids at Long Lake and I am happy to say love all of their teachers! Julie Cronk took over my son's 4th grade class and she really brings out the best in her students. Her level of expectation is so high but yet attainable that it shows in everything he did in school this year! My daughter has Linda Melvin in 2nd grade and she continues to show her kindness and support even though my daughter can be quite challenging. I have to also thank Ann Thaxton as my daughter's special ed teacher for her support this year. I can sometimes feel insecure when it comes to my daughter’s behavior but these ladies (and my daughter’s previous teachers at Long Lake) help me feel good about the support and redirection she gets everyday. My kindergartner son has Cassie McCall and she has been so kind and encouraging to my shy son from day one. He has excelled beyond my expectations with reading and I am excited for him to move up to first grade with what he has learned from her. My preschool son has Megan Niezgoda and I admit my youngest is a handful! She has been so helpful and supportive since I "warned" her on the first day that he may present some challenges. She figured out how to work with him and bring out his best yet still hold firm when needed. She has gone over and above to help make his first year at Long Lake a good one. Lastly, I am so proud of all the staff at Long Lake. Sandy and Dawn in the office greet me with a smile no matter how many times I call! Kate Burwinkel in a hands on, all day every day true blessing the school needed. I've been there for 5 years and have enjoyed every teacher my kiddos have had! - Rebecca Seyferth

Biz Ruskowski does an outstanding job as principal at Eastern Elementary. She is one of the many reasons we are school of choice at Eastern Elementary. Communication, working with parents and students and finding solutions are her strengths! She is always there for a friendly greeting too. Thank you Biz! - M. Robinson

My daughter is a junior at West Senior High, and I would like to give a "shout out" to Jennifer Nowak in the Sparta Office. Jen embodies the vision of the Neighborhoods and the idea of Personalization West Senior wished to create. She knows her Sparta students well and works with them and their families to help them feel safe and cared for. The Sparta office is a welcoming office, and we are fortunate not only for Principal Charles Kolbusz but also for the amazing Jennifer Nowak!! - Cathy Meyer-Looze

Miss Mary Kolle (Willow Hill Elementary School) - My daughter has never been happier! She sings all day long, and is so inspired by Miss Mary. - Maureen Michaels

I am biased as Rhonda Busch is my mother in law but even after retiring she is still active in the Traverse City Area Public Schools leading a reading program at Old Mission. She dedicated years to Interlochen Elementary and stilI remembers countless students she had in her classroom. I have met adults who still list her as their favorite teacher of all time. I am the luckiest daughter in law to have her in my life and my children's life. She has the same dedication to all the children she has supported throughout their education at Traverse City Area Public Schools. - Liz Busch

I would like to thank Mark Skodack (West Senior High) for the time and energy he spends after school with the WSH FIRST and VEX Robotics Teams. As a busy parent, I forget how much behind the scenes work goes into organizing events and practices and how much personal time mentors like Mark sacrifice to help our children find their passion. Thank you for being a mentor Mark.  - Stacey Hozak

Miss Jean (Willow Hill extended day preschool) - What an amazing person! She leads with kindness, and is an inspiration to my children and I. - Maureen Michaels

I cannot understate what a positive force Mike Lesinski (Central Grade School) has been in the life of my daughter. Through discipline and humor (and he is legitimately funny) he has helped her to find a level of engagement and confidence she simply didn't have before. He is everything a parent could hope for in a teacher - Ted Pryde

I am the teacher aide at Westwoods Elementary School, working in the 5th grade classroom with Mrs. Lillian Swan. Almost every day, I'll say to the students, "Do you know how lucky you are to have Mrs. Swan as a teacher!? Do you realize how hard she works for you!?" Mrs. Swan is incredibly intelligent, caring, down-to-earth, funny and kind. In an oversized classroom with a population of 34 students, she teaches and manages with great discipline and mutual respect. The kids pick up on the respect she bestows upon them, and in turn, they respond with respect, and with a willingness and readiness to learn. She makes learning fun, challenging, and connects with a genuineness to encourage students of variable learning levels to succeed. She goes above and beyond every day. I am proud to work in her classroom. - Nancy Schaefer

Marsha Warne (West Middle School) has been absolutely fabulous! My son missed a lot of school due to hip pain and surgery. Marsha was very helpful and courteous. Her concern genuine. Her kindness was much appreciated in a time when I was overwhelmed. All of our son’s teachers have been wonderful and helpful as he works to catch up.  Thank you! - Colleen Wylie

I would like to thank Miss Sarah Hartwig (Central Grade School) for her thorough communication, taking notice of small things before they have the possibility of turning into something bigger, and facilitating an environment of growth for our preschooler. My husband and I have had the great pleasure of seeing our daughter blossom over the past several months both socially and academically. We feel confident as our daughter starts kindergarten in the fall thanks to Miss Sarah! - K. Patz

We would like to thank Lisa Grigal at Central Grade School. Our daughter comes home every day brimming with excitement about what has happened at school and is sad to stay home when there is a snow day. Lisa Grigal exudes warmth, inclusiveness, and great care for all her students, while also overseeing tremendous academic growth. We are so grateful for how tirelessly all our children's teachers work to make school such a welcoming environment. - Ingrid Pylvainen and Robert Young

Mrs. Kim Tumey (Willow Hill), a huge thank you for all that you do. I can’t say enough how much your hard work and dedication to students including my son has meant to us. He has excelled more than I could have imagined this year and he loves coming to school. Thank you! And thank you to the whole Willow Hill staff for making everyday fun, safe, educational, and a place my child loves to attend! It means so much to so many families! - Courtney Barrett and family

There are too many TCAPS teachers who deserve a shout-out for their amazing work with my children. Here are a few that really stand out for me. WMS teacher Mrs. Rundio instilled a love of math for both of my children. She made them apply learning to the real world, and made learning a difficult topic fun and rewarding for them. Mr. Livengood has inspired my son to take an interest in politics and read more non-fiction books to learn about how history has shaped the world. My daughter's writing has transformed under the guidance of her teach, Mrs. Cole at WSH. My daughter tells me often how she is a patient teacher who helps her students to learn and grow. Her Honors Chemistry teacher, Mrs. Jenkins-Whall, always motivated her and boosted her confidence by showing she cared and believed in her. My daughter's counselor, Ashley VanLandshoot has always had her future in mind as he has guided her in her education. He really knows his students and puts their best interests first. These people (an so many more at TCAPS) have each had a profound impact on my children. They have instilled a love of learning and curiosity, and most importantly, made my children feel safe and cared for while at school. - Catherine Hansen

A big thank you to Barb Bostick and Janet Ruggles for all their help/support with our son at Central Grade School! - Thank you, Robert and Stephanie Ellul

I would like to formally recognize West Senior High. My son has been a non-traditional student over the last 3 years - the staff could not have been more amazing in their support for him academically.  Dan O’Berski, Mindy Wilkening, Tom Ford, Matt Bocian, Deb Pritchard, Joe Esper, Jennifer Nowak, Charles Kolbusz, Jason Carmien and Amber Innis are just a few of the staff members that have been integral in his achievement and success just this year.  Thank you for what you do for students. - Biz Ruskowski

We would like to thank Erin Sorenson and the entire Westwoods Staff for providing an excellent education to our son. He is now such an avid reader and enthusiastic learner thanks to Ms. Sorenson. The time the teachers spend with the students, making everyone feel valued and heard, is worthy of great rewards. Our son was a bit shy and reserved, but he is clearly comfortable with himself and has blossomed into a learner, athlete and all-around good person due to the holistic education he is receiving. Thank you for all the hard work! -The O'Brien's

Denise Ivester (West Senior High School) has been a welcome addition to WSH. She is one of those people best described as 'where the buck stops'. We appreciate her hard work, attention to detail, and ability to not only identify problems but solve them without fuss. - Andy Wares

Mr. Dimas works as hard as anyone and you just don’t see him at Willow Hill but other TCAPS schools and events throughout the year. Mrs. Kirby from Extended Day knows where my daughter is/isn’t or should be after the school dismissal bell. Front Office staff of Mrs. Forton and Mrs. Phend always go above and beyond and never hesitate to do this. Mrs. Brazee for fostering my daughter’s interest in music. And last but not least – the dynamic 4th grade duo of Mrs. Collins and Mrs. Jongekrijg for their academic guidance this year for my daughter has been beyond measure.  Thank you - Carrie Henry

I would like to recognize the amazing staff at Central Grade School and their continued joint efforts in supporting my son. He has had a rough year with multiple things against him and yet the staff at Central have worked together to assure he continues to grow and not fall into failure. Between Mr. Tisdale and Mr. Quinn with their continuous conversations with him and Ms. Keilla and her guidance he has had a more positive outlook on things. I want to especially commend Mrs. Annelin for being his rock. Without her he would definitively fail and fall into a dark place. Between her amazing compassion and constant drive she has pushed him when he has simply tried to give up. There have been so many days he has wanted to give up but Mrs. Annelin has continued to push him and strive for better things for him and this giving him hope that he does belong and he can do it. Thank you to you all for helping him belong and be in a better emotional and mental state. You will all forever be in my mind as strong influential leaders.  -a very grateful parent

There is no one nicer or kinder than Julie Flaherty at CHS. She is always ready with a smile for everyone. She has helped my children by being supportive from the get go. I send my heartfelt thanks to her for all she does! - Wynn Jones

As we anticipate one of our son's graduation next month, we reflect back on some of the decisions in life that Deanna and I have made for our sons. Hands down, one of the best parenting decisions we agreed upon was enrolling our boys at TC West (Senior High School).  The coaches, teachers, admin, and especially Mr. Erich Wangeman have influenced our boys and have helped form them into the amazing young men they are today.  Thanks for the last 7 years TC West. - Rick and Deanna Sayer

Many thanks to Mrs. Collins at Willow Hill. She is a compassionate and fun teacher who truly looks out for the best interest of her students! Mrs. Collins wants to meet the whole child's needs, including their social and emotional wellness, sense of safety, and also personal sensory needs. Mrs. Collins is beyond lovely, and truly a model teacher! Thank you to Mr. Dimas for his fun, kind, and engaging interactions with children and parents. Mr. Dimas is the model for Willow Hill, in consistently welcoming, and connecting with children and families! Mrs. Phend and Mrs. Forton are appreciated for their multitasking abilities in the office, while also taking the time to be welcoming and kind to everyone.  Many thanks, from a WH family!

Mrs. Kim Prisk (leaving for another job in the community) and Mrs. Lori Dakoske (retiring) have provided wonderful leadership for our Business department at West Senior High for many years. They epitomize "Business Pro" and have been role models for students interested in the business world - including my own children. We are so sad to see them go and want them to know that they have truly had an impact! - Charles Kolbusz

My oldest son is finishing his 5th grade year at Westwoods Elementary School--the school he started attending in preschool at age 3. Every teacher he has had there has been exceptional, and I am truly grateful for the encouragement, love, and laugher they have shared with him over the years. They have all treated him with respect and honored his strong spirit. I value that. I thank them for that. In each of their own ways, Cindy McMellen (K), Izaac Kramer (1st), Renee DePlaunty (2nd and 4th), Alison Wright (3rd), and now Lillian Swan (5th) have influenced him and shaped him into the person he is today. From the kind words about his character, to the occasional reprimands, to inspiring him to love reading, to a handwritten Christmas card (great idea, Swan), they have shown him that adults care about kids. They have also prepared him for the next big social and educational step: MIDDLE SCHOOL. And while that might be slightly terrifying for his mother, he is pumped, ready to roll, and confident that "it will be great, mom." What more could I ask for? To all the moving parts that make Westwoods an amazing place for kids, and especially these fine educators: I thank you for your work and your place in that building. Keep inspiring these kids. It truly is the most important work you could do. --Larissa VanderZee

I would like to recognize Jennifer Nowak at West Senior High. She is the Adm. Asst. for the Sparta neighborhood and she is simply wonderful. My youngest is a senior this year and Jennifer has answered many phone calls and emails from me in the past 7 years. Not only does she answer the phone with a smile in her voice, she truly cares about every student and somehow remembers details about all of them.  Both of my daughters always felt comfortable going to her and enjoyed talking to her. Thank you Jen for your kindness and for the love and caring you show to all of our children! - Beckie Cairns

We are fortunate to have Mr. Simons for our daughter's fourth grade teacher this year (Courtade Elementary). She moved to Courtade and to his class in the middle of the school year. Mr. Simons was welcoming and kind from day one. He is truly an amazing teacher and she has grown so much since starting in his class. We appreciate his hard work and dedication. Thank you for all that you do! - Karrie Watkins

We would like to thank Minda Nyquist (West Senior High School) for being an instrumental part of our daughter's high school experience. We told our daughter that she had to be involved in something as she entered TC West last year, and theater was it! Thank you Minda for building her confidence and having high expectations at the same time. In addition, a special thank you to Jody Thompson for being a patient math teacher (both last year and this year). We love the weekly communication we get regarding the lessons and goals for the upcoming week. We appreciate the guidance she has provided to those who struggle with math concepts. You are truly a master teacher Jody! - Erich and Theresa Wangeman

Thank you to Amy McKean, Jen Tank, and Beth Joure at TCAPS Montessori! All of these fantastic ladies are gifts to our school community, and frequently step up to sub in other positions when needed (as teachers, noon duty, extended day assistants, or primary directors). They bring a shine to our school day every day with their kindness, easy spirits, humor, and flexibility. They show compassion and grace to our students, provide encouragement, and keep their expectations high for our kiddos - Lisa VanLoo

I was hired in March as a reading assistant at Central Grade School. I'm loving my job, working with the kids and the wonderful staff. But, for me, what makes this job even greater is having the opportunity to work alongside my sister, Lindsay Annelin. I have the incredible honor of being in her classroom for the majority of each week of work. I am in awe of seeing her "in action" as she teaches her fifth graders. She provides a safe and loving classroom, sincere advice to her kids, an outstanding learning environment, she's a role model and a bright light for so many - students and staff. She puts forth her greatest efforts every day to be a great teacher - as well as a great sister. I am lucky to be in her company. Thanks for letting me be a part of your teaching journey, Lindsay! - Abby Porter

We truly appreciate and are so very thankful for all the hard work and support put in by counselor Kim Fleming (Central High School). She works tirelessly and gets the job done. She is responsive and over our son’s high school career has been a steady contact. We are grateful for all Kim has done! She's a wonderful counselor with a heavy, fast paced job!  Thank you, Kim~ Blesh Family.

Our family appreciates the support and encouragement the Willow Hill staff - especially Mrs. Collins, Mrs. Jongekrijg, Mrs. Sides-McKay, and Mrs. Kirby and the extended day staff - they have given to our son this past school year. Your dedication and commitment to our son and the Willow Hill student body have not gone unnoticed. - The Verhage Family

I'd like to express my appreciation for Ms. JoAnn Wegrzyn (Westwoods Elementary). My son is no longer in speech therapy but he still talks fondly about "Ms. Joey".  My son’s speech improved immensely in the short time that he worked with Ms. Joey. Her positive attitude made a huge impact on my son when he was struggling with adjusting to preschool. Thank you Ms Joey for having such a positive, lasting impact on my boy. - Andrea Holczman

Thank you so much to Mrs. Sysko, Mrs. Stevenson, and Mrs. Cunningham (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis) for everything you have done for our daughter. It has been such a blessing to have her in your classroom for the last three years, and we appreciate so much the creative thinking and compassion you have put into addressing our concerns when they arose. Our daughter has come so far with you all as her teachers, both academically and socially, and words can't adequately express our gratitude. - Stuart & Molly Campbell

My family cannot say enough to show our appreciation for the outstanding staff at Eastern Elementary. My son started as a new student to TCAPS as a second grader and has completed his elementary education with nothing but praise. Every teacher along his journey was special in her own way and imprinted their stamp on his impressionable heart. He grew from a timid quiet child to a confident peace maker. Every step along the way we were met with professionalism, compassion and friendship. My second child started with Eastern in preschool and is now at that second grade level. He has experienced the same comforting support and encouragement from administration to teachers to extended daycare to bus drivers. He is a different apple than his brother, but our satisfaction with the ability of the staff to adapt to the needs of each individual child is the same- we are proud to be Eastern elementary Stars! Extra special stars for us have been Mrs. Ruskowski, Mrs. Feaster, Mrs. M. Fak, Mrs. Radakovich, Mrs. Matterella, Ms. Lutes, Mrs. Kolle, Mrs. Nelson, Ms. Stremlow and all specials staff- art, library, music, administration and extended day as well as our hard working PTO!!! Thank you all for all you do everyday- we appreciate YOU! - Love the Sparks family

Gen Minor (West Senior High School) is a Head Librarian extraordinaire - on top of creating and maintaining a welcoming LMC center that serves as a social and academic hub for most of our student body, Gen has distinguished herself by taking point on our Freshman Mentoring and Conflict Mediation initiatives. it is hard to imagine what this building would be like without her leadership! - Andy Wares

I would like to express how much I have appreciated Mrs. Burkholder, my daughter's kindergarten teacher at Central Grade School. I am so impressed with her enthusiasm, patience, and remarkable ability to help my daughter learn.  - Melissa E. Whitman

I would like to give a huge thank you for all of the TCAPS Employees that work in our Extended Day Programs. Our Extended Day programs start before many of our students are out of bed and go until 6pm.   Extended Day staff get our kids when they are tired and hungry yet somehow manage to come up with fun activities, great games and really engage a wide range of age groups (3-12 at Montessori).  I have had the absolute pleasure of checking students in to our afternoon Extended Day program where the kids call it "friend club" because they get to come and play with friends. - Liz Yarch

Our daughter’s favorite classes are LA with Mr. Lantz and History with Ms. Kosch (Central High School). Both of these teachers are the true definition of what a teacher is. They both have the children’s best interest at heart. They push my daughter to try to get her to have the courage to try the advanced classes because they know she can do it and want her to see what she is capable of. We have experienced many great teachers through our 10 years and three children at TCAPS. We thank each and everyone for their hard work. -The Malinao Family

I would like to thank Mrs Hagelstein 5th grade teacher at Willow Hill for her support with my daughter. My daughter has enjoyed activities in her class. I would also like to thank Mrs. Huggard for the support, encouragement and kindness she shows my daughter during this year. I always appreciate the feedback she has given. - Laura Gougherty

My son is a preschooler at TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis. He loves going to the school library and hearing stories from Mrs. Funkhauser, who also helps him and other students to choose books to bring home and share each week.  I have had a chance to talk with Mrs Funkhauser at the Book Fairs. She is warm, kind, and enthusiastic about literacy and reading. I think the library is really at the heart of school, and Mrs Funkhauser makes hers inviting and inspiring to kids.  Thank you. - Hannah Israel

My daughter had Mrs. McGrew (Central Grade School) last year in the mixed 4th and 5th grade class and was fortunate again this year to have her solely as a 5th grade teacher. She LOVES Mrs. McGrew. Mrs. McGrew has done miracles with my daughter and her reading over the last 2 years and my husband and I are VERY APPRECIATIVE of Mrs. McGrew’s teaching style and the love she shows all of her students. Mrs. McGrew is strict and expects respect – and that is something I believe every parent wants their child to display with their elders. I wish we could take Mrs. McGrew to middle school, who knows maybe she will and she can teach our daughter in 6th grade.  No matter who teaches our daughter next year or where Mrs. McGrew teaches, one thing is for sure, Mrs. McGrew has made a stamp on my daughter’s education, learning techniques, and her heart!  We have been blessed to have such a talented teacher teach our child! Thank you, Mrs. McGrew for all that you have done and what you will do in the future, you are truly a representation of what every teacher should be like! Best Regards - Aimee Bissonette

From the moment I met Heather Fak (Eastern Elementary), I knew my daughter was in the right hands.  I feel blessed to send her to school each day knowing she is safe, she is loved, and she is learning! Heather has helped mold our daughter from an anxious and scared incoming 1st grader, to a flourishing, confident almost 2nd grader. Miss Fak's continual positive encouragement and understanding of exactly what she needs to be successful is genuinely appreciated. As our daughter would say, "Miss Fak fills my bucket every day and she believes in me. She tells me I am one smart cookie!" The growth we have seen over the course of the school year is remarkable, and for that, we thank you! - Janna Deering

I want to say thank you to Stephany Peplinski (Willow Hill)! My daughter got the pleasure of having her teach kindergarten and second grade. She is so helpful and always smiling. Thank you Stephany for being such a great teacher, we are forever grateful!  The Culbertson family

My son is a first grader at Central Grade School, but we have been a part of Central for three years now. When my son started at Central Grade he was currently undergoing many health tests. Throughout many phone calls to the school for missed days, last minute appointments, care plan follow ups, Ms. Kathy Booker Graham has been our rock and cheerleader. Recently, I came down with influenza and called to see if someone could walk my son to my car so I didn’t expose anyone else. I was so ill and embarrassed, but Ms. Kathy was, as always, so understanding, kind and willing to help. When we talk about safe people at the school to talk to if there is a problem with peers, health or emotions, Ms. Kathy is always at the top of my son’s list. As a full time single parent, navigating elementary school with a kiddo who has extra health needs, on top of balancing work, things can feel overwhelming. But, without a doubt, our family would not be doing as well as we are without the help and care of Ms. Kathy. She is truly a blessing and a genuine light in our lives. Thank you Ms. Kathy for all that you do. We would be lost without you. - The Diegel Family

Minda Nyquist (West Senior High School) has created one of the tightest senses of community in our building through her efforts to create a robust theater program that is focused on inclusion and a welcoming culture. She inherited a rich program form Kristie Bach and has not only maintained it but grown it. Her services in this building and ability to make meaningful relationships with kids, especially those kids who need those connections the most, is invaluable. We are so grateful that she is here at West! - Andy Wares

My son is moved by music, he sings and beatboxes whenever the tunes are stuck in his mind. Through the last two years he has come home singing songs from his music classes with Mr. Vipond at Central Grade School, and he frequently asks if I would like to hear him sing something he's been working on. His love of music has exploded in the last few years. When we are at home he has asked if we can listen to some of the classical pieces that they've heard in class, and we have gone to the library to pick up CDs so he can listen to the different composers. Since he was young, he was only  interested in music that's on the radio, and it has been wonderful to see him get excited about different pieces that range across genres. Watching Mr. Vipond work with the kids during the spring program was wonderful, it was great to see some of the ways that he makes music fun for everyone, and to see how the kids listen to him and respect him. Thank you Mr. Vipond for bringing all types of music into our children's lives! - Adrienne Hope

I just wanted to say that everyone at Courtade Elementary is fantastic. I know some days can be harder than others but you always see smiles on everyone’s faces. Two teachers that I would like to recognize is Kristin Schoonover and Tanya Darling. We have had Kristin for two years and what an amazing teacher she has been for our son. I put him in kindergarten just before turning 5 and I wasn’t sure if it was a right move or not, Kristin made me feel at ease about the decision. She has been a real cheerleader for our son and brought him to such a great place in his learning that I never could never imagine. We sincerely thank you for that. Tanya Darling, has been so amazing for our daughter and knows how to give the support she needs in her learning, as a teacher and a friend to her. Tanya has been that great comfort for her when I couldn’t be there. As a teacher she cares about her students and only wants the best for them and it shows through my daughter. So we thank you for all you have done in her learning this year. - Becki Massong

Our son is in kindergarten at Westwoods Elementary after having been in both preschool and pre-k at Westwoods (both fantastic experiences). I feel so blessed to have our son in such a welcoming and loving environment. Every staff member knows him and calls him by name, whether it is a “Good Morning” or “Have a great night” on a daily basis. - Ginny Bilacic

I am so thankful for Liza Brundage at Courtade Elementary. She teaches math for my son's 3rd grade class, but for my son she has done so much more. Liza has provided support and encouragement to my son and challenged him to be more and do better. I am so grateful that she is at Courtade this year and a part of my son's life. - Rachel Krueger

We feel so lucky to have found the TCAPS Montessori School.  We moved this past summer and started school a bit late. Everyone was so welcoming and Mrs. Girard and Mrs. Stocknic are amazingly kind and patient teachers. My son loves school and wakes up sad that he can't go on the weekends.  Thanks for all you do! - The Frost Family

My husband and I would like to thank Central Grade School 4th Grade teacher, Mrs. Kyser, for her dedication and commitment to not only our granddaughter but her entire class. Words alone are not enough to express our gratitude in her ability to recognize the times when our granddaughter was not herself, the wisdom to search “out of the box” for a solution, the passion to give 110% of herself towards the cause, and most important and above all else, the love she has shown without condition that she has showered upon our granddaughter and I am sure everyone she comes into contact with. This is truly a person who loves her job and all of those little people that fill her day. Rest assured that she will be one of those remembered (especially by our granddaughter) for decades to come. At the end of the day, it will always be love above all else that will make the difference in who we become as a successful society and make no mistake that Mrs. Kyser will have her place in that process. We are always amazed at how she is able to find the time with the care enough to send a quick text with updates on issues concerning progress or problems to keep us “in the loop” and engaged! - Karen and Randy Brown

My son attends Westwoods Elementary School and he is a wonderful but challenging young man. He has had a hard road, has required a lot of assistance and has needed a variety of services to help him navigate his educational experience. So many amazing people at Westwoods and beyond have worked tirelessly to help him be successful. Mrs. Walter has never given up on him. She makes him feel wanted, special, and capable every day. Mrs. Walter has never been anything but kind and respectful. She is a true miracle worker. My son has grown so much this past year and has made incredible gains. His behavior has improved and he's now genuinely happy. Mrs. Walter taught him to enjoy learning. She helped give him the confidence to be a part of the classroom and love learning. My son struggles on so many levels and because of the amazing staff on his team, he doesn't feel like he's a burden or different.  He used to come home crying and telling us how stupid he was and that no one liked him. Now he comes home sharing stories about his friends, teaching math and begging us to read. For a parent of a student who we once thought would need to be home-schooled, that's HUGE. I can't say enough about how special and dedicated Mrs. Walter is. She changed our lives, she changed his life. We are forever grateful. I must also extend a wealth of gratitude and praise to my son's entire special education team. They all have worked so hard to help him, encourage him and keep him smiling.  Mrs. Bank gives him love and support every day. He adores his time with her and I am positive sometimes he asks for breaks just so he can see her.  Mrs. Laura Parker, has been the most amazing support for me as a parent. She always makes time for my meltdowns and to explain everything to me so that I understand what my son needs.  Another huge Thank You must go to Mr. Tiesworth and the office staff at Westwoods for taking my son on walks and breaks when the classroom environment is overwhelming for him. Mr. Tiesworth has always been in my son’s corner and fights for him. I feel so incredibly blessed to have such an amazing team of educators helping and working with my children. Thank you to the entire team at Westwoods. You are changing lives and making a difference! - Tonya L.

I would like to send a HUGE thank you to Mrs. Courtney Spitzley, she is my son’s fourth grade teacher at Courtade Elementary School. She was able to loop with the kids from the previous year, and the bond that she has created with not only my son but every single student in her class is amazing. She goes above and beyond everyday for her students and for the parents. She knows the kids in and out as if they were her own, and treats them with so much love and respect. My son has always been extremely shy and reserved, but Courtney has been able to reach my son like no one else has, and has helped mold him into the amazing student that he is today. Thank you Courtney for all that you do , Day in and day out. - Sherry Ekins

On a personal note, I would like to thank Dan O’Berski (West Senior High School). As a third year admin, Dan has been an invaluable mentor and has played a critical role in helping me navigate a seemingly endless quagmire of legal obligations. At the same time, I have benefited from being able to observe his soft-handed approach to handling student issues. Thanks Dan! - Andy Wares

I would like to express my gratitude to Kim Dorgan, a dynamic co-worker at Cherry Knoll Elementary. Kim's positivity and sense of humor play a vital role in uplifting our entire staff.  We can count on Kim's quick wit to spread laughter on even the most stressful school days. Kim clearly adores her first grade students and they mirror her upbeat attitude. Working with Kim has brought joy and a true sense of belonging to our school community. - Linda Egeler

Julie Brott (Eastern Elementary School) your kindness and love for our children melts our hearts.  Monday mornings are easy at our house! On Mondays, Our son asks if it is a school day because he WANTS to go back!!  Thank you for all you do for our family and the wonderful children in your class. Love, The DeSantis family

To the teachers at TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis who have given our daughters eight happy years there: Mrs. Socks (pre-k), Ms. Bielski (kindergarten), Ms. Shelly (pre-k & kindergarten), Mrs. Girard (lower elementary), Ms. Stacy (lower elementary), Mrs. Tank (2nd grade), Mrs. Stachnik (3rd grade), Mr. Habich (upper elementary), Mr. Stewart (upper elementary), Mrs. Flynn (toddler), Ms. Kathy (pre-k), Mrs. Flaherty (pre-k), Ms. Kristi (pre-k & kindergarten), Mrs. Olson (kindergarten), Mrs. Ballmer (lower elementary), Ms. Ann (lower elementary), Mrs. Smith (music & band), Señora Rucker & Señora Keller (Spanish), Mrs. Funkhouser (library), Mr. Q, Ms. S, & Mrs. Roscher & others (P.E.), Mrs. Rusinski & others (art) and all of the other wonderful staff! THANK YOU! - The Clark Family

Our family would like to thank Mrs. Sides-McKay for cultivating an incredibly warm and welcoming environment at Willow Hill Elementary. Our daughter  has thrived in the two years that she’s been at Willow Hill. The professionalism of everyone we’ve had interactions with truly makes us proud to have her there. Mrs. Vance was our daughter’s kindergarten teacher. She demonstrated unwavering patience and love, which helped our daughter feel safe and cared for. Mrs. Vance helped to foster a truly positive, lasting impression. Mrs. Tumey has been a wonderful fit as our daughter’s first grade teacher. Mrs. Tumey has found ways to challenge her socially and academically, which has built up her confidence in so many ways. I appreciate her thoughtfulness and communication about what she’s teaching as well as how parents can enhance learning with simple efforts at home. Many thanks to the Extended Day staff for all the effort made in getting to know our family and offering support during some challenging times. You’re the best! Blessings to all!  Paul and Jessica Wiemerslage

Our daughter transferred to Eastern Elementary this past year for second grade. From the very beginning we felt connected to this community. Principal Biz Ruskowski and administrative assistants Jill Jenkins and Missy Waskiewicz went beyond measure in welcoming our daughter and helping her get used to a new school setting. I felt at ease discussing any concerns I had at the beginning of the year and each time I stepped foot in the office I couldn't help but notice how they radiated a sense of warmth for the students and parents who came and went. Also our daughter’s second grade teacher Mary Fak has been amazing. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her this year and love how our daughter felt connected to her from the beginning. Mary was a huge help in acclimating our daughter to the class and I loved how she kept the parents in the loop beyond the parent/teacher communicators. The Friday journals were particularly appreciated and I enjoyed reading her weekly emails recapping class activity. When I visited the class on a few occasions I could tell that her entire class had a great bond with her. As happy as we are to move on to the next grade we're grateful for the memories made in Mary Fak's class.  A big THANK YOU to these wonderful women and all the staff at Eastern Elementary! We are lucky to have such an awesome community. - Stacey O'Keefe

We would like to share our gratitude for Miss. Jennifer Geroux (TCAPS West Senior High School).  Over Spring Break 2018 she endured taking 11 students to France by herself with no other parental support with her on the trip.  She worked tirelessly with a fellow teacher in France to make arrangements for each of the students to participate in actually residing with families in France for a week, a once in a lifetime opportunity.  This was no small feat with the language, customs, and technology differences between both sides, and between the students and the parents. Miss Geroux planned the entire trip, provided fundraising opportunities to assist with the costs for the trip and is currently fulfilling the second half of the arrangement where we get to host 35 French students and 4 teachers in our homes next week.  This project was no small task and as with many other projects there was much adversity to overcome. Each of the students that was going to France was scheduled to host at least one student in their home during their scheduled robotics competition in reciprocation for the ability to travel, this was explained several times and no objections were voiced. Miss Geroux had to handle making all the travel arrangements, including handling last-minute schedule changes due to an Air France airline strike on the day they were scheduled to leave. There were many changes in their scheduled itinerary and she had to be able to field those changes quickly.  Our daughter was very impressed and enlightened by what she saw of Miss Geroux's resolve and determination. The story does not end there. Once back home Miss Geroux once again rallied the troops and persuaded many families to take additional students that they were not planning on but in an effort to ensure all students were able to travel here. There were even a few volunteers that did not have any part in the original trip that stepped up after being asked and agreed to take students and teachers. We have not received the students from France as they will be here after Staff Appreciation Week has concluded but we have no doubt that this entire excursion would not have been possible without Miss Geroux's diligence and compassion for her students and those students from France a swell. Her passion for teaching and her compassion for her students show every day.  Thank you Miss Geroux for all that you do! You have made all the difference and we are so happy you are a part of the West Senior High School Family! - Scott and Bobbie Hart

I just want to thank EVERYONE at Cherry Knoll Elementary. Even some of the previous teachers and principals that have moved to other schools or jobs (Chris Parker, Ryan Schrock, Tracey Westerman, and Rosalie Overheul) From the beginning we’ve open enrolled our two kids and we couldn’t of made a better choice. Everyone (the staff) knows our kids and you all feel like family. It’ll be hard to say goodbye to everyone next year, but all of you have made a big impact on not only our children’s lives but us as parents too. Thank you - Kirsten Hartung

Much appreciation to Mrs. Brazee, our beloved Willow Hill Music Teacher. She is fun loving in her teaching, sharing and inspiring our preschooler in songs, finger plays, poems and chants. He then comes home to teach his family. Music is vitally important for building self regulation, easing anxiousness, while building self esteem and school readiness skills. Everyone, thank your Music Teacher! Thank you TCAPS for providing music to all children!  We appreciate you Mrs. Brazee. With appreciation from a WH family!

Share Your Stories

Staff Appreciation Week is May 7th-11th and we would like to invite you to share your stories about how our dedicated staff make a difference in the life of your child. 

You can share your “thank yous” by emailing or by sending a private message to our External LinkTCAPS Facebook page. We will be compiling responses and sharing them throughout the week as a way to show our deepest gratitude and appreciation for our amazing staff. A little story goes a long way in brightening someone’s day. Thank you in advance for taking the time to recognize our wonderful staff. 

Staff Appreciation Week - Day 4:

Our Educators Make a Difference

My son had the same, wonderful teacher for his first and second grades at Central Grade School, he adored her and blossomed in her classroom. When third grade started, he had a bit of worry that his new teacher wouldn't be as awesome. He had nothing to fear! Mrs. VanStratt has been an incredible teacher for him, she is kind and firm, creative and fun, she's given him good guidance and he has grown significantly in her classroom, socially and academically. She is a delight to work with, from a parent's perspective, and our son regularly comments on how much he likes her. Thank you, Mrs. VanStratt, for everything that you do for our children, their lives are much better for having you as a part of them! - Adrienne Hope

Mrs. Radakovich (Eastern Elementary School) is a teacher who we will never forget. She is one of the kindest and most uplifting people I have ever met. We paused a movie recently to discuss this quote: “extraordinary things only happen to extraordinary people.” My daughter (who had Mrs R. last year) and I agreed that she is one of our “extraordinary people.” Every time we see her we want to become better people. - Sarah Gano

Mrs. Spitzley (Courtade Elementary) has shown our son kindness, nurturing, and support each day.  She truly cares for each of her students and supports them educationally and emotionally. My son calls me Mrs. Spitzley at least 3 times a week, which tells me that their bond is one that will stay in his heart for years to come. We lucked out because she was his teacher last year in third grade. We are so grateful and fortunate to have had her for the last two years. Her dedication to her students shows everyday, and we are so very thankful for that. - Aprille Sutton

My daughter is in Mr. May’s 4th grade class at Blair Elementary School! I can’t stress enough what a great teacher he is. My daughter has always been shy and not very outgoing in school. This year is a whole different story. She loved school this year, she said it’s because of her teacher that she has come out of her shell. I’m so thankful she had him this year. Thank you so much for being an amazing teacher Mr. May! - Erin Stewart

A big shout out goes to Kelly BeVier, Jessi Hoard, and Kelly Clark at Oak Park Preschool.  They are calm, patient, and professional.  My little lady can be challenging at times.  All three teachers have embraced this little, little girl with a big, big voice.  Thank you so much for being so positive! - Katherine Nugent

Jenny Walter (Westwoods Elementary) has been an incredible blessing in my son, and our family’s, life. She has an infectious and sincere love for these children that is awe-inspiring. Not only has she had such an incredible impact on his educational growth, but also on his social and emotional growth as well. She connects with him in a way that I had only prayed my child’s teachers would since the day I started thinking about him going to school. The encouragement and affirmation she provides, as well as the incredible energy, is quite simply amazing. Until you’re a parent you don’t stop to realize the profound impact one person will make on your child’s life, at least I never did, and I can’t explain how incredibly fortunate I feel that Jenny is one of the ones that, without a doubt, will have that impact on our son’s. Thank you so much Jenny for your tireless energy, enthusiasm, knowledge and love that you give to these children every day. - Ginny Bilacic

We would like to acknowledge Peter Deneen at East Middle School for all the attention he has given to our son who is in his third year of learning to play the oboe. Peter’s enthusiasm and dedication are apparent and contagious. You can tell he loves what he does. Mr. Deneen has gone above and beyond to introduce our son to guest oboists and also invited him to play oboe in the jazz band. Along with Mr. Hester, Mr. Deneen has created a noteworthy music program. In addition we’d like to thank Tami Williams at Central High School for encouraging our older son to join choir after hearing him audition for the fall play. Thank you for your guidance, as we didn’t know he could sing as well as he does. Tami has taught and inspired him so well that he joined Men of Note this year and will be in Choral-Aires next year. We are so grateful. TCAPS—your music programs and educators rock!! - Kate and Andrew Parvel

My daughter has been in Mrs. Dorgan’s (Cherry Knoll Elementary School) class for kindergarten and first grade. This woman has made such an impact on my daughter in so many positive ways. So much so, that my other two daughters want Dorgan for a teacher! She laughs with them, reinforces positive behavior and kindness in the classroom. We just love Mrs. Dorgan and truly appreciate her hard work and love she puts into her students. Thank you! - Michelle Keene

We all know teachers do more than just teach. I see this every day as a parent and a TCAPS employee.  But over the years, there are those that truly stand out because of how they mentor our children. This year, my daughter has the honor of having Jenn Campbell (West Senior High School) for ASL III. She is a wonderful teacher, but her compassion and true concern for her students is remarkable. She ignites a passion in them to learn and not only better themselves, but their outside community. She is a fun spirit and has the knack for connecting with teens. Thank you Ms. Campbell for your dedication & support of my daughter and all your students! - Julie Phend

Mandy LaBarre (Eastern Elementary School) has fostered a wonderful sense of learning in our daughter this year. (5+ Star Teacher!!) She is so kind and supportive. Mrs. LaBarre is amazing at helping kids find their talents, strengthen their weaknesses and believe in themselves; without realizing that they are being guided to new levels of success by this incredible teacher. Mandy see things in my daughter that help me to know her better. We couldn’t be happier. Thank you Mandy for giving so much of yourself to help our children learn and grow. - Sarah Gano

I just want to say how much we appreciate Sara Bageris, my child’s 3rd grade teacher at Central Grade School. Her patience and dedication give us peace of mind knowing our child is cared for and guided into the future by a teacher with so much care and compassion. We love Mrs. Bageris! - Rosie Vreeland-Flickinger

My little one started Kindergarten this school year, 2017/2018... I could not have asked for a better teacher than Ms. Hull! She is patient and my daughter enjoys being in her classroom! She’s always answered any and all of my questions & concerns I’ve had regarding my daughters education. The entire staff at Silver Lake Elementary have made this a great school year- Thank you to them all for all they do and continue to do for all students! - Nancy Santiago

Ben Lantz (Central High School) has been an amazing influence on my son. He definitely “goes the extra mile” and keeps me well informed as I try to help my son develop much needed better study habits. He will email me in advance so that I know there are important assignments which he needs to complete. I have been very impressed with Mr. Lantz! He works with the student and the parent so that there is a team of support! - From a Mom of a Central High Freshman

A very special Thank You to our very dear, talented, and extraordinary teacher, Jana DuGuay (Willow Hill Elementary School). Thank you for always being there during the unimaginable. You are our angel on Earth, we are beyond blessed to have you in our lives. Thank you for seamlessly teaching our son’s classroom and going above and beyond to be there for homebound, and making everything ok. We do not know how you do it, but we will be forever grateful. You are gifted teacher, a talented administrator, a true friend and an amazing advocate for children!  I also wish we could express in this note how much our Willow Hill, West Middle School, and West Senior High teachers and staff (present and retired) have meant to us over the years - I will try with these few words of gratitude and appreciation. Thank you and we love you not only for all the amazing and outstanding things you do for everyone and for our schools, but always going above and beyond and becoming part of our family. What you do is so important - you inspire spirits, and give the gift of love and joy for learning and for life! Thank you! - The Snowday Family

Tricia Schneider (Old Mission Peninsula School) has made our final year of elementary school for our oldest son flawless. She has created such a safe, trusting, loving, engaging and fun learning environment. She has really prepared our son for his middle school years ahead. He has grown in his confidence and independence with her guidance. We feel so grateful and thankful to have had the experience with Ms. Schneider this school year. Thank you, Ms. Schneider for your devotion to teaching! Love, The Banton Family

We are so grateful to Mrs Rosenburg (TC West Senior High School)!! Thank you for taking the time to truly understand our daughter and provide her with encouragement. Your humor, patience and compassion have really made a difference for her this year. Your positive attitude and ability to encourage rather than discourage is truly a gift. (I only wish my Geometry teacher had been more like you!) Heartfelt thanks, Amy L.

I could not be happier with the dedication of the teachers at East Middle School. My girls have been challenged, cared for, and led to greater education this year. Thank you!! - Amy Routzahn  

While Mary Preston began working at TCAPS 24 years ago, we at Traverse City High School were fortunate enough to discover and hire her as a language arts teacher 12 years ago. Ms. Preston plans to retire at the conclusion of this school year. The "hole" that will be felt will be deep and vast as we'll struggle to fill the caring and compassion void that she'll leave with her departure. Ms. Preston lives and breathes the at-risk, alternative high school students at TCHS, with everything from total dedication to managing and maintaining the on-site food pantry, to doing her utmost best to be sure that they grasp, appreciate, and are proficient with the English language. Moreover, she fully demonstrates, and strives to promote, humanitarianism, goodness and kindness with her every word and action. Along with being sure that the students' physical and emotional needs are met, she is also a talented and accomplished artist, which makes the unique lens and perspective that she shines on projects, thoughts and situations, ever enlightening and fresh. She takes our students home with her in her mind, and considers how best to attack solving difficult situations for the next day. To say that Ms. Preston's shoes will be difficult to fill is an understatement. The staff and students of Traverse City High School are so fortunate to have had this gentle and humble soul in our presence; we'll never forget the impact of Mary Preston, who just gives and gives and gives for others.  - Donna Novak

Our family is fortunate to be part of the Westwoods School Community and we have two sons who are in Mrs. McNitt's classroom and Mrs. DePlaunty's classroom. We would like to share our sincerest appreciation, gratitude and respect for Mrs. McNitt and Mrs. DePlaunty for creating an engaging and fun learning environment for our two children. Their enthusiasm and passion for helping students strive to reach their highest potential is evident in everything they do. Our children have grown as learners and as human beings. They have learned to challenge themselves, embrace who they are and care for those around them. Thank you Mrs. McNitt and Mrs. DePlaunty for creating a safe and positive school culture that supports our children at Westwoods Elementary School. - The Laurent Family

Mrs. Stevenson (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis), This was a big year for our daughter. She was going to a real school. We remember meeting you for the first time and how excited she was that your name was Michelle (her previous teacher was Michelle as well)! Immediately, we knew she was going to be in great hands. Your warm smile and peaceful demeanor showed us that. When we asked our daughter what her favorite thing about you is…..she immediately said, “her hugs. She gives great hugs! And she helps me learn everyday.”  Thank you. Thank you for helping our daughter grow this year. The changes we have seen are incredible. Thank you for showing her what she is capable of. Thank you for making such an impression on a such a young person. These years are so important in our young one’s lives and we want you to know that you have truly helped shape our little girl into the person she is today! You will be greatly missed next year! - Gretchen and Curt MacArthur

I would like to recognize Mrs. Sue Vance (Willow Hill Elementary School). Sue is a remarkable teacher who turns her kindergarten classroom into a magical place to learn. She seeks out opportunities to reach each and every student that walks through her doors and inspires them to love learning. Sue's actions and creativity also impact our entire school community through her drive to create school-wide moments that foster community and moments for students to put the needs of others before their own. I am forever grateful for the impact she has made on my own children. They will forever be inspired to learn due to her impact! I celebrate her retirement but will miss her greatly "up on the hill."   - Erin Jongekrijg

I can’t say too many good things about John Failor! He is an amazingly talented math teacher at Central High School who inspires and guides all of his students towards success. He is respected and liked by our family and all the students and parents I know whose lives he has touched. He also manages and fundraises for both the FIRST Robotics team and the FIRST Robotics District Competition (held at CHS annually for over 10 years). TCAPS is lucky to have such a dedicated educator and I only wish he could be cloned so that every school in the district could have a Mr. Failor! - Sincerely, Deeply Appreciative CHS Parent

I’d like to thank Mrs. Hancock (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis) for believing in my daughter. I know it can be a struggle for her to finish up projects but Mrs. Hancock is always able to encourage her. With a teacher that has shown how much she cares, I know my daughter can accomplish her goals. Her calm determination and leadership is a gift and I am so happy she is her teacher. - Miranda Grant

We want to thank all at WMS who have helped our daughter, transition to middle school life. From meetings last spring, to open house, to accommodating our daughter's academic needs, keeping us ultra informed weekly on what she is working on - to wrapping up this year having her move to seventh grade a confident, well adjusted, happy, contributing WMS Titan, we couldn't be more thankful! Mr. Scrotenboer, Mrs. Walter, Mrs. Page, Mrs. Hughes, Mr. Vance, Mr. Deyo, Mr. Dee, and Mrs. Brisbois ~ We don't have words to tell you how much our daughter has enjoyed all of you this year. There hasn't been one day she hasn't come home and mentioned one, if not many, of you and your caring approach with her and the subjects you teach. Mr. Crowley, Mr. Ranger and Mr. Smith, the support you provide colleagues, students and parents is second to none and we are looking so very forward to the next two years at WMS. Green Team, you are simply the best and for that we are ever grateful. - Jeff and Allyson Culver

Mrs. Zipser (Courtade Elementary School) has been absolutely awesome and our family is going to miss her greatly as this is my daughter's last year in elementary. We were lucky to get Kathy two years in a row. Mr. Goodwin is also an excellent teacher and has a great demeanor that greatly complements his teaching strategies that helped our daughter excel in all areas of math. - Laurie Bailey

On behalf of our family including two Central High School students, I would like to thank Kellie Spencer for her many years of dedication and service to her biology students. She has been a highly effective teacher year after year, while also showing genuine care, empathy and concern for the lives of her many students. Central will be losing a true friend and teaching professional when Kelli retires at the end of the school year! With much gratitude and appreciation - The Minster Family

Mrs. Steele (East Middle School) challenges and engages with her middle school science students in a way that motivates them to work hard and deliver their best work. Thank you! - EMS Parent

My son is in his second year of preschool at Willow Hill, and I am so impressed by the loving, patient teachers that he has had. Ms. Kathy and Ms. Arlen this year, and Ms. Mary last year. He was loved and supported the whole time, and I couldn't ask for more. Thank you to those teachers for providing such a good start to his school career. Sincerely - Katie Fain

Mrs. Allison Hall (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis), thank you for your patience and compassion. What more could a parent ask in a teacher? The whole Nash family appreciates you, and we’re grateful to have you as our teacher for the next couple of years!  To the PTO, thank you for your hard work and dedication. Not all parents can do what you do. I see you and appreciate you! - Marian Nash and family

I would like to thank the office staff at Traverse Heights Elementary. I didn't really ever know the office staff at my own school because I never went to the office. Somehow my child is a bit like Dennis the Menace so I know the office staff at Traverse Heights a little too well. Mr. Shrock always greets me with a smile though and points out my child's good qualities. Mrs. Ford is so kind and caring and has comforted my son when he is sick or injured. Sam is always cheerful and helpful. It's clear how much the staff here cares about the kids! - Kody Kline

We want to thank Mrs. Girard (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis) for being such a positive influence and role model for our children. You are a wonderful teacher. The three years my son has been with you, you have become an inspiration to him, family to him, and a friend. He has already told me how much he will miss you! I am extremely happy that my daughter will grow and has the opportunity to be under your leadership. Both of my children have excelled in their studies and subjects thanks to a great teacher. I can only hope my other two children will have her as a teacher when they get to elementary. - Lori Baja

I want to take a moment to thank the quiet dedication of Mrs. Wilcoxen (Eastern Elementary School). Her patience, encouragement & belief in her students helps them grow. She understands that each child is as unique as their learning speed and her focus on each of them helps them achieve milestones. - Eastern parents

I don't have enough words to express my gratitude for Kristen Schoonover at Courtade Elementary School. She has been my son’s teacher for two years now, last year for kindergarten and now in first grade. Kristen is consistently my son’s biggest academic cheerleader, encouraging his education and expressing her passion for his success. I am always amazed at the way that she inspires the group of awesome students in her classroom with patience and excitement. She truly is the definition of an excellent and passionate educator. To you, Kristen - I feel so incredibly grateful that we got to start our TCAPS journey with you! - Brittanie Stevens-Baker

Sue Thomas (Willow Hill) is a steady, kind, and caring teacher. Her willingness to take the time and make certain that her students are truly understanding what they are learning shows a lot of strength and perseverance in a world where percentiles and testing seem to be taking over. Thank you Sue Thomas for being true! - Torre Boone

We would like to give a huge THANK YOU to Mrs. Angove and Mrs. Keyser at Central Grade School! Our son loves his class and classmates. We have witnessed so much growth this year. Thank you so much, we can never say that enough! - Thank you, Robert and Stephanie Ellul

Becky McGillivary (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis) has been a wonderful teacher for both of our kids in lower el. After the 2018/19 school year, we will have had her in our kids' lives for five consecutive years. Our kids both love her kindness & compassion. She has helped work with our youngest, who has anxiety, and he has blossomed. Becky has challenged both of our kids academically to keep reaching further. We thank Becky for all she has done & for what she means to our family! Thank you - Tricia & Stan K.

Special thanks to Cindy McMellen at Cherry Knoll Elementary School for epitomizing the role of outstanding kindergarten teacher! She is patient, kind, and nurturing while still creating boundaries and expectations for her little learners. We were so fortunate to have her teach two of our sons.  You are a treasure and will certainly be missed! - Kendra Worden

I'd like to thank Miss Deb and Miss Shawna from the Central Grade School Preschool program for their personal investment in each child, and their willingness to offer a hand whenever my daughter feels a bit clingy in the mornings. They've never hesitated to share their own parenting stories when I worry. This year was a great year for both my kids, and I attribute that to the talents of the teachers at CGS. - Faye Spinniken

Both of our kids have had Mrs. Wyatt (Silver Lake Elementary School) as a teacher (my daughter was fortunate enough to have her twice, when she switched from 2nd to 3rd grade, and to also have her as a coach for Girls on the Run). She is just like a ray of sunshine, she is so positive and upbeat and you can tell she really loves what she does. Both of our kids just absolutely love her. - Sam Charnes

Thanks to Alicia Olson at TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis. She is a wonderful, calming influence for our junior kindergartner. She is also very intuitive when it comes to behavior and emotions of a 5-year-old. We really appreciate her willingness and ability to communicate on a timely basis when there are questions or concerns. - Heather Swanker

Thank you Mrs. Olson (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis) for your gentle kindness, for loving our children like your own and for helping them reach their fullest potential.  We are grateful that our daughter has spent the last two years learning and growing with you - she loves you to pieces.  Our school is incredibly lucky to have you. - The Fri Family

Staff Appreciation Week - Day 3:

The School Day and Beyond

I would like to bring to your attention what an amazing teacher and mentor that Kathryn Zipser has been for my daughter. This has been her first year at Courtade Elementary School however this is the year that has changed her life, thanks to Kathryn. My daughter started the year out as an average student, not thriving in academics or having the motivation and confidence to do so.  Kathryn has gone above and beyond her duties as a teacher taking the extra time to give my daughter the necessary tools to succeed. This is an emotional letter to write because words cannot express the gratitude I have for Kathryn and the ongoing efforts she puts forth with my daughter.  We all have that “one” teacher that we remember as being the most influential in our lives and Kathryn is that for her. The one that believed in our abilities and forever changed the path of our lives. Kathryn, thank you for changing my daughter’s path. I am forever grateful. - Nicole Belyea

We haven’t had Mrs. Brott (Eastern Elementary School) for preschool yet, but we see Mrs. Brott around Eastern and she always makes a point to say hello to my son and has him eager to start. Thank you for adding one more thing to your busy plate and taking the time to get to know us. We sure hope to be in your classroom next year! - Sarah Gano

Julie Edwardson (Old Mission Peninsula School) is an exceptional kindergarten teacher. We have had the honor of having Ms. Edwardson as the kindergarten teacher for two of our sons. She creates a loving, supportive, and compassionate learning environment for all of her students. She goes above and beyond to ensure she meets the needs of her students both emotionally and academically. Thank you, Ms. Edwardson for providing our sons such an amazing Kindergarten experience. You will always hold a special place in our hearts. Love, The Banton Family

I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to Ashley VanLandschoot (West Senior High School) for his help and assistance with both my children's scheduling and post-secondary planning needs.  I appreciate all his efforts and help in navigating the various options. - Justin Gluesing

Miss Mary Kolle (Willow Hill Elementary School) - My daughter has never been happier! She sings all day long, and is so inspired by Miss Mary. - Maureen Michaels

It can be said great teachers love with all their hearts and they have the biggest desires to make the happiest and most successful students. They guide, encourage and allow them to dream big. They want to make the world a better place, one student at a time. We know this to be true, because this has been the effect Ms. Stremlow (Long Lake Elementary) has had on our daughter this year. She has made such a difference in our daughter's life in so many ways and maybe the biggest of them is she helped her learn to read! Now, everyday she is excited to tell us about the books she read or when she passes her sight words and gets new ones sent home. We have seen her grow right from the beginning of the school year. She was a little apprehensive about some subjects in the beginning of the year, but we could see her gaining more and more confidence each week as the year progressed. It is amazing to see a kindergarten student enjoying her math homework and smiling when she shows you she has it done! We want to thank Ms. Stremlow for taking the time to help bring out the best in our daughter and for giving all her students the chance to dream big dreams! - Chris and Marissa Milliron

I wanted to send a big THANK YOU to Miss Walters at West Middle School. Your energy and enthusiasm is infectious. You’ve been such a great encouragement to my son to be a part of the yearbook team. He’s developed such a love of photography and I’m excited he’s signed on for another year. I also want to appreciate Miss Walters for sharing in her action to shave her head in honor of her mother’s cancer journey. That showed great strength and vulnerability and in turn made an impression on your students to be bold and stand up for a cause that is important. I appreciate your courage and sharing it with your students! - Amy Crosslin

Miss Peck (Willow Hill Elementary School) went above and beyond to support my son when he was participating in St. Baldrick's Day. She took time on a Saturday to be there to cheer him on, and it was his favorite part of the event. He spent the morning with his nose pressed to the glass watching for her, and still talks about how meaningful it was to him to have her there. - Maureen Michaels

We moved back to Traverse City in 1974, after both growing up here and having left for college and military duty, to the Eastern Elementary School district. When our oldest started kindergarten, we were thrilled that she was placed at Eastern School in Barb Good’s class!  What an amazing beginning, instilling in her an excitement for education. Every day was filled with learning, music, play and friends. Three years later, our middle daughter was in Mrs. Good’s class and she loved going to school, loved the experience offered in her classroom and loved the friends she made. And in 1986, our youngest daughter was privileged to attend Mrs. Good’s last year of teaching before retiring and planted the seeds for our daughter’s interest in, and pursuing her own career in, teaching - in fact, is now teaching 5th grade at Central Grade School (Lindsay Annelin). Mrs. Good instilled the basics of the three R’s, but beyond that, the importance of respect, listening skills, responsibility, a love of learning and exploration, a joy of music and performance, encouraged making new friends, and stressed the importance of being organized. ‘All (Our Girls) Really Need to Know (They) Learned in Kindergarten‘ Thank you Mrs. Good!! - From Kent and Nancy Walton

Jen Hisem (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis) has taught two of my children for a total of four years with our family. I was able to confidently send my oldest child off to middle school due to the amazing things she did to prepare him for the many challenges he would face. He left her classroom with an internal drive to learn, an ability to organize his time and work and many other skills that will help him be not only successful now but later in life as well. Jen has a way of knowing what each child needs and ensuring that they get what is needed for them to grow. She has a gentle but firm way that makes the children feel loved while motivated to be the best they can be. - Bonnie Thomas Wagner

Our daughter had another remarkable year at Eastern Elementary School due to the tremendous teaching of Mrs. Radakovich. We couldn't have asked for a more exemplary teacher! Her communication is fabulous - the student communicators are are such a fun learning tool and will be kept and treasured for years to come! Mrs. R creates a kindhearted backdrop for learning which enables her students to collaborate as a team - they care for one another and build each other up. Mrs. R exudes joy and positivity; her excitement and enthusiasm towards learning are contagious. Furthermore, she is exceptional at affirming each student as an individual and acknowledging their personal growth as a celebration (she brought my daughter down to the office to call home when she finished her first chapter book!) Thank you, Mrs. R, for uplifting and teaching our kids so well each day - I know the lessons you've taught them will not soon be forgotten. - Becky Reynolds

Special thanks to Katie LaMott (Cherry Knoll Elementary School) for going above and beyond to offer extra challenges for our son! Her creativity, enthusiasm, and dedication have not gone unnoticed. You are a wonderful teacher- keep it up! - Kendra Worden

I have been thoroughly impressed with Colleen Smith's leadership, dedication, and tireless efforts as Principal of East Middle School. She has contributed greatly to the development and education of our middle schoolers in preparing them for the future. I wish her well in retirement. She will be greatly missed. - EMS Parent

I'd like to thank Annette Cole and the rest of the TAG staff (Central Grade School) for their intuitive teaching style, as they teach my son in a way that brings out the best in him! He comes home happy and his growth in self motivation and personal responsibility is a delight to behold. - Faye Spinniken

I am sending this because I find Mr. Ben Lantz (Central High School) to be an extraordinary teacher. I asked at the beginning of the school year if he would let me know if my daughter missed any assignments or had turned anything in late. He was always sure to make sure and email me and make sure that I knew what was going on with my daughter and her homework, even though she was getting an A in his class. He has a genuine love for teaching and enthusiasm. His students like him and I believe that many students appreciate him. Every parent I have talked to that has had a student in Mr. Lantz’s class agrees that he is an extraordinary teacher. If I had a question about what my daughter was learning, or about her grade, or an assignment, Mr. Lantz replied in a timely manner. I believe he makes every parent feel how important their child is. A big thank you to Mr. Lantz for teacher appreciation week. - Carrie Charron

I would like to profess gratitude for Ms. Debbie McMaster, at Blair Elementary. She has always been very patient with my daughter, and has looked for ways to help my daughter feel better about school and education. I believe Ms. McMaster's unfailing positivity and adaptive learning techniques have helped my daughter to advance and to stay positive herself. I have enjoyed Ms. McMaster's genial disposition throughout our many colloquies. As my daughter now moves on to a different school, I send my thanks to Ms. McMaster for being such an important stepping stone in my daughter's future. - Justin Cascagnett

I would like to give appreciation to Liz Vogel (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis). I do not have a child in her class, but I am with her working together every day in the classroom watching the wonder that she is, accomplishing more than I ever thought humanly possible. She spends many hours before school, after school and at home creating new work, honing things to perfection. Every day she is coming up with ways to challenge the children and the best approach for each lesson, grade level and child. In the two years we have been together, I have seen countless former students come to visit her and the pride they have in telling her how much she has helped to prepare them for what they encounter in middle school, high school and college is such an amazing thing to see. She loves the children fiercely and wants only the very best for each and every one of them and I can see that they feel the love and care that she gives to them. She is never too busy to give a hug and a pep talk to any student who needs it. I learn something new from working with her every single day. She is a wealth of knowledge, grace and beauty and I’m absolutely blessed to have been paired up with her. - Bonnie Thomas Wagner

Our son is in Ms. Kyser's 4th grade class (Central Grade School). We'd like to say thank you to Ms. Kyser for being a great influence on him, and for the ongoing communication that she provides. We also greatly appreciate the photos she shares and the ongoing reminders, as well as the creative way that she's allowed our son to be involved and actually lead the parent/teacher conferences. Our other son is in Ms. Odette's / Ms. Walston's 1st grade class. We'd like to say thank you to Ms. Odette's / Ms. Walston for also being a very positive influence on our son. We appreciate their communication with us regarding classroom activities and the curriculum, as well as things we should focus on to help his progress. We also appreciate how they reward our son and the entire class when they accomplish their goals. We also want to say thank you to all of the staff at Central Grade School and the way they help to support our children, make sure they're getting extra help if and where needed, and also the extracurricular activities, including Math Night and other events. - The Burger Family

A big thank you to Ms. Terri Lutes at Eastern Elementary School 4th Grade. She has a very large class which is challenging for a teacher. She continues to teach her students the importance of things outside of the day to day academics. She teaches the students about honesty, self-discipline, respect for others and integrity. I really appreciate that she incorporates these virtues in her classroom. I think it says a lot about her as a professional, teacher AND as a person. Keep up the good work Ms. Lutes! - M. Robinson

Shout out to Erin Kosch (Central High School)! My son has loved his freshman year and his favorite class (besides gym...) is U.S. History. Erin creates an engaging and rigorous class with lessons and discussions that follow students home to the dinner table. I want her to know that all her behind-the-scenes work is appreciated; I know how much effort she has put into prepping units, conducting lessons, and assessing learning. Thank you, Erin! - Alison Sullivan

I would like to share my gratitude for Mrs. Olson (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis). Her insight into my daughter helped us transition through a challenging drop off time that was becoming stressful and full of tears. She brainstormed ideas with us and was able to come up with a solution which helped her feel more comfortable and successful to start her day. Because she can relate to my daughter she has provided me with a better understanding of her particular quirks and personality and given me tools to help support her. I appreciate her insight, empathy and thoughtful approach to working with my daughter. I’m very grateful to have her in such caring, capable and nurturing hands! Thank you Mrs. Olson! Warmly - Seraphina Vajda

Admittedly, I was a bit nervous to have learned that my son was getting the new teacher for his first grade year. Those fears were immediately put to rest upon meeting Sarah Winterman (Central Grade School). Her willingness to communicate openly, honestly and give constructive feedback has been so helpful this year. My son’s intellect and peer to peer relations have flourished while being educated by Mrs. Winterman. She has been above and beyond what any parent could hope for in an educator for their child. Her passion for teaching and her compassion for the little (but quickly growing!) people in her care show in every facet. Thank you Mrs. Winterman for all that you do! You have made all the difference and we are so happy you are a part of the Central Grade Family!  - Danielle Diegel

Mrs. Kyser (Central Grade School) has been amazing to my child that has had some struggles in and out of the classroom this year, She has gone out of her way and above and beyond to accommodate and be available to help. Her warmth, care and concern has been a comfort to our child and us and helped make it a much better 4th grade year than we expected. Many thanks! - Central Grade Parent

Staff Appreciation Week - Day 2:

Stellar Staff Ensure Safe, Healthy, and Happy Schools

Alberto Dimas (Willow Hill Elementary School), your welcoming, kind and generous spirit is one that just shines through the hallways and lights up the faces of all those who visit Willow Hill. I soooo appreciate all you do. You help make Willow Hill special! - Christie Shore

I am so thankful for Julie Flaherty (Central High School) over the past couple of years with her kind heart and understanding during some of my child's most difficult times in his life. She has been a life safer and very compassionate for our child. Thank you so much Julie! I love you to pieces and appreciate you so very much! I will miss talking with you next fall as he was our last and will graduate in June! Keep smiling and you were an angel when I needed it most!  Thank you thank you! - Chimene Harrison

John Brazaski has kept a watchful eye on West Senior High for over two decades. As the school's lead security officer, John has seen many changes in students and in school security over the years. John has a calm, confident presence and quietly works behind the scenes to make sure students and staff are safe. - Joe Esper

We wanted to send a huge thank you to Jean DuCheney (Courtade Elementary School) for always being there for our family.  We moved from South Carolina a year ago and Jean was my first friend here.  My husband was here with our boys while I was finishing up in South Carolina, and we could not have made this transition without her. She helped coordinate the bus for not only our elementary school son, but also for our middle school son during this time, ensuring my husband could pick them both up in one place. She has been wonderful to both my boys and we will miss her as my youngest moves up to middle school next year. She is a treasure!! - The Snover Family

Ashley VanLandschoot has gone above and beyond his job description at West Senior High School since 2008, which is when I started having my children attend TC west. Nine years and 6 children later he is still going above and beyond what is required. As I sit and watch him with the students I see genuine care and concern for ALL of the kids with which he comes into contact. Even when difficulties have occurred in the events of the school year he does all in his power to help with class adjustments and my kids know that they have him to go to and that makes a difference to them! To have a definite friend in the high school environment adds a confidence to kids, and is immeasurable in its significance. At graduation time he puts so much time into the seniors, to make sure that all goes well. For instance, last year my daughter had forgotten her robe for the graduation award assembly and was worried about what to do. Without even a word to the counselors, they came up to her and asked if she needed a robe and then gave her one. This was quite a relief to her. Those small acts are probably performed everyday by Mr. Vanlandschoot, without hesitation or acknowledgement. Traverse City West has a huge asset with Mr. Vanlandschoot and I wanted him to know that our family will forever remember all he has personally done for our family. Thank you. - Teresa Howse

My daughter started at West Middle School in March, and coming from Pathfinder, West was a HUGE change! But all the staff made her feel so welcome and she is thrilled with the move. Thank-you for helping what could have been a tough situation so wonderful!  - Rachel James

My family and I moved here the last week of August last year, hoping to leave the culture of Southern California behind us, and to enjoy what Traverse City had to offer. After just a few weeks of being here and a short time into the school year (I believe it was 3 weeks into it), we had a very devastating diagnosis happen to our eldest daughter who is in kindergarten at Old Mission Peninsula School. After being in the hospital a week long to literally save her life, we found out that she was a Type 1 diabetic. As a mother my head was spinning, so when the thought finally occurred to me to call the school and let them know what was happening, I was given more love and support than I could have ever imagined. Going through this without any family to lean on was very difficult, but Betsy Wells, Beth Still, Julie Edwardson, and Ms. Sam (lunch lady), have all helped to support us through all of this. Not only did they help at that time, but they have been pillars of strength, and accommodations for my daughter. They have provided the utmost care for my daughter, and have become a team that we trust implicitly. They totally deserve the recognition that they have earned! Thank you ladies! You truly are a blessing to the children and families you serve. Forever thankful parent - Jessica Kieng

Sharon Fleis is a classroom assistant at Willow Hill Elementary School working with all students, but specifically those with learning challenges. She is the kindest, most considerable, and humorous, student centered aide. Yet, she is steadfast in her ability to motivate students to meet and exceed their abilities when completing classroom assignments. Students love working with Mrs. Fleis and they know that she cares deeply about them as a person first. She has been a pillar of excellence at Willow Hill for the past fifteen years. Teachers and other staff always count on her to help them with little or no guidance. Sharon just knows exactly what to do and she does it all with a huge smile on her face and joy in her heart.  She is a very valuable and treasured staff member at Willow Hill. - Debby Regiani

Mrs. Heather Mathie is a Security Guard at West Senior High and prior to that, an aide at Long Lake Elementary. She has been a treasured part of the West Senior High staff for many years. Students are constantly seeking Mrs. Mathie out to help them with a million things and she has earned their trust throughout all these years. She is always happy to share candy she keeps at her desk and is on the frontline on helping kids in need.  Thanks Heather! - Charles Kolbusz

TCAPS Montessori is so lucky to have Angela Barnes (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis) as our building sub. Today Mrs. Barnes substituted in one of our Primary rooms. She brought in a paper making project for our kids to do because she knew that the class had been focusing on recycling this week. Having Mrs. Barnes has been a gift for our staff and our students this school year. - Liz Yarch

Tammy Brunan is the lead Administrative Assistant at West Senior High School and while you can often see her at the front desk in the main office, she is the one behind the scenes that makes West tick. Tammy is the point person for staff, parents and community members for almost everything they need. She makes sure the bells ring, doors open, that the right student gets the right diploma, and that the guest teachers get to the right spots. Despite her long list of job duties, Tammy always has time to take on a few extras like fundraising for student scholarships or taking a student under her wing. - Joe Esper

I would like to send a note of appreciation to the two wonderful ladies in the Westwoods Elementary School office. Erika Swartz and Jennifer Maniaci do a wonderful job of organizing the entire school from the beginning of the day to the end of the day. I cannot imagine the amount of tasks and problems they tackle and solve each day. They accomplish this with grace and patience. Each family and child has unique circumstances and issues that they bring to school with them and this staff always handles each one with care and understanding. Please provide praise and respect to this duo and keep up the great work!! - Mackenzie Hall Weston

Staff appreciation for Dawn Smith (Boardman Administration Building) - Anytime I have called for help regarding payment for extended day, or needing clarification, Ms. Dawn has always been willing to go above and beyond. She even went so far as to follow up with me after the schools switched payment systems. Ms. Dawn sometimes fills in at Central Grade School, when she does she always has a smile on her face and is engaging with the kids and families. She is a true joy and a huge asset to the TCAPS admin team. Thank you Ms. Dawn for all that you do! You are appreciated! - Danielle Diegel

My son is in first grade and attends Eastern Elementary School.  I'd like to thank the entire staff at Eastern as any interaction I have with any staff is positive. I'd especially like to thank Biz Ruzowski, Jill Jenkins, Sarah Marek and Kathy Radakovich. These four individuals specifically have fostered an environment where my son is flourishing, learning, and feeling part of a truly positive community. They have all gone out of their way for him as an educator, in one way or another and it has meant the world to our family. Thank you for all you do and have done!  -Jessica Willis-O'Berski

Mrs. DuCheney (Courtade Elementary School) is a wonderful person with a big heart and it shows every day. Jean has been so kind and caring with my daughter and I see her care about all the students this way. I could go on and on but instead I will say that we appreciate ALL the staff working at Courtade and we THANK YOU!! - Laurie Bailey

A big thank you to Sherri VanDyke for her dedication to West Senior High School. She has been a familiar face providing support to parents, students and staff for 20 years. Her sense of humor and has brightened many a day; Thanks -- Jason Carmien

We love all the staff at Central Grade School. The office staff is always so welcoming and caring, the lunch ladies do an excellent job with helping all the kids. This year my son has Mrs. Oleson and we absolutely love her, she has been so sweet and always so helpful, he has learned so much this year. - Jann Cook

I'd like to say a HUGE thank you to Ms. Brenda Schwind (East Middle School counselor). She always goes above and beyond to help me and my family, especially as we navigate the world of special education. She is knowledgeable, kind, considerate and thoughtful, and we couldn't imagine travelling on this academic journey without her! - Cathy R

Danelle Brostrom (Technology) has been so supportive in our building!  She comes over and tutors one of our teachers every Tuesday morning before school starts. She has assisted many of our staff with Google Doc questions, Gmail questions and of course always with a HUGE smile on her face. She also supplied our Extended Day program with used computers that she picked up from a local recycling program, for the kids to play office with! Thank you for all you do not only for Montessori but for our entire district!  - Liz Yarch

I would like to give a big shout out to all the staff at Cherry Knoll Elementary School for making it an awesome environment for our kids to learn in! From the front office staff (Laurie and Amy do an outstanding job!) to the custodial staff, aides, and teachers, you guys rock. I am so grateful to be able to send my kiddos to school in an environment where I feel good about them learning and being cared for everyday. We moved last year and have made the decision to keep our kids at CK because it is so outstanding. Keep up the good work Cherry Knoll! - Kendra Worden

Have you met my amazing co-worker Dawn Smith? She is in the background at the Boardman Administration Building jumping in to help the buildings with questions on our new billing software (well new this year). She always has an amazing can do attitude whenever I call for help. When she isn’t busy at Boardman you can find her at Central Grade covering the office for their lunches or assisting in the cafeteria. She does all of this with grace and a smile!  - Liz Yarch

Missy Waskiewicz and Jill Jenkins (Eastern Elementary School) have gone above and beyond welcoming our daughter to a new school. They’ve also helped handle MANY emails, forms and questions so that the 3rd-5th grade girls at Eastern could have Girls on the Run this year. We appreciate them! - The Bozung family

Thank you to Mrs. Sides-McKay, Mrs. Thomas, Mrs. Jongekrijg, Mrs. Hoffman, Mrs. Pina, Mrs. Kirby and the staff in extended day (Willow Hill Elementary School). We are so thankful for the wonderful care and academic rigor you have given our son over the years. We will miss the WH staff next year!  - The Pomaville Family

As we approach the end of the school year our staff is scrambling to get certificates and programs printed for the families of our children. At Montessori we will have programs for our Stepping Up ceremony.... we do our best to get all of the information to copy command correctly but there is always some kind of last minute change that needs to be done. We are so lucky to have Christine Matthews and her team at Copy Command (Boardman Administration Building)! They somehow manage to pull off all of our last minute changes, print our programs and have them ready for families with no complaints!  Thank you Copy Command for all you do for us! - Liz Yarch

Kathy, Jen, Dawn (when she's filling in) and Michelle (dearly missed) in Central Grade School's front office are multitaskers of epic proportions. In addition to handling all of their typical administrative duties, they take on the roles of dispatchers, nurses, security guards, friends, disciplinarians, and traffic controllers. It's an organized chaos that is impressive to watch and not only do they make it look easy, they do it with warm smiles. - Central Grade Parent

I cannot begin to say enough good things about the staff at Traverse Heights. Everyone we encounter is devoted, caring, and loves kids. There are just too many special people that we consider family there to list. From the administrative staff, office staff, extended day staff, teaching staff, counselors, and custodians they are top notch. Thank you to our TH family. We love you. You know who you are! - Michelle Brockie

Multitasker Extraordinaire should be Julie Phend’s title (Willow Hill Elementary School). Julie multitasks with the best of them. She seamlessly has the ability to draft a school wide email, while taking five students’ temperatures, while she has phones ringing, and people waiting to ask her questions. All the while still smiling a lovely smile. Thank you Julie! Lisa Forton (Willow Hill Elementary School) - This lady is rock solid in her ability to organize and keep the ship afloat at Willow Hill. I cannot image how many questions she is asked daily! She takes everything in stride and is truly amazing. Thank you for all you do Lisa! - Torre Boone

I appreciate all of the staff members at Silver Lake, especially their leader, Angie Camp. They have had two years of transition with a crowded building last year and construction this year but they have been so positive and friendly. While I know they have been stressed, you would never it from their wonderful attitudes! They work as an amazing team to help meet the needs of all of their families. I love being part of the Seahawk family! - Jackie Stremlow

Staff Appreciation Week - Day 1:

A Passion for Teaching, Leads to a Love of Learning

Mrs. Mackey (East Middle School) has the uncanny ability to light a fire in her students and motivate them to work above and beyond their capabilities. In her Digital Media and Communications class, she acts as a mentor and a guide as students produce work well above their grade level and garner impressive honors at the state level. However, her greatest achievement was working with her students to investigate and report on how the opioid epidemic has affected TCAPS graduates and their families. The award winning short documentary, Predator & Prey: Opioids' Savage Effect on Our Community,  has helped further the discussion on the extent of the problem, brought community leaders and those affected together and focused on what steps need to be taken to resolve it. Not only have students learned the dangers and trauma caused by opiod use, they also have had the opportunity to interview and interact with leaders in the public safety, medical, justice, and mental health fields, and school and city leaders.  They have organized and run public screening events and assisted with a fundraiser and learned the meaning of community in their hometown. - EMS Parent

David Kirby (West Senior High School) is a WSH legend. We are grateful that he continues to provide students with some of the most exciting learning experiences in the building. On top of that, he takes the lead in reaching out to other staff to ensure they feel connected to the culture at West. Thanks Dave! - Andy Wares

My son took weights this year for the first time. Mr. Doug Gle (Central High School) has guided him through learning more about his own strengths - both physical and mental. My son has not only become more aware of his health, but is happier and stronger than ever before. (And hungrier!) Thank you to Mr. Gle for creating a thoughtful class and treating each student with respect and patience. - Alison Sullivan

My daughter had Mr. Culver (Silver Lake Elementary School) for 5th grade and I can't believe how much she has changed for the better under his teaching - she is much stronger in math, and just overall more confident in her abilities in the classroom, which I attribute directly to Mr. Culver's teaching style. She admires him so much, he does such a great job relating to the kids. - Sam Charnes

Tracy Rucker (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis) has taught two of my children, for a total of five years with our family. She has met every challenge with grace and has always been able to help them overcome any obstacle they faced. Not only is she kind with a huge heart, she is a brilliant educator who I owe a debt I could never repay due to how far above and beyond she has gone for both of my children. We adore her sense of humor and willingness to be flexible and meet the child where they’re at. I have no doubt that when my child is in her classroom, they are loved and that is the most important thing to any parent. - Bonnie Thomas Wagner

Mrs. Marek (Eastern Elementary School) was my daughter’s kindergarten teacher and we continue to adore her. You can see the love for her students shine wherever she is in Eastern. Thank you “Mama Marek” for starting my daughter’s school years off with confidence. What you do with a classroom of kindergarten kiddos is truly amazing and we need a month (or two!), not a week, to celebrate you!! - Sarah Gano

This year, my husband and I, together with our twin daughters, made the decision to enroll the twins in separate kindergarten rooms. We struggled with this decision because our daughter can struggle to navigate life skills. We knew that it would take someone truly special to help her finesse these skills.  What we found in Ms. Stremlow (Long Lake Elementary School) surpassed our every hope, and calmed every worry.  She instills confidence in children, she sees their good even on their bad days, she celebrates their success in a manner that is real and tangible to them. Because she believes in our daughter, we find that she can believe in herself. Our little girl is a great reader, has a strong grasp of math and science concepts, and more importantly is growing into a confident and kind human being. We are so very grateful life gave our little girl, Ms Stremlow when she needed her most. Thank you Jackie for all you do!  We are so infinitely grateful for you! - Alisha Ann Baker

Huge thank you to Pat Brumbaugh (West Senior High School) for coming out of retirement to lead the band program this year. Marching band was ten games strong plus the always busy music schedule during the year. Her stamina and leadership deserves recognition. - Marcy Lindberg

Our son is in Ms. Michele and Ms. Tiffany’s room at Silver Lake Elementary School. They are both such wonderful teachers and people! They make it easy to let our lil guy go each day. We know he will be loved, safe and educated. They create such a fun learning environment that we can say enough about. We appreciate them so much! - Tara Pickard

A big shout out to Mrs. Simons at Central Grade School. Our daughter has excelled in so many areas during her first grade year with Mrs. Simons. We appreciate your dedication and hard work to help our daughter! - Thank you, Robert & Stephanie Ellul

Thank you Mrs. Larrea (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis) for nurturing our littles, helping them grow and become self-sufficient and being a resource for us, as parents. Our daughter adores you and so do we.  Our school is so lucky for your leadership. - The Fri Family

When I see Mrs. Parvel (Eastern Elementary School) working with kids in the library not only do I want to join a class but she makes me want to read every book that she recommends. Kate is amazing at knowing each student’s interest and suggesting appropriate (and increasingly challenging) books for them. She’s constantly guiding them to new levels and selecting books to share that the whole class wants to borrow immediately. I can’t imagine how long the wait list is for some of the titles in Eastern’s library after Mrs. Parvel vouches that a student would enjoy the book. Thank you for fostering a love of reading in our school. - Sarah Gano

One of my daughters was lucky enough to have Ms. Kristi Brunink (Central High School) as a softball coach and now as her AP Psych teacher. My daughter tends to be quieter in class, but Ms. Brunink has always "seen" my daughter and been vocal in acknowledging her strengths. As a parent I appreciate her taking the time to make sure my daughter felt noticed. - Jill Jenkins

My family and I would like to thank Mrs. Brittany Kay, a TCAPS Literacy Coach (Blair Elementary School)! She has been working with our daughter in private tutoring sessions over the last couple of months. The difference in our daughter’s self esteem for her academics and her sheer excitement for night time reading is nothing short of incredible!! Thank you, thank you, thank you, for helping our daughter to discover her potential and love for learning! You are the BEST!! - Sara Dennis-Parker

Mr. Habich (TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis), you have helped my young man of ten years continue to grow as a good citizen and a productive student. Your kindness, caring, positive attitude, and upbeat influence will not be forgotten, nor is it taken for granted. I know working with young ones can be a challenge, but you give your all every day and my son is benefiting from your experience and vast knowledge. Thank you so much for sharing all your expertise and kindness to all your students. Blessings - Tracey Tull

Dear TAG Staff (Central Grade School), thank you for your continuous teaching capabilities, love of furthering our children's lives and pure unconditional care you put into our children to want to succeed. My daughter has seen her struggles when it has came to learning at a young age (was found to be 85% deaf at 1 1/2 years old). She had surgery and received gestational tubes in her ears. It was a slow go but she got here with having fabulous teaches and TCAPS staff. After taking the TAG testing we were elated to find out she was on the wait list and to know she could be with other children that would understand her more academically. Thank you once again for loving your job and to know you are the people that make our children into having fabulous futures. Sincere Thanks - Danielle I Wegrecki

Our daughter attends West Middle School and loves going to school!  She is excited about learning and shares stories about her day.  Mrs. Medler, Ms. Donahue, Mrs. Rundio and Mrs. Slaggert motivate and inspire their students not only to learn, but to enjoy learning. They are the sort of teachers that impact students for a lifetime. They are dedicated to their students. They care about individual children and show kindness to those that need it most. They provide a safe learning environment for all students. Their dedication and willingness to go beyond what's required of them is a testament to the quality of teachers at TCAPS. Thank you, Mrs. Medler, Ms. Donahue, Mrs. Rundio and Mrs. Slaggert for all that you do! - Deyar Jamil

We would like to acknowledge the impact that Mrs. Stephanie Jackson (Central Grade School) has had on our daughter, both educationally and personally. Our daughter has had the privilege of having Mrs. Jackson for both 1st and 3rd grade. She was beyond excited at the beginning of this year when she found out that she was going to be able to spend another year in Mrs. Jackson’s classroom. Mrs. Jackson inspires and challenges her students, while at the same time, building their confidence and self esteem.  She clearly communicates expectations, but does so with compassion and reassurance that her students have the capabilities to achieve them. She has connected with our daughter on her love of animals and has cultivated a love of reading and books. Recently our daughter was experiencing some anxiety surrounding some upcoming standardized testing. Both myself (her mom) and her older brother spoke with her extensively to calm her fears. But the person who was able to most effectively put her at ease was her teacher, Mrs. Jackson. She spent a recent lunch hour doing so, taking the time to alleviate her fear and reassure our daughter. When it comes to school, there is no one she trusts more than Mrs. Jackson. On several occasions this school year, Mrs. Jackson has quickly responded to messages from me regarding questions or concerns. She offered ideas and solutions that have resulted in a happy and thriving 3rd grader. We will greatly miss Mrs. Jackson next year! She, in addition to Mrs. Erika Olvey and Mrs. DDK, have laid the groundwork for a bright academic future for our daughter. Thank you for your passion and commitment! It does not go unnoticed. We appreciate all of you more than words can express! - Chris and Kristine Roush

Thank you to Mrs. McGrew (Central Grade School) for overseeing the Student Council. Your leadership has enabled 4th and 5th graders the opportunity to be learn to be leaders and contribute to the school in numerous ways. - Central Grade Parent

I would like to thank Mrs. Gallagher at (East Middle School). She is extremely dedicated, and my child has greatly appreciated her support for the past two years. As a parent, I can't thank her enough. I am at ease knowing my child is safe, and she always has a trusted adult on her side. THANK YOU Mrs. Gallagher! - EMS Parent   

Staff Appreciation Week

Each year, the Board of Education celebrates staff by designating the first week of May as Staff Appreciation Week. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

“We wanted to send a little note of appreciation for our daughter's kindergarten teacher, Deb DeKuiper. DDK is a generous and passionate teacher, exactly the kind of person anyone would love to be their child's kindergarten teacher. She helps students feel confident about their work, and creates a positive environment for children. It is impressive to think about all of the students she taught to read and write over the course of her career, and what an impact she has made on our community and beyond. Mrs. DeKuiper has such a warm way about her but also manages to keep the respect of the kids. It's always amazing to me to walk in her classroom and see 20 kindergarteners sitting quietly and working diligently on their schoolwork. She has made her classroom a very safe place where the kids can take risks and continue to encourage and push each other in a positive way. Our daughter comes home happy from school, and proud of her own accomplishments. She is excited about learning and wants to share what she has learned. We couldn't be happier with the growth we have seen in our daughter this year. We feel so fortunate to be part of the Central Grade community and feel like our children have all had wonderful teachers.  Mrs. DeKuiper is certainly one of the shining "Superstars" there and she will be greatly missed at Central Grade when she retires.” With gratitude, Heidi S.

“I would like to thank Brenda Meindertsma at Central High School.  She encourages and challenges her students. English is not my boys’ favorite subject because writing is difficult for them, but Mrs. Meindertsma is one of their favorite teachers!  They know that she cares and so are willing to put in the hard work and enjoy going to her class.” –Stacey R.

Mrs. Jane Porath (East Middle School) is someone who teaches us to learn on our own. What we mean by that is that she will let you figure something out on your own. However, if you have a question or don't know what you're doing she will help you with everything and anything you need. By having us think on our own prepares us immensely for high school. As this being her first year teaching geometry we have to say she's done amazingly.” –Isabel A. and Amelia S., EMS students

Kathryn Phillips (East Middle School) has been our teacher for two years. Her kind heart and caring smile has made both seventh and eighth grade a whole lot easier. Her class last year made us much more aware of what was going on around the world. Her class this year has taught us to become better writers and hone our skills of interviewing and being interviewed. We are very thankful to have had her for these two years.” – Isabel A. and Amelia S., EMS students

Mr. Peter Deneen's (East Middle School) want for us to do well has taught me to strive for my very best. Keeping the band room on task for a whole hour is not a small task. Yet Mr. Deneen does it day after day and week after week. His love for music has also taught me so much over the two years I have had as his student. He also is kind to everyone band student or not. I have many reasons to thank Mr. Deneen for being a great band teacher.” –Isabel A., EMS student

“We have had the privilege of having Mrs. Michele Zebell (East Middle School) as our teacher for three years! Each year we have learned more and more about music and have grown immensely as musicians. Aside from inspiring our musicality, Mrs. Zebell supports all of us for who we are. Her smiling face and eagerness to help makes the choir room a safe place for her students. Her motherly personality and love of her job and students makes her choir a family.” –Isabel A. and Amelia S., EMS students

Mrs. Jody Mackey (East Middle School) is a teacher who has truly prepared us for high school. Having her two hours a day, we are always sure to learn something new in her class. She pushes us to work harder and think critically. She helps us develop opinions as well as understand the other views of a situation. Not one of Mackey students can say they didn't grow as a learner this year and we are very grateful to have had such a dedicated teacher.” – Isabel A. and Amelia S., EMS students

Mr. Leo Hagedorn (East Middle School) lets us be as creative as we want with projects. He feeds the inner kid inside us by always keeping activities fun and not stressful. He always makes sure we have enough time to finish projects and tests. Giving us bonus time to study if need be. He provides an environment where kids are not afraid to try new things.” –Isabel A. and Amelia S., EMS students

Minda Nyquist (West Senior High School): Teachers are immortal because the knowledge and skill they pass on stays in the minds of their students for generations to come. We have seen an extraordinary student (even if he is mine) rise to the stage because he was trained by an extraordinary teacher like you. Thank you for passing on priceless knowledge and wisdom to my son. Because you are his teacher I know that there will be a brighter future. Women like you don't always have fancy degrees, drive big cars are living big houses but they're the ones with the big hearts and the burning desires. Thank you for giving my son much needed advice. For shaping not just his acting skills. For showing lost kids the way. Thank you for making countless hours of sacrifice. For taking up a profession so selfless. For helping me breathe easy and for being you. You make the world a better place –one kid at a time and I thank you.  –Joelle M.

Friday, May 5, 2017


A dedicated team

“We would like to say how impressed we are with the leadership we experienced throughout the transition from Eastern Elementary School to our new temporary home at Bertha Vos. Coming back from spring break to have everything in place to make kids and parents feel comfortable and get right back into learning was the result of a lot of forethought and effort. Thank you to teachers, staff, and support from the upper administration for all the hard work and proactive thinking. It would have been easy to get bogged down in negativity and details in the face of such an enormous task, but that never happened. Positivity ruled every conversation. I was especially happy to hear that teachers were given time and assistance to make the move. Teachers, we know you still put forth a lot of extra effort to make it all come together and we are extremely grateful for your efforts. I have spoken with many parents who feel the same way. TCAPS, you did an outstanding job.” – Dan and Nikki S.

“I'm in East Middle School. All my 7th grade teachers have been really nice and didn't give up on me when I was having trouble this year really talking in class. I felt really shy to talk but when I finally talked to my teachers they were all really nice. They made me feel it was okay to talk in class and to them. Though I still feel uncomfortable sometimes, I feel like I got over being nervous all the time and it's okay to participate in class.” – G. D., EMS student

“I would like to share my most heartfelt appreciation for the staff at Traverse Heights Elementary. Year after year I continue to be amazed at the professionalism, compassion, and dedication of this staff. They have helped my children grow and learn in so many ways. Thank you Jen Rickert, Cindy Andersen-Schwartz, Jen Rubinas, Carrie and Cindy, Mrs. Steele, Sue Chapman, Marie Dituri, Mr. Keith, Ms. Sam, Ms. Amber, Mrs. Dunlap, Ms. Joanne, Mrs. Jill, Mr. Arvo and so many others. Thank you for being there for our children!” – M. B.

“We are a Willow Hill family, and we express gratitude to a fantastic bus driver, Mark Walters.  As a bus driver, "Mr. Mark" is the first positive experience of our daughter's school day. Mark connects with children through greeting them by name, having fun and sharing his great sense of humor. Fridays are a bonus as he gives suckers, even for a younger sibling hoping to ride the bus. For the kids in the back of the bus, you are missing fun with Mr. Mark in the front of the bus! Mr. Mark, as our daughter and other children grow, they will reflect upon you fondly! We are also want to recognize our Willow Hill Principal, Mrs. Sides-McKay.  She leads her school by smiling as she greets children by name, giving every child a Valentine card, and being a trooper in the dunk tank at the WH carnival! Also, a special thank you to Ms. Weston & Ms. Smith for being compassionate teachers, embracing the needs and uniqueness of all children, and providing a fun and caring classroom. Gratitude also to Ms. Forton and Ms. Phend for handling sickness and individual needs with kindness and empathy. We also appreciate Ms. Kirby & Ms. Laura for their attentiveness and kindness at extended day. Thank you Mr. Dimas for smiling and being playful with the children as you keep the school functional and clean!” – A Willow Hill parent

“I would like to Thank Coach Kelly of the girls’ swim team and the head of the athletic department for their help last fall. My daughter and I had just moved here from Italy. She is a swimmer and wanted to join the team; she didn't know anyone, is very shy and this was the one way for her to fit in to a new school environment. Unfortunately, the Michigan High School Athletic Association does not allow transfer students to participate fully in sports their first year. Coach Kelly and the Athletic Director Mark Mattson appealed this decision, fought for allowing our daughter to compete and won! They both are exemplary individuals who helped a new teenager's difficult transition into a new country and school. I thank them both along with Central High School's entire staff for making my daughter's transition a bit easier.”– Janene S.

The dedication and commitment of the entire staff at Blair Elementary School continues to shine as they make great strides in the service of their students. Today’s Ticker article “Blair Elementary Tackling Touch Issues, Finding Progress” highlights their efforts. We think our Blair staff is amazing and plenty of Ticker readers agreed:

  • “I'm so grateful for the incredible work being done at Blair Elementary. Thank you for having the courage to see the difficult realities of our community and for taking action.” – Sue B.
  • “Thank you Kirsten Morgan and the rest of the gang at Blair Elementary for your special efforts to make our community a better place. Heartwarming.” – Dan S.
  • “I am a ‘Big Sister’ to a student at Blair and this article is so appreciated. I've seen firsthand the hard work each staff/faculty member at Blair does, every single day. Thanks for bringing light to a community of people who go above and beyond to improve not just their education, but the lives of these children. This school is in dire need of volunteerism and more "Bigs". 40 minutes a week is all it takes to be a big brother/sister! I have 2 small children of my own and becoming a big has been one of the best decisions I've made!” – Sandra M.

“I hope that MR. GOODWIN, Courtade Elementary knows what a great impact he has made on our daughter this year. His genuinely kind and caring, yet stern method of teaching is just what she needed this year. She has faced challenges with all she has. Mr. Goodwin has encouraged and help her persevere. Her grades have improved over the course of the year, as well as her organizational and time management. Thank you for all you do Mr. Goodwin!”  – Jim and Angie G.

“I'm grateful for the way the TCAPS Montessori staff has supported my young son as he gets familiar with a school routine...from potty training patience to getting dressed for recess...Mrs. Sysko, Ms. Anne and all others have been lovely. I want to give a special shout out to Ms. Barb in the library. She's created a routine and space that is the highlight of my boy's time at school. We are grateful and a proud TCAPS family.” – Leah M.

“The staff members I work with at Eastern Elementary are so much more than co-workers. They have been there for me to celebrate the good times, provide love and support during difficult times, and have taught me the true meaning of friendship. Each and every one of my colleagues have made a positive impact on my life and continue to inspire me on a daily basis. The Eastern staff is made up of people who genuinely care for the well-being of their students, their families, as well as each other. The office staff, principal, custodians, support staff, teachers, extended day program, aides, and noon duty all go out of their way to make sure anyone who enters the school feels safe, important, and cared for. Eastern stars shine bright and I am so thankful for the amazing people at our school!” –Mandy L.

“My daughter has participated in the musicals at Traverse City West Senior High School for four years. Every year I am amazed at the intense amount of time spent at the school the last two weeks before opening night. As a parent volunteer, I have spent many of those hours at the school. There are no adequate words to express my gratitude for the effort and time given by Erich Wangeman, Minda Nyquist, and Eric Ranke. Furthermore, the custodial staff are nothing short of magicians. We leave the school at 10pm and the staff has it in tip top shape by morning! I think Thank You is not enough but it's all I have, Thank You for giving my child memories to last a lifetime.” – Lori P.

Mr. Soma (Superintendent):  Thank you for being the conscientious leader of TCAPS that you are!  All of the appreciation and kind words towards members of your staff begin with the leader at the top. Thank you for all you do on a daily basis for all of the students at TCAPS.” – Cathy L.

Ms. Candiss Brewer (Willow Hill Elementary School) has been an incredible asset at Willow Hill for her entire teaching career. My experience with Miss B started as a student in her classroom and since then I have had the privilege of being her colleague. She brings an enthusiasm for learning that has ignited a passion within her students each and every year. Miss B. has always worked to develop an incredible relationship with each and every one of her students and they adore her in return!” – Erin J.

“My son has an incredible Middle School experience due to Ms. O'Neil and Mrs. Robbins. They have gone above and beyond for my son and I couldn't be more grateful. With all the students they come into contact with on a daily basis, I feel they know each individual child and help them through their situation. Also, Ms. Humphreys has shown my child a love for music that would never have happened had it not been for her. Our music department is superior due to her hard work and determination and love for the kids. Our family loves being a part of West Middle School.” – Kelly H.

“The staff at Old Mission Peninsula School is always cooperative, collaborative and friendly. They are always happy and willing to do whatever is needed to support student learning and achievement. They ROCK!!!” – Beth Still, Principal

“Thank you, Thank you! Our son is in his first years of school (Central Grade School). He is a proud student of Mrs. Karen Byrne and Ms. Bree (Breanne Schlosser). Our son has blossomed in so many ways - we can never thank you both enough. In the beginning, we were both very nervous letting our 3 year old go, but what a wonderful journey it has been to watch him grow, socialize and learn. Kudos to Mrs. Karen and Ms. Bree!” – Stephanie and Robert E.

“From the moment our 4-year-old stepped onto the school bus last September for her first day of preschool we have been blessed with caring, nurturing, attentive, dedicated TCAPS staff. We could not be happier with Miss Vig and Miss Gail at Westwoods Elementary School for the amazing work they do. Our daughter always comes home happy and excited to share what she has learned. We can't thank them enough for their energy and enthusiasm, for keeping us up-to-date with pictures and stories, and for fostering a love of learning and exploration. Mr. John, our daughter's bus driver, is fantastic! He is kind and patient, especially when she has fallen asleep (or just pretends to). So many others at Westwoods have also made an impact on our daughter. She sings us every song she learns, randomly uses Spanish words in every day conversation, and loves to show off her brand new balance bike skills. To everyone who has touched our lives this past year - THANK YOU! We are so grateful.” – Carrie and Gene S.

“I would like to thank Mrs. Chargo, Mr. Griesinger, Mr. Hofstra, Miss Linsmeier, Mr. McDonald, and Mr. Ranke for teaching my daughter this school year (West Senior High School). Every one of you inspire her daily in more ways than one. There is not a single day I don't hear about her learning experience and your names from her without a smile on her face. Thank you for making a difference!” – Candan S.

“I'd like to say a HUGE thank you to all of the support staff at Traverse Heights. They continually provide support to our teachers and students in numerous ways. One Friday a month, they take on the enormous responsibility of managing students during Enrichment Day activities. Their commitment and flexibility has not gone unnoticed. We couldn't do it without you!  Rock stars!” – Alicia Rowney, IB Coordinator

“I'm so grateful for the great team at TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis and all they do to help our kids become better citizens and excited learners. Special thanks to Mrs. Olson, Mrs. Stricker and Mrs. Hall and Miss Kristi and Miss Barbi!” – Whitney W.

“We would like to thank the staff at Cherry Knoll Elementary. Each day, there are friendly, smiling faces to welcome and care for our children at school. The nurturing environment and outstanding teachers and staff are nothing less than impressive. This is our sixth year with a child at CK. The preschool class teachers opened their arms to our youngest this year and he has grown by leaps and bounds. Our second grader has nothing but good words to say about his teachers and experiences. Our fifth grader has enjoyed the hands on learning to apply their lessons to real situations this year. Thanks to ALL at Cherry Knoll for making it such a wonderful place. We certainly don't say it often enough -Teachers, we appreciate you!” – Shawn and Kendra W.

“I have had the opportunity to teach in 9 TCAPS school during the past 36 years. Each has been unique. But, the one that stands out the most has been Willow Hill Elementary School. Our principal Angela Sides-McKay is a talented, smart, and positive leader. She adds fun to our day while keeping learning at the forefront and encouraging us to 'not sweat the small stuff". The teachers never say no. Their 'can-do' attitudes enhance the learning of all students, giving up their planning time, their after school time, sometimes even before their own family time to prepare and make sure everyone is successful. With big smiles on their faces they do such things as hold fundraisers, participate with the PTO, organize Battle of the Books, run Fun and Funky Field Day, coordinate outstanding musical performances, buy clothing for needy students, and work effortlessly with outside agencies to benefit our students. Our staff fills the gaps without being asked.  Their extra attention is instrumental in making sure all students reach their full potential. How fortunate I have been to be a member of such a caring, nurturing, and outstanding environment as a parent and teacher.  Thank you Willow Hill.”  – Debby R.

“A story to share, and experience to share? How about one big “Thank You!” My kids are very fortunate to be in your system, they have no idea how good they have it. Whatever you’re doing keep it up……..Thank you, thank you, and thank you. It takes a village, and some awesome teachers, and some more awesome Coaches – Thank you Mr. Vance (West Middle School)!!!” – Mark F.

“Anna DeMarsh, GSRP teacher at Traverse Heights, and her co-teacher Ms. Walters have been an incredible blessing to my son during a difficult year of transition for him. Anna has taken time out of her busy day to answer my e-mails regarding his behaviors and providing me with updates. She has offered helpful suggestions, provided valuable feedback and has demonstrated a genuine concern for my son. She has gone as far as to create a photo book for him to keep handy for when he is feeling sad. Her patience, compassion and professionalism has provided me with great comfort during a difficult time. I truly feel that my son has a team of supporters and care givers at Traverse Heights who have gone above and beyond. This program and staff has far exceeded my expectations. Anna--thank you for all you've done to care for my son and to offer support to me!” – Sara B.

“A big thank you to Mrs. DeKuiper at Central Grade School for all your guidance, compassionate and education to our kindergartner! She went into to school as a shy kindergartner and has blossomed into an avid reader and has a passion for school- well most days! Mrs. DeKuiper not only made our daughter feel secure but taught her to reach for the stars! Thank you for making our daughter’s first full year in school the best! Wishing you the very best! Thank you.” – Stephanie and Rob E.

Ms. DuCheny (Courtade Elementary School) has just been awesome and deserves secretary of the year award, seriously. Jean has always been so helpful whenever I call with questions. She is a master multitasker and at the same time she knows what is going on with each student. She is a very special and kind person. We just love Jean! I could go on and on with every staff member of the Courtade team but instead of writing forty pages, let me just say that each and every single one of you are extremely appreciated and admired! Thank you so much for all you do!” – Laurie B.

“I want to thank Mrs Jana DuGuay and Mrs. Lisa Forton for helping my daughter make a great transition to Willow Hill Elementary. It's not easy for a child to move to another town and go to a new school. Thank you for making it a positive one for my daughter!” –Laura G.

Liz Sievers is the Lead Administrative Assistant for TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis. She handles bloody noses, sick children, sick staff (finding subs for everyone), time cards, the building budget, count day and the phones. She assists guest into the building, makes deliveries all day and still manages to treat everyone with grace and courtesy. I say all the time that I have the best job EVER because I get to work with Liz. She is an amazing co-worker; she gives praise when deserved and also knows how to correct me when I have made a mistake.” – Liz Y.

“I would like to show appreciation for Principal Ben Berger (Central High School). Mr. Berger has shown astounding support for my son during the events of his evolving seizure disorder. He has gone above and beyond to make sure my son is safe, and has devoted several hours at his side with good humor and a laid back demeanor. Mr. Berger, thank you, thank you for your devotion, understanding, patience, and communication during this difficult time!” – Jeni N.

“Our family appreciates the staff at Courtade Elementary School, especially Mrs. Darling and Mrs. Rossan for helping our children grow and learn. The staff goes above and beyond and truly seems to care about students. Thank you for all you do!” – Elizabeth B.

“Our daughter is in Ms. Michele Conway & Ms. Tiffany Bright's preschool classroom 3 days a week at Silver Lake Elementary School. She was in a different preschool classroom, at a different school last year and had a rough time. Michele and Tiffany have made this year the most amazing experience for us and our daughter. We are so thankful to have them and to help our daughter transition to Kindergarten next year. Thank you ladies!” – Sarah H.

“I would like to thank Liz Yarch for being an important part of our office team (TCAPS Montessori). These past 4 years have been an amazing journey with her and I couldn't do my office job without her. She is always willing to step in when needed and is always saying that she has the best job ever! I have the best job ever because I work with her. Here's to many more years together!” – Liz S.

“As our family ventures on to new beginnings, we would like to thank each and every one of you at Courtade Elementary School for all of your selfless support over the last 5 years. Moving to Traverse City in 2012 was a scary move for our daughters. Choosing Courtade as our school was the best decision we made for them at that time! It breaks my heart our son won't be a Cougar, but I am certain we will gain a similar experience at Cherry Knoll.” – Lauren T.

“Our son has had a great three years at Long Lake Elementary and the staff are the reason. From their forward-thinking principal, Kate Burwinkel, to the sweet and attentive Kelly Kochanny (TBAISD) to our son’s current encouraging teacher Linda Melvin, they have all been open minded, willing to try new things and adore him as much as we do. It's an overwhelmingly tough job to be a leader to so many different kids! I give them a lot of credit for taking extra time with us and with our son to help him succeed.” – Kristy P.

“I want to give a big thanks and shout-out to the staff at Cherry Knoll Elementary. My kids have moved on now but I see how the solid fundamentals taught by the best Elementary school teachers have given my two kids a great advantage. The first and largest impression that hinted at the quality instruction was when Kelley Carroll and Barb Corbett recognized my daughter's inability to read at grade level in Grade 1. In a short 2-week period my daughter was in a Reading Recovery program and 6-weeks later she was reading at grade level. To this day it brings tears to my eyes. My daughter now reads well above grade level - and it all started at Cherry Knoll. They instilled a love of books and reading in a child who was floundering and frustrated. I wish I could name all the great teachers and staff who influenced my kids over the years but I'd run out of space. Cherry Knoll holds a special place in our hearts and everyone from the Principal, front desk, custodians, teachers, and support staff are wonderful!”  – Cheryl O.

“TCAPS is blessed to have dedicated teachers who are reflective of best teaching and learning practices.  We have a large number of K-11 ELA teachers who have been piloting programs to research programs that are aligned to the Common Core Standards, the five components of reading, and comprehensive in scope and sequence. Piloting programs takes extra time and effort to learn the various components of the program and how to effectively teach the lessons. I am so grateful to have teachers who are willing to do this work for the ultimate benefit for our students and their achievement. Many thanks to all of our ELA pilot teachers!!”  – Caroline Wacker, TCAPS K-12 ELA Leader 

“We would like to take a minute to recognize the administration and staff at West Senior High. They have been nothing short of AWESOME in supporting our son. Thank you for the environment you create for learning. We appreciate you.”  – Jerry and Biz R. 

“I am writing to give a huge shout-out to all the staff at Long Lake!  I moved here in August from California and joined TCAPS as the ESL/ELL Coach for the district. I am housed at Long Lake, as Kate Burwinkel is my supervisor. I couldn't be happier to be a Long Lake Panther! The staff has an unbelievable spirit. They are dedicated, thoughtful, reflective, hardworking, caring, and FUN, just to mention a few attributes. They welcomed me into the mix and made me feel comfortable from the get go. I am so appreciative to be in a place that is so positive and upbeat. Kate leads the staff with a vision that I have seldom seen in all my years of teaching. She wants the best for all her students and staff and continually introduces ideas that encourage and guide us along this path. She puts in an extraordinary amount of time and effort into her job because she sees it more than just a job. It is a passion and calling. All the Long Lake Panthers (staff, students and families) are lucky to have Kate Burwinkel as their fearless leader. Thank you, Kate, and all the LL staff for all you do to make Long Lake School a success and a happy place to work!” – Kathleen S.

“I would to thank our principal, Lisa VanLoo (TCAPS Montessori), for always being a fair, kind, considerate, mindful principal. Not a day goes by that I don't appreciate her knowledge and striving to make our students think for themselves but also making peace in our building. She has been a blessing to us these past 4 years and I feel we are the luckiest elementary school in TCAPS. Thank you Lisa VanLoo, and here's to many more years together.” – Liz S.

“I would like to recognize the amazing effort that went toward the 2nd annual Willow Hill Elementary School Battle of the Books event. Staff members Mary Jane Collins, Erin Jongekrijg, Jennifer Glynn, and Martha Topol (along with support from many others) planned the event, coordinated the volunteer coaches, and held a good-spirited competition for 95 4th and 5th grade students on 15 teams at Willow Hill Elementary.” – Angela Sides-McKay, Principal 

Willow Hill Battle of the Books Teams

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Going above and beyond

“I hope to thank all of my teachers (West Senior High School) for their incredible patience and faith with me when I was beyond such things. Despite the turmoil in my life that results in a lack of motivation in school, they were committed to helping me in any way they could, and that is something truly special. I was difficult. I hope that they come to realize that though I may have seemed rude or simply disinterested, they made an impact on my life every time they encouraged me or talked to me about my lack of attention and my work ethic. Some have even gone above and beyond their job requirements to help me and guide me towards a more successful path. They will likely know who they are, because I know I am not the only student they have shown exemplary commitment to and this is due to the fact that they possess such passion in their work and connections to their students. Not one of the teachers or staff member gave up on me-even when I'm sure they really wanted to. They are not merely meeting a quota; they want to see students learn and grow and prepare them for the outside world. I know that being a teacher, principal or counselor is already a very frustrating job and students like me are a nuisance, but even if they do not see their own investments reflected back, I will always hold the knowledge that they made a difference for me. I could not ask for anything better from the WHS staff who were concerned about my future and my own success even though I didn't believe in myself. I am going to college at Texas State University and I know I need to change the way I study, prepare and organize. Thank you to the teachers who care and who believe in students even when they themselves do not. – Madison R. (Senior at WHS)

“I am so lucky to have Mrs. Annelin (Central Grade School) as my fifth grade teacher! She is always nice, thoughtful, and caring. She also has a great sense of humor. Even when my peers aren't being very thoughtful and are being disrespectful she makes sure she stays calm and figures out how to deal with different situations. She honestly is probably the best fifth grade teacher a girl could ask for. Everyday I say goodbye at the end of the day and I hug her and she always says the nicest things like "You did a great job today sweetie! I hope you have a great night!" Or "Thank you so much for helping me out today! You are such a big helper!" As you can see she is a great role model and anybody who is in her class adores her, she is the best! Thanks” –Amelia L., 5th grade student

“I am so grateful that I get to work with Carrie Sattler (Boardman Administration Building). She handles the credit card payment processing for TCAPS! She also does ACH for all of the tuition based programs, handles all of the returned checks and posts all of the charges and prints the statements for all of our tuition based programs.....  I don't know how many people she helps throughout our District but I can tell you that without her I wouldn't be able to do my job at TCAPS Montessori. Whenever I call Carrie with a question she is friendly, she finds the answers and gets back to me very quickly! I appreciate Carrie so much!!” – Liz Y.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to all the staff at Courtade Elementary School, the staff makes everyone feel like family. Both of my children have attended this school. One is currently a 3rd grade student. Mrs. Spitzley has gone above and beyond for her students and had made such a huge impact on my son. It takes a very special person to teach with such love and empathy. Thank you for all that you do.”  – Sherry E.

“I would like to take this opportunity to give Mr. Lance Morgan, of Traverse City High School, the appreciation and accolades that he deserves for doing not only "his job", but for going above and beyond his job title of principal. The amount of care and concern that he places on each and every one of his students has absolutely blown my mind. From Thanksgiving Dinner for the students, knowing that it may be the only one they get, to piling on Christmas gifts, individually chosen, for each and every child....beyond what most will ever get at home.  Family picnics and barbecue luncheons...I cannot think of one school employee that has ever impressed me the way this man does! If there is such a thing as the principal of the year award, he definitely deserves the title! Thank you Mr. Morgan for everything you do!!” – Kristine M.

“This fall, we found ourselves as parents entering kindergarten with our first child. I recognize this is an emotional and trying time for all families, but our daughter seemed to have an exceptionally tough time with the transition. We made significant efforts to remain enthusiastic and affirming at home, but felt ill-equipped in knowing how to help her acclimate at school. Thankfully, at Eastern Elementary School, she was in very kind and capable hands! Ms. Ruskowski graciously joined her for a walk and breakfast the first few mornings to calm her nerves. Not a bad way to get to know your new principal! While juggling the many needs of 25 other newbies, her teacher, Jackie Stremlow found special ways to connect with my daughter and helped ease her into the routine that she so LOVEs today!  We are grateful for Ms. Stremlow's warmth and patience as she has taught our daughter so much this year- not simply to read and write (which are vital, too!), but confidence in herself and a desire to learn. I know we'll always remember her success story, and I have a feeling we'll always love Dr. Seuss, too. Thank you, Ms. Stremlow!”  –Becky R.

Shelagh Fehrenbach has done amazing things for our daughter. She moved to Westwoods Elementary School from Interlochen in 3rd grade and that transition was very smooth and she has come out of her shell more each year. She is in 5th grade this year and is in Shelagh's blend. Shelagh does such an amazing job of nurturing the whole child and really allowing the students to take on leadership and guide things in class. The excitement and love of learning that she grows in her students is palpable. She has been the perfect fit for our girl. She has nurtured our shy girl to come out of her shell even more and has increased her confidence and she has shown through her conversations with us that she really knows and understands our daughter. On top of being amazing for our family, Shelagh goes above and beyond for the school. She attends most PTO meetings and is always willing to help out with anything the PTO asks of her. Thank you, Shelagh!” – Stefanie B.

Mrs. Gosney (Willow Hill Elementary): What an amazing Kindergarten teacher! She got married, had a baby, and never skipped a beat in the education of our son. She not only helped our son acclimate to a school setting, but also helped us as the nervous parents of our one and only. She also took extra care to make sure our son was on the right path in reading even a year later.  Thank you Mrs. Gosney!” – Torre B.

“I'd like to say THANK YOU so much to Kristen Nolan (Traverse City West Senior High School)!!!! She has helped us at Off-Campus sooooooo Much!!! She always goes above and beyond for the kids with a positive attitude!! I really appreciate all the help she has provided during this time.” — Malissa G.

“We had an amazing experience with Sarah Marek as a teacher at Eastern Elementary.  She was so kind and patient with the kids and helped them learn so much while realizing they are kids and school has so much more to teach than academics. Thank you Mrs. Marek!” – Sarah G.

“Jason Carmien and Joe Esper (Traverse City West Senior High School):  Many thanks for your professionalism and compassion during a very difficult time for our varsity girls' basketball players. This was a season many would wish to forget, but your guidance and leadership helped to offer the players life skills and resilience to move forward in a sport they love. They will be better and stronger - not only because of Coach Wilde and all he left them, but also because you both provided much needed support. Coach Doug Baumann and Coach Amy:  Thank you, thank you, thank you - for agreeing to coach varsity girls' basketball at West Senior High. You have all of our support - players and parents!!” – Cathy M.

“I want to let you know how important all of you are to me and my daughter. This year she has had the pleasure of being in Ms. Kroupa's class (Courtade Elementary School). Kathy has helped my daughter in so many ways and has gone above and beyond helping her with not only educational challenges but also how to handle her high levels of anxiety in class. Kathy has always set aside time to meet with me whenever I have had concerns. I know this is not an easy task when doing this for all students in her class and also having to attend so many mandatory meetings that the state has forced upon all of our educational work staff.” –Laurie B.

“Both my children attend Westwoods. We have been very lucky with amazing teachers each year. It hasn't changed a bit since I've been there! The Westwoods staff in general is awesome. This year we have Mrs. Lauters for our daughter’s kindergarten teacher. When my daughter first started school she recognized ONE letter (this is also her first year of anything, she never had day care or preschool) barely got through the alphabet and really didn’t have that urge to learn. Mrs. Lauters is amazing! Our kindergartener is now reading, writing, and doing math problems. Her teacher went above and beyond not only is she teaching these children but she loves what she does and you can just see her compassion. She made a basket for our daughter to help get her on the right track and help her be able to be where she needed to be. I cannot say enough good things about this woman. She is always finding ways to help her learn better and enjoy it in the process! We are so thankful that our daughter has her for her first year. Thank you Mrs. Lauters, keep being amazing. (my daughter also loves the hugs and her encouragement on a daily basis, and now loves to learn and can't get enough reading).” –Ashlee and Ben K.

“Our family moved to TC in October. Moving from the U.P. to the L.P. was a huge transition for all of us. Our daughter was placed at Central Grade School with Ms. Kendall Cox and Ms. Deb Lautner. I think we were all a little nervous about this big change. Kendall and Deb have been so inviting and kind not only to my daughter but to my husband and myself. They care so deeply for all their kid it really helped reassure us that we made the right decision. Our daughter is thriving, loving school, and LOVES everyone at Central Grade!” –Amanda C.

“My daughter attends first grade at Silver Lake Elementary School. Her teacher is Mrs. Sanford. My daughter has had a wonderful year due to Mrs. Sanford's dedication and appreciation of her students and their strengths. She goes above and beyond and is truly a gifted and special teacher. My husband and I are so grateful for Mrs. Sanford and all she has given her students over the course of the year. We feel blessed that our daughter had her as a teacher and we know she is better off because of it. Many thanks to you, Mrs. Sanford. You are the best.” – Eric and Elizabeth C.

Mrs. Topol makes the library and books come alive for the students in an amazingly thoughtful way. From book fairs, to castle building, to activities, to reading month, to guest authors, she always finds ways to create a space for the students to thrive and grow. She is definitely a huge part of the soul of Willow Hill Elementary School.  Thanks Mrs. Topol!” –Torre B.

“Jenny Walter (Westwoods Elementary School) has been very helpful with a few of our PTO things this year. She just took on a huge task of running our last fundraiser of a read-a-thon. She also shows her passion as a teacher each time she presents anything at our PTO meetings. (My children have never had her as a teacher, but as the PTO president we appreciate it when teachers are involved)” – Stefanie B.

“I would like to thank all my son's teachers at Central High School for their dedication and extra efforts last fall when my son had a concussion and could not come to school consistently or for an entire day for a week. All of his teachers checked in on him and showed compassion and understanding during this difficult time. Teaching is about the curriculum, but also about showing the students you care about them as a person. My son and my family felt that all of the teachers went above and beyond to make sure that my son was ok academically, physically and mentally. Big thank you to Paige Paul, Emily Moore, Joel Dorgan, Lisa Johnson, Theresa Hunt, and Doug Gle at Central High School. Also, big thank you to Amy Ream, the trainer at CHS, for all of her extra time and hard work to make sure my son was safe to play again.” – Stacey R.

“I just want to give a huge thank you and a show of appreciation for the staff at Traverse Heights. You have gone above and beyond to help this foster mom and her "child" to adjust, support, and help when needed. A special thanks to Heidi Kay, Sue Chapman, Mandy (Ford) and Sam (Zanoni), and Ms. Nelson. You all rock!!!!”–Karen B.

“I would like to thank the entire Eastern Elementary staff for working so diligently to make the recent transition from Eastern to the new temporary home at Betha Vos school so smooth for our students. Moving an entire school is a gigantic undertaking. The staff made it appear seamless. Kudos to you all. Our family is truly blessed to have such an outstanding ‘school family’.” –Anne S.

“We could not be happier with our daughter's experiences at WSH. She talks about her teachers more like they are close family friends. Erich Wangeman, Tak Ready, Maria Chargo, Darren Frechette, Marek Ulicny, and Kelly Rintala teach the curriculum, but they go above and beyond and are more like mentors. They really get to know her, respect her thoughts, challenge her, and she knows they are giving her all they can to help her achieve her goals. What more can a parent ask for than to have your child LOVE school? We thoroughly enjoy the dinner conversations about what happens in each of your classes...the meeting Jimmy Carter story, cat dissection descriptions, using her math skills to tutor other students, Senate responsibilities and fun, the gleam in her eye about singing the selections from Hair because you felt this was the choir to do it, her LOVE of essay writing and the challenging, thought provoking topics given to her. This is all because of you and we thank you for that. We also cannot forget our extreme gratefulness for her neighborhood office leadership in Principal Dan Oberski and Administrative Assistant Mindy Wilkening. You are two very special people and your kindness and support through the years will never be forgotten. Go Titans!!!”  Karyn & Bob H. 

"Ms. Kathy Nester-Pohlman at Long Lake Elementary is our daughter’s preschool teacher. She has been so supportive, thoughtful and creative throughout this entire year. As parents, this is our first child going into preschool and it was very scary to send your little girl to a big school with all these people and things she didn't know, but Ms. Kathy made sure she felt safe. Ms. Kathy makes sure all her students feel safe, confident and have a lot of fun along the way. She is amazing and our daughter loves her!  We want to thank Ms. Kathy for her patience day to day and helping our daughter learn and grow. The stories she has told us, her thoughtful words and her communication throughout the year with us has been truly fantastic. We will never forget the parent teacher conference where Ms. Kathy told us about our daughter writing her name for the first time and how excited our daughter was. Beyond our daughter’s excitement though, was the fact that the very first person our daughter wanted to share her excitement with was Ms. Kathy. It is such a touching moment to know a teacher like her can make such a huge difference in our child's life. Memories like this will last a lifetime. We are forever grateful our daughter has been able to have Ms. Kathy as her very first teacher."  –Chris & Marissa M.

My "Thank You". On behalf of the Westwoods Elementary School community, I would like to publicly thank Jenny Walter for her unwavering support to our children and school community, as a whole. I have had the privilege of working with Jenny for four consecutive years, as the teacher of one of my kindergarten or 1st grade children.  I have always felt that she puts the best interest of all her kids first. It is always a pleasure to sit at a conference with her. As a parent, it is so reassuring to have a teacher that "gets" your kid... and to know that she really "gets" them all, as different as they are. I see her at work in the classroom catering flawlessly to every young child's educational needs, barriers and goals- whether it is academically, emotional or physical. She has always responded professionally and fast to any of my concerns-often, as many teachers do-this takes place on her personal time too. She is so creative with resources and is an advocate for our children at Westwoods. She has given so much personal time and energy raising extra funds for our school. So many children have and will benefit from her undying support for literacy! Over the last four years of being one of her classroom parents-she has raised "extra" funds through Donor Choose projects, Evening of Art at Black Star Farms, Incredible MO's Family night and most recently Whoosreading read-a-thon. She has done this all while raising her own two little children, with a husband that works nights and is currently in Nursing School. I personally know how hard those roles alone can be. I've mentioned many things that I am forever grateful for Jenny for. However, I am most thankful for her classroom motto that she, not only instills in all of her children- but also lives by herself... "Always Choose To Be Kind." She has so many teaching accomplishments, but this is truly, one of her greatest. As evidence of all the thankful parents in her classroom this year- on her birthday all the kids wore a t-shirt with her favorite saying "Choose to be kind." She tirelessly gives to our school community and is helping raise good humans. No matter what personal struggles or difficulties she has going on- I've never seen her anything but enthusiastic and smiling- every morning. It means so much to me as a parent- to know- my child will no doubt be greeted with a smiling, kind face, enthusiasm for learning and an expectation to be kind. Thank you for all you do Jenny Walter!” – Miguel S.

“Our daughter is in Mrs. McGrew’s (Central Grade School) 4th/5th-grade class. When we first learned that she would be in a split class, we had some concerns but decided that we would move forward with it and see how it went. We are certainly jubilant that we didn’t question the choice and allowed our daughter to remain in the class. There are several reasons, but the number one is that we believe Mrs. McGrew’s method of teaching impacted our daughter’s growth this year. In other words, this year we have seen her grow and blossom extensively in her reading and writing. We contribute it not only to what we do at home as her parents but the guidance and direction she receives from her teacher at the school. Mrs. McGrew reminds me much of my kindergarten teacher when I was young, very kind when the student is following directions and listening, but also stern and holds the child accountable if not. This method of teaching is very much appreciated and certainly valuable in young children’s lives. My daughter holds much respect for Mrs. McGrew as do we. She exhibits a high ethical standard in her classroom, and it certainly comes across to her students. I can only hope that my daughter's future teachers will display as much love, compassion, accountability, and enthusiasm to teach as Mrs. McGrew.” – Aimee B.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Inspiring Student Learning

“For the past 12 years, I have always know that I work with a wonderful staff. But, more so than ever, I have to acknowledge the incredible staff at Westwoods this year. Last summer I was diagnosed with cancer and this school year meant I had to be out for several months due to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Westwoods staff rallied around me and took care of me, my family and my students. T-shirts were made and worn proudly with the logo "No one fights alone" in support of me. They contributed to a fund when they wore them which I used to have my house cleaned during treatment. They made meals for me for almost four months which they also delivered to my family! They sat in on meetings for my students and reported back to me. They were understanding with my own children, who attend Westwoods, as they dealt with their mom being gone and sick. They sent me notes of encouraging words, gifts and gift certificates all to make my life a little better and easier during the most difficult time of my like. I want everyone to know that we are not just an amazing school system but we are an amazing community who takes care of our own. I am proud to be a TCAPS employee and thankful I have the BEST staff to work with every day! I love you WESTWOODS!” –Jennifer J.

“Mrs. Berkshire is amazing. Not only was she my husband's ski coach back in the day, but both of our sons have loved being in her math class. She is witty and kind and knows how to make kids feel confident about themselves. They love her sense of humor and how she can do anything at any moment to keep them on their toes. Thank you, Mrs. Berkshire, for giving our kids an amazing experience in at East Middle School.”  –Chris and Ali S.

“I would like to take the opportunity to recognize an outstanding teacher at Willow HillBarbara Hoffman. Barb has been an important part of Willow Hill and will be greatly missed by the students, parents, and staff as she ventures off into the new chapter of her life. She has been a true hero in my eyes. I see her great respect for her students, parents, and coworker every day. Her clear dedication to this profession stands out with her many hours of time spent at school preparing lessons to meet the needs of every child in her classroom and creating an environment that is safe, productive and fun. My children were blessed with Barb as their second grade teacher, and I personally, have been blessed, with having her in my life as a coworker and friend for the past ten years. She has a heart made of gold and it shows everyday when she interacts with everyone around her. I will miss her warm smile, her calm and friendly mannerisms, and her wonderful sense of humor, and most of all, her kind words of encouragement. I will always remember Barb as one of the best teachers I have ever encountered and I know that when she walks out on that last day, I will be saying goodbye to a great woman that I greatly respect. Good luck, Barb!  You will be greatly missed and your ‘shoes’ will be hard to fill.” –Tricia W.

“We would like to express our appreciation of Mrs. Mandy LaBarre. Mrs. LaBarre is our son's second grade teacher at Eastern Elementary School. Mandy has a very special way of teaching the whole child. She prepares the children in her classroom, not only with a strong academic foundation, but also the very important social and emotional skills needed to navigate life. Each day the class creates a kindness act. These acts are great reminders of ways we can make the world a better place for all. Thank you to Mrs. LaBarre.” –Paul M. and Family

Ms. Richard (Willow Hill Elementary School): One the best things that could have happened to our son was Ms. Richard. She made sure he got on track and stuck with him right to the end to make sure he made it to the appropriate reading level by the end of the school year. Her kindness and structure supported him in a manner that went above and beyond. Thank you Ms. Richard!” – Torre B.

“Laine Kyser (Central Grade School) is a one of those teachers that leaves a lasting impression on her students. She has an amazing way of building a personal relationship with all of her students, even when she has over 30! Our daughter feels that Mrs. Kyser not only cares about her academics but also her social and emotional well-being. Mrs. Kyser went out of her way this year to help our daughter after she had major knee surgery to make her feel safe and cared for when at school. Mrs. Kyser takes a personal interest in her students and welcomes them daily into her classroom with a smile and hug. She inspires them as readers, writers, mathematicians but most of encourages them to be good people. Thank you Mrs. Kyser! –Stephanie & Chris J.

“I just want the staff at Traverse City Central High School to know that my son LOVES his teachers and high school so much, he wants to be a high school science teacher! He “liked” school OK before coming to CHS, but is over the top about school since coming in as a freshman, he is a senior now. He likes to arrive 30-45 EARLY to school every day now that he can drive himself. I would name all his teachers here and now, but I’m afraid I might leave one out and that would be devastating to both of us. He is planning on attending NMU in Marquette next fall with a Major in Physics, minor in Chemistry and an Education Degree. I would like to thank you all, because I know that it “takes a village” to raise a child and you have made a huge difference in this one.” –Kathy S.

“I want to make sure to thank Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Schrotenboer (West Middle School) for their excellent class management and support they give their students. My son says Mrs. Hughes is the best teacher because he can tell she cares about him. She is always willing to communicate with me as a parent and gives her whole heart to her students. Mr. Schrotenboer has proved to challenge my son in a fun atmosphere with his teaching style. My son wasn't a very successful, confident student in math. But after this year under Mr. Schrotenboer, it's his favorite subject. It is definitely the teachers who matter. I cannot thank you two enough! ‘Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning.’" –Amy C.

“Big "THANK YOU's" to be sent out to three amazing upcoming retiring teachers at Willow Hill Elementary...Mrs. Debby Regiani, Miss. Candiss Brewer and Mrs. Barbara Hoffman. These teachers have played a significant role in my children's elementary experience and they will be missed. They are compassionate and so driven to ensure your child's best potential. I've had a flashback recently, as I watch my own daughter that is senior getting ready to graduate from TCWHS. And, she still talks about these teachers today and how they encouraged her to be the best she could be. Wishing you the very best and a very happy long retirement. You deserve it!!” –Anne G.

“I just wanted to say Kirsten Morgan’s (Blair Elementary School) a great caring boss and that I am so glad I got to be part of your amazing team. To see all the work and caring you all do just makes me happy to be part of all of it. You can't stop everything before it happens but you take care of it with so much love and understanding. I wish more families could see how hard you and your staff work to make a day run. I am grateful I get to see it. How you guys make it easy to talk to you and ask for help. Because of your hard work and my son’s amazing team he is doing so well and I just can't thank you enough.”  –Melissa H.

“I would also like to recognize Alicia Archer-Vanderford (Silver Lake Elementary School) for all of her hard work to build a classroom of learners who not only engage with the academics as well as focus on building her students socially, emotionally and behaviorally. My son has really blossomed as a learner and continues to amaze me every day with all that he is able to do independently. I love listening to him read to me in the evenings and to read his stories that come home. She surrounds my son with love and opportunities to continue to grow. Thank you for all that you do for not only my sweet one but all those other kinders who come into your room each day ready for another adventure at school!” – Jackie S.

“My son has been so fortunate to have Katy Simons as his first grade teacher at Central Grade School! She has instilled a passion of literacy in him that has helped him grow immensely as a reader this year. She is extremely kind and fair to her students and treats each one as an individual. I am in awe at the calm and organized atmosphere of her classroom every time I visit. She has definitely created a great learning environment for her students!” –Kim L.

Mrs. Brzezinski (Willow Hill Elementary School): This year has had some up and down emotions and growing pains for our son. I cannot thank Mrs. Brzezinski enough for sticking with us, understanding the uniqueness of each child, and communicating with us so wonderfully. The past month alone, our son is making leaps in his self-direction and I know it has a lot to do with the support of Mrs. Brzezinski. She creates a safe place for her students and they flourish from her enthusiasm and beautifully presented teachings. We are forever grateful Mrs. Brzezinski!” – Torre B.

“My oldest son is now in Mrs. Carpenter's class at Silver Lake Elementary School. He is the type of kid who can be stubborn and hardheaded when he's unsure or doesn't want to do something. But Mrs. Carpenter has been amazing at grooming that to be confidence in his answers and abilities, instead of unsure, embarrassment. She's found a way to make him love the parts of school he really doesn't want to and he enjoys her classroom very much! I am very thankful that my son found someone who can get through to him in a special way!” - Hillary B.

“Two SUPER staff persons come to mind, Mrs. Serby and Mrs. Stepka both in the Special Ed field at Traverse City West Senior High School. My grandson, a 5th year student, is grinding his way to a diploma but without these two exceptional teachers to light a 'fire' under his feet on an almost daily basis, I would doubt that grandson would graduate by the time he is 20 years old! These two teachers understand his personality and they truly like him even when they have to push him forward to the goal of a high school diploma. My grandson and his family really appreciate and respect these two dedicated professional educators and all the extra that they give of themselves every day. Thanks ladies for being there for this family.”   – Barbara W.

“We would like to thank Barb Corbett at Cherry Knoll.  Our son Thomas moved to CK from a very close community at ISBV, and his transition couldn't have gone any better. Mrs. Corbett has sparked his interest in reading, supported his social and emotional development, and continued his love of learning with his new school family. She shows everyday how much she really cares for her students.” –David and Alicia R.

“Ms. Barb Hoffman (Willow Hill Elementary School) has been an incredible teacher for my curious 2nd grader! She challenges her students to think more deeply and to develop a love of learning. Her gentle manner meets embraces students where they are and provides a safe and loving environment where all students can grow and thrive. I am forever thankful the loving care she has poured into my child.”  – Erin J.

“I would like to thank Mrs. Ivester (Traverse Heights Elementary School) for all her hard work. Thank you so much! My child has grown a lot the last year!” –Erin O.

“I just have to say we are so thankful we have Mrs. Cronk (Long Lake Elementary School) as our son’s kindergarten teacher for the last half of the school year. She is a great teacher in our opinion and is working hard to get the class up to speed! She communicates with us as parents and keeps us informed of areas to work on and what areas he is excelling. It is evident to me she cares about the students, their successes, and the struggles.” – Heather L.

“Huge thank you to Mrs. Dorgan at Cherry Knoll Elementary School! She is so very patient and kind to her students! Her passion for teaching has ignited a love for school in my kindergartener! I'm so grateful he is having a great experience for his first year of school as this will no doubt shape how he views education in the future. He already talking about missing Mrs. Dorgan!!!” –Alicia M.

“Diane Dillon (Courtade Elementary School) -You, my dear, are amazing. There aren't enough thank yous in the world for you. We just love you! My kids love you! Oh, I am going to miss you all so much!” –Lauren T.

Paige Paul at Traverse City Central High School is amazing! She is a great teacher who has opened students’ eyes to the substance and nuance of our system of government. She’s also given her limited free time to help support Students for Environmental Advocacy, a new student club. Even though she has a young child of her own (and she is an amazing Mom!), she is willing to work to inspire, mentor and guide these young adults. We are lucky to have her!”  –Woody S.

“I want to thank Mr. Blake Pynnonen for making a hard subject exciting for my daughter. When a child gets excited to talk about their teacher and math combined that is awesome. This is such a big deal as my daughter started at Willow Hill mid school year from another district. I appreciate his support and encouragement since she started here.”—Laura G.

“To the Third Grade Staff at Central Grade School; Steve Balcom, Sara Bageris, Stephanie Jackson and Heather VanStratt. This team worked together to create a third grade that met all the needs of their students. Their outside of the box thinking with "mixed up math" and "mixed up reading" days provided students to work on skills they needed. Whether they were pushing students to think deeper or providing review for students this team opened their classrooms to all abilities. We are so thankful our child had a chance to have all these teachers at some point in his year.” –Chris and Michelle C.

“Mrs. Brenda Meindertsma (Traverse City Central High School) taught both of my children freshman year and it was a favorite, kept them reading and writing with enthusiasm and I still share book lists with her! She inspires and infuses passion for learning into the students... their freshman year!!! Perfect way to start off study habits to reach their developing hopes and dreams!” – Amy R.

“Thank you Cathy Rossan (Courtade Elementary School) for keeping my son on lock down this year...LOL we ALL know how difficult that was and I hope this "story" makes you smile for years to come, Cathy. He was a pistol. We did it though! Through your experience and knowledge, you accomplished what I once thought was impossible - our boy has become so independent this year and has grown mentally so much! Thank you, Cathy and Mrs. Pietek and anyone else who has worked one on one with my son on his good days and not so good days. It means so much to me!” – Lauren T.

“My son is at Central Grade School in pre-k and his amazing teacher is Mrs. Walton, she has helped him with his letters and writing his name, we just appreciate everything that she does.” –Jann C.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


Safe and welcoming schools

“My family would like to thank the staff at Cherry Knoll.  My two girls, 1st grade and preschool, are in their second year at Cherry Knoll. Every time I walk through the doors, whether it be to pick up or drop off my girls at extended care or at pick up time at the end of the day, the staff is always positive and greets me with a smile on their face and often by first name. The smiles on the staff and positive atmosphere in the school help me feel confident my children are having fun, safe and learning. Thank you everyone at Cherry Knoll for all you have done and continue to do, we greatly appreciate each and every one of you.” –Pete & Julie C.

“Countless hours and gratitude goes out to our Custodial/Maintenance organization. Every day they go in to do their work to ensure that our schools look immaculate to visitors, staff and students. It's not an easy job and we appreciate all that you do to make everything look so beautiful. THANK YOU!!!!” – Anne G.

“My son transferred this school year to Central Grade School, it was a last minute decision the week before school started. When we attended the open house we met Mrs. Olvey and my son met her as well. He happens to have Down Syndrome. Needless to say, Erika Olvey welcomed him to her class with open arms. She embraces the challenges that he faces and he has THRIVED in her classroom. But what we've really noticed this year is how his classmates treat him. Never before had he been invited to a birthday party or a play date. But the children in Mrs. Olvey's class treat him like they would treat any other student. He is respected, encouraged and loved. These children have learned what inclusion is by a teacher who doesn't give it a second thought. All children should be so fortunate to have a teacher like Erika Olvey, our family could not be more grateful for the wonderful school year we've had so far.” –Carly C.

“As a new family to the area this school year I first wanted to thank the whole staff at West Middle School! I was so impressed with new student orientation last year. It eased the mind of my concerned student who was moving to a new area and school with a lot of worry (we'd lived in Indiana his whole school life). My son, going into 6th grade met his first WMS friend at that orientation and felt very loved by the staff who took the time to invest in his transition - so THANK YOU! Miss Perthes, especially thank you for your leadership that day!” – Amy C.

“I'd personally like to thank Jean DuCheney (Courtade Elementary School). She may not know it, but she's been a great support for our family! What an asset she is! Her heart is always in the right place. It shows. She is the first person I had met upon entering Courtade those years ago. Thank you, Jean, for all of your heart.” – Lauren T.

“We would like to thank Shauna Phillips (Cherry Knoll Elementary School) for opening not only her classroom but her heart to our son. Having to transfer preschool programs made us feel very nervous and as parents we worry so much, yet she made us feel welcome and took our son into the class with open arms. Ms. Shauna has taken the time to see our son for who he is and will assist him and support his growth. Thank you Ms. Shauna for all the care and patience who have provided our son and his classmates!” – Michelle R.

“My son attends Eastern Elementary School. He is severely allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. The staff at Eastern helps my son stay safe and feel safe with a nut-free classroom, nut-free lunch table, hand-washing, table washing and lots of love and support. We are so grateful to all of them!  Thank you!” – Debbie D.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Westwoods Elementary School Staff in honor of my family. We moved to Traverse City and selected the Westwoods neighborhood as our home school because we knew our children would receive an excellent education. Our expectations have been met and we couldn't be more pleased with the education our son has received. We look forward to our daughter attending in a few years. Mr. Kramer gave our son a love of reading and instilled core basic values regarding school that will stick with him forever. He is a wonderful male role model. Mrs. McNitt has further helped develop our son's passion for learning and has given him valuable tools to forward his understanding of the foundations of math, reading and writing. The entire school staff works together to make everyone feel welcome and heard. Thank you to the custodians, office staff, teachers, assistants, paraprofessionals, ancillary staff, parent volunteers, and everyone else - I am grateful and deeply satisfied with entrusting my children to you. Thank you for all you do.” - Natalie O. and Family

“My son is currently in Ms. Conway's (aka Ms Michelle) (Silver Lake Elementary School), we have been lucky enough to have our older son go through her class as well. Michelle and Tiffany are truly blessings to the TCAPS family! They've been amazing and welcoming to us as parents who aren't ready to let their BIG boys go, and have always been great about our family situation-when mom and step dad were transferred for work downstate for a year, Michelle was great about keeping me in the loop! We've never had an issues about the family make up (having 3 involved parents!) and it's been amazing to see our boys come out of their shells in their classroom. I credit Michelle and Tiffany with both my kids’ love of school time and their confidence and kindness there as well! We are so lucky they are there! With a little one on the way we hope they are still at Silver Lake when she's ready for school!!” Hillary B.

“My daughters have two different teachers at Cherry Knoll Elementary School. And they both have the sweetest things to say about their teachers. The oldest is in kindergarten with Mrs. Dorgan. She tells me how special her teacher makes her and the rest of her classmates feel every day. She loves that she is always singing to the class and helping students if they are having a hard day. I, as her mother, second that! Mrs. Dorgan has helped my daughter grow leaps and bounds. She started the school year off as a timid and shy little girl. We have seen a world of difference in her while around her peers. She speaks up and has gained confidence in reading and math. Mrs. Dorgan truly cares for her students and puts her heart and soul into teaching kindergarten. She is always coming up with new ideas to make the classroom better. She isn't scared to ask parents for help and I love being involved with the class as much as I'm allowed. We are blessed to have her! Ms. Varnum and Mrs. Carolyn have also helped my younger daughter grow exponentially this year. She started preschool with a lack of social and emotional skills. With Ms. Varnum and Mrs. Carolyn's help and support we have seen her grow more than we ever thought possible. And she has learned to spell and write her name along with numbers. The secretaries, Amy and Laurie are beyond amazing and understanding and supportive. We are ridiculously blessed to have such great staff at Cherry Knoll supporting our children and parents. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!” – Michelle K.

“We would like to take a moment to recognize Mr. Mead, the PE Teacher at Long Lake Elementary School, for his actions very early in the year. We are new to TCAPS this year, and the first set of parent-teacher conferences indicated we could also consult with the specials teachers if we wanted. Our daughter has asthma that is controlled with at-home medication, but when it flares or she gets sick, it can sometimes impact her physical performance. We were a little early for our 3rd grade conference, and our daughter also just happened to have a cold at this time. We ran into Mr. Mead in the hall, so we stopped to ask if he had noticed anything different or had any concerns about her PE performance. Thinking back, I believe he might have been on his way out the door for the night, but he very graciously took the time to speak with us and reassure us that he did not see anything that concerned him. He was also incredibly knowledgeable about asthma and its effects on kids, and that greatly eased our concerns. We have not seen a PE teacher at other schools with as much physical or medical knowledge as he seemed to have, so we would like to recognize him for that as well as thank him for taking the time to speak to us on a very busy evening. Thank you!” – Laura A.

“I would like to take a moment to say thank you to a super nova among a truly super-star staff at Central Grade School, Stephanie Jackson. Stephanie has taught both of our sons. She is the most overtly caring person, yet she maintains a tight ship in the classroom!  Stephanie’s almost daily communication with parents is exceptional.  And her love of reading is infectious!  She recognizes the potential in every one of her students and works very hard to provide the right level of instruction to every child.  For example, she collaborated with other teachers to break the third grade students into work groups tailored to meet their needs. Thank you, Stephanie!” –Jim S.

“I would like to recognize Kristin Sulecki at Silver Lake Elementary School for all of the love she has given my son this year during his first year of kindergarten. He was very nervous to start school away from all of his preschool friends whom he had known for years. She involved him in her "Peace Kids" program which helped small bodies deal with big feelings. He has grown so confident this year and has been able to develop great coping skills. He loves this group time so much that one day when he was home sick, he asked if I could just take him for peace kids and then back home to rest. A big thank you to Kristin for helping my son adjust to a new building, new friends and big feelings.”  –Jackie S.

“Our family would like to thank Jennifer Johnson, K/1 looping teacher at Westwoods Elementary School. Our daughter has had the privilege of being in Jennifer Johnson's K/1 looping classroom. Jennifer has a true passion for teaching and makes learning exciting. She makes connections with her students, creating a safe and positive school climate. Jennifer encourages students to reach their highest learning potential and differentiates instruction to fit the needs of each student. She has helped build a solid foundation for our daughter's school career. We are so thankful for Jennifer and feel blessed that our daughter could learn from such an outstanding TCAPS teacher.” – Alison L.

“My daughter has had a little bit of a rough time in her one and a half years at Eastern Elementary School. The wonderful people that fill her day have had a HUGE impact on her. I can see the changes in her both socially and academically. As a single parent, I am forever grateful for each and every kind thing that has been bestowed upon her (and me!). Mrs. Radakovich is so kind as to invite my daughter to spend time with her family outside of school, Mr. Stremlow graciously puts up with her “messes”, Mrs. Jenkins shares her lovely daughter with mine. Mrs. Allen makes us laugh at extended day. I could go on and on. We will never forget each and every kindness. THANK YOU for being such wonderful, kind, giving people.” – Amy R.

“On behalf of the Traverse Bay Children's Advocacy Center, I would like to thank ALL TCAPS Staff and Administration for their dedication to protecting children in our community. TCAPS' commitment to providing child sexual abuse prevention education to all staff through our Darkness to Light training program is truly admirable. We take great comfort and pride in knowing that all those who care for TCAPS students are equipped with the facts, tools, and resources necessary to protect children. Through this partnership, we are creating communities where children are safe from child sexual abuse and have every opportunity to live happy, healthy lives. Thank you for speaking up to end child sexual abuse in our region!” – Hannah Rodriguez

“Mrs. Forton and Mrs. Phend (Willow Hill Elementary School): It is totally acknowledged that this dynamic duo cannot be deterred. From the smiles they provide when you walk in the door, to the never ending stream of temperature readings, to the frustrated parents, to the never ending phone calls, to the bloodied playground "ouchies"- there is nothing these two haven't had to do for the students. They handle their jobs professionally and they handle the students and families with incredible, nurturing kindness. Thank you Mrs. Forton and Mrs. Phend!” – Torre B.

“Mrs. Swan, 5th grade teacher at Westwoods Elementary School, has been a wonderfully supportive, thoughtful, creative, and engaging teacher. She's been a constant source of support both to Westwoods and our son's classroom. We are thankful for all that she does, each day, to bring smiles to the students and learning to the community.” – Emily U.

“We have felt so welcome at Long Lake Elementary School this year; all the staff have been so kind, especially our daughter’s teacher Mrs. Gorenflo, and we are very glad that we switched to TCAPS! Thank you.” – Laura A.

“Sara Bageris, a third grade teacher at Central Grade School, is a wonderful person and an amazing teacher. She treats each of her students as individuals and it is obvious that they are all special to her. She is always understanding and patient with our son, even when he is a bit challenging. She exudes patience and always handles trying situations with a sense of humor! Our children have been very lucky to have her in their lives!” – Kim L.

“Just thought I would share this poem my daughter, a 5th grade student at Westwoods Elementary School, wrote about her TCAPS bus driver, Mr. Joe Tannis. This is her first year having Mr. Joe as a bus driver and she truly enjoys his friendly personality and sincere concern for the students’ well-being. The bus can be an overwhelming experience for kids. As my daughter demonstrates in her poem, there are lots of sensory emotions evoked on the bus...not all necessarily good. But as a parent, my mind is at ease every morning when I wave to Mr. Joe knowing that Hannah is in good hands. Thanks Mr. Joe for starting so many TCAPS students and parents days with a smile! We appreciate you!”

The School Bus by Hannah W.

Dirty floors
dirty, dusty walls
dirty yellow bus.

Yellow like a banana,
stinky as a stink bug.

The bus where kids come
out of their good shell
and are mean, naughty
and extremely loud.

But I like the bus where
smiling Mr. Joe is each
morning and afternoon.

“My daughter attends preschool 3 days a week at Silver Lake Elementary SchoolMichele Conway and Tiffany Bright have made our first year at a TCAPS school a great experience. I can only hope my daughter will have other teachers as amazing as them. My daughter has life threatening food allergies. Ms. Michele and Ms. Tiffany do everything they can to keep her safe and included in all classroom activities. Ms. Michele does the best job of communicating with me about my daughter and her allergies. I feel completely comfortable with speaking to her about anything. I don't know how they do it. They both have a positive attitude day after day and make me feel like they care about my child and my family. Thank you to all the teachers!!!!” –Angie M.

Monday, May 1, 2017

I want to take this time to say “thank you” on behalf of the Board of Education, myself, and the entire school system for all of the work you do. As you may know, the Board has designated this week as Staff Appreciation Week. One of the ways we celebrate this week is by sharing messages of appreciation from students, families, colleagues, and community members.

Throughout the week we will be sharing these messages, but before we do, here is my personal message of appreciation for each of you. Please enjoy and thank you for all that you do! - Paul Soma


Creating lasting impressions

“My daughter is in Mrs. Oleson's first grade classroom (Central Grade School). She wrote this note to share with her. Thanks!!  ‘Mrs. Oleson made a difference in my life by teaching me strategies that I use when I don't know an answer. This helped me a lot in school. Her hugs make me feel really good and if I have a hard day, she gives me a hug and makes me feel really special. I love Mrs. Oleson and I am so glad she is my teacher.  She makes us all feel important and smart.’” - Meghan B.

Tak Ready (Traverse City West Senior High School): I'm just graduating college and there aren't a whole lot of memories I still have in high school. One vivid memory however is the speech Mr. Ready gave us on the last day of AP gov. He emphasized the value of strong character, community involvement and civic participation and how those traits outlast our academic knowledge. I know many students have benefited from his wisdom (and his engaging AP gov class).” – Former TC West student

“I really value the way Kathy Radakovich at Eastern Elementary School treats each student as an individual and celebrates EVERY success with them- whether it's in the classroom, at home or in some other avenue of their lives. Mrs. Radakovich has my daughter begging for school all summer long. You can tell Mrs. R has a passion and a love for these kids which is setting them on a great and successful path!” – Sarah G.

“My daughter transitioned from the TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis to West Middle School last fall. Every day I hear how amazing Mrs. Medler is, how inspiring she is and how cool the Science that she taught today was. My daughter would like to be in more of Mrs. Medler's classes and is sad that the year is coming to an end. Thank you Mrs. Medler from the bottom of my heart for inspiring my daughter, for challenging her and for being an amazing role model!” – Liz Y.

Mrs. Wiliford, Westwoods Elementary School music teacher, has been one of our son's favorite teachers ever since kindergarten. He loves music because of what she has instilled in him! What a special gift that is to give a child the love of music. Thank you for a wonderful K-5 experience, Mrs. Wiliford! We will miss you next year!” – Emily U.

Ms. Rowney (Courtade Elementary School) has been able to help our daughter excel in math by teaching several different ways to learn the material and I think this is an exceptional strategy on her part. Alicia is always willing to set aside time to help Adel in areas she is struggling to comprehend and this deserves special recognition in itself. I love it when Adel comes home and is eager to show me how she can work new math problems well.” – Laurie B.

“Shout out to Miss Brewer (Willow Hill Elementary School)! Thank you for inspiring so many lives over the years! You are a brilliant woman that has a heart and white! Thank you for teaching me, and our future! You will be greatly missed.” – Andrea H.

Mr. Wangeman (Traverse City West Senior High School), great men are not born they are nurtured, not just by parents, because let's face it they're at school more hours in the day then at home. So, they are nurtured by teachers! Because of you our son is not only a better student but a better person. Your words are the catalyst to his dreams. Thank you for lighting the spark, we are thankful our son chose west and along with that choice we got you! Your love and patience will never be forgotten-no one ever forgets the mentorship of a teacher/ friend like you. When the world sees our son succeed they will see his Erich Wangeman in him. Thank you for helping us shape the future of not just our son but the next generation. We brought him into the world but you taught him about it. To most West kids you are a teacher but to us you are a HERO. Thank you for instilling in our son the love of learning and a passion for greatness! It wasn't in your job description but you did it unselfishly. I've said this to you over and over the last 4 years - leadership is hard work - but you continue guiding generations you touch gracefully and passionately - you've been an inspiration not just to the kids but to me as well. We will be forever grateful.” – Joelle M. and family

“I wanted to write to express my appreciation to staff members at Willow Hill Elementary School. My son attends third grade there. It is our first year as a TCAPS family, and my husband and I believe we made the right choice to transferring our son to Willow Hill. First, our gratitude to his teacher, Mrs. Jana DuGuay. She has challenged him and encouraged him to do better and to apply himself. Next, thank you to Ms. Jacqueline Glikman, school social worker, for helping my son become acclimated to his new school. Also, thanks go out to Mrs. Laura Kirby and the staff at Willow Hill's extended care program. Thanks for all you do to provide a safe, fun place for the kids to spend time at before and after school.” –Kris V.

“I would like to thank Marcie King (Traverse City Central High School) for making chemistry so interesting and fun that my son was inspired to major in chemistry in college and my daughter is strongly considering chemistry as a career as well!” – Elizabeth S.

Mr. Goodwin (Courtade Elementary School) -Thank you! You know why, Sir. You are our daughter's favorite. I know you have left a FOREVER impression on her. Thank you, David!” – Lauren T.

Maria Chargo (Traverse City West Senior High School): This past year, I've thought a lot about the skills of perseverance, critical thinking and self-advocacy that I learned from Ms. Chargo and BC calc. I'm now a math teacher myself and wanting to teach those same lessons to my students. Ms. Chargo has a knack for coaching students along through difficult coursework and making what first seems impossible accessible. She's a wonderful person and one reason I wanted to become an educator myself!” – Former TC West student

“I would like to send a note of appreciation to Mrs. Lauters at Westwoods Elementary School. She is a kindergarten teacher and has made a tremendous impact on my son. My son had a difficult time transitioning from a preschool where he had known his classmates from the time they were babies until they finished preschool to kindergarten where he did not know anyone. There were many tears shed by him and us the first few weeks of kindergarten as we were not use to seeing him struggle. Mrs. Lauters was our saving grace. She knew what to say to him and to us to. She somehow knew exactly how to talk to him and interact with him with such love and attention. It would make my day to get her random emails middle of the day to tell me how well my son was doing that day. It was only a few weeks and he felt completely comfortable as a kindergartner. She has continued to impress us throughout the school year. Our son absolutely loves Mrs. Lauters and it has been fun to watch him grow through both challenging and fun times. Thank you Mrs. Lauters for your kindness, hard work, and your love for teaching!” – Kelley and Steve N.

“Ms. Debby Regiani (Willow Hill Elementary School) has worked tirelessly for TCAPS and the students within. I have personally witnessed how she has dedicated incredible time and effort into each and every student. Our students have benefited from her dedication and love each and every year. I am thankful they have had such an incredible advocate and educator working for them for 30+ years!” – Erin J.

Monday, May 2, 2016

It’s Day 1 of Staff Appreciation Week! To celebrate, we are sharing videos of why people within our school community think TCAPS staff are the best!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

It’s Day 2 of Staff Appreciation Week! Watch today’s video to hear a some pretty persuasive reasons that our students think TCAPS staff are the best!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

It’s Day 3 of Staff Appreciation Week! Here is the third installment of our week-long video tribute that shares what our students and teachers love most about TCAPS staff!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

It’s Day 4 of Staff Appreciation Week! We have some of the BEST teachers and staff. But don’t just take our word for it. Listen to what our students have to say.


May 4-8, 2015

Throughout the week, we will be sharing the many stories TCAPS families have shared about our staff and how they are making a difference in the lives of students. If you have a story you would like to share, please send it to:

Friday, May 8, 2015

A profession with a purpose

On the last day of TCAPS staff appreciation week, we honor every person on our team who has committed themselves to a profession with a purpose. As the saying goes, “To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.” We are so thankful that you chose to work on behalf of our region’s youth. You make our community proud!

Some comments from Old Mission Peninsula School 5th grade students when teacher, Tricia Schneider, was giving a new family a tour…

“When you are like the leaders, everybody looks up to you” – Lauren

“What I like about 5th grade is that you get to do lots of fun projects and fun challenges” – Colton

“What I love is that the whole school comes to our graduation and looks up to us and thinking of what we have done for Old Mission and being role models” – Ryan

“I love the amazing teacher!” – Emma

“I love being able to work on google docs for Science” – Mallory

“I love our principal and teacher” – Abby

“I love doing Science in 5th grade, I have so much fun with Ms. Schneider and she is the best teacher” – Luke

“I love our teacher” – Sophie

“I love all the jobs and friends we have” – Parker

“I love how everyone is like a family” – Emma M.

“I love 5th grade because I like doing Science and learning new stuff, and I like our teacher” – Billy

“One thing that I like about 5th grade is that it is so much fun I enjoy every day of 5th grade” – Lauren

“Everything I’ve done in 5th grade with our teacher has made me feel so much stronger” – Gloria

“I love all the opportunities we get like little buddies! I am so thankful that we get all of this and I love Science! – Abby

“I love 5th grade because….little buddies, fun field trips, being the role models, and an AWESOME teacher!” – Samantha

“What I love about 5th grade is that I get to have a lot of opportunities and I get to hang out with my friends and my teacher.” – Gabby

“Thanking a single member of the Cherry Knoll staff would be missing the others that have helped every day. I have two children and they both started in the Cherry Knoll preschool program. This year our youngest will leave elementary school. From the moment we stepped into Cherry Knoll we’ve been treated with warmth, welcomed, assisted, encouraged, and helped to understand our child’s particular needs, and educational style. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times every member of the CK staff has helped us in one way or another. Being able to volunteer in the school I watch the teachers and staff deal with children – in what I can only liken to trying to ‘herd cats.’ I don’t know how they do it and am amazed at the results. I’ve been at school when it seemed like everything was going wrong and yet the staff kept helping the children, working through the crazy moment, all the while keeping a sense of humor. It has been our very great pleasure to share so many memories with so many wonderful people. When our son leaves that last day I know the tear’s that fall will in part be for the loss of our leaving such a wonderful staff.” – Cheryl O. Cherry Knoll Elementary

“Thank you to all the staff at Eastern Elementary. Nancy Korbel who is retiring this year…..outstanding service to all of our kids. Also Thank you to Karen Smith, 3rd grade teacher who helped my grandson, Braden Anslow to excel.” – Kathy A., Eastern Elementary School parent

“We are so lucky for the amazing staff at Westwoods Elementary School. Mrs. Houghton, Mrs. Heitsch and Kubesh, all extended day staff, Mrs. Walter, Mrs. Connie and Ms. Faulkner are all the best. The Beers family loves our Westwoods family!” – Beers family

Mrs. Linda (Gilson) helped our son work through one of his biggest transitions so far in his life: starting school. At just under two years old, he was one of the youngest members of his toddler class. And it was his first time surrounded by several other kiddos and teachers on a regular basis. Mrs. Linda, Miss Annette, and Miss Margi did a wonderful job of helping him feel comfortable and welcome in their classroom. I knew it would take just the right person to get him through that time, and Mrs. Linda was that person. We can’t thank her enough for the confidence, encouragement, and patience she provided (to him and us!). We will always be grateful!” – Polly C., Glenn Loomis Montessori parent

“Thank you Matt Medler. You stimulated my daughter’s interest in math last year (6thgrade at WMS), and her highest priority when scheduling for 7th grade was to take the next level class with you. Her interest in math and her skills development continue to amaze me. I was also extremely gratified listening to my daughter discussing school with a friend while driving to sports practice the other day. Although the two girls are following different streams, they both concurred that math was their favorite subject. Common denominators? The subject, obviously, but also the teacher, Matt Medler. Thanks again for your teaching and for providing that extra spark that motivates my daughter around this important subject!” – Mike F., WMS parent

“I would like to give a personal “Thanks” to West Senior High Math Teacher Jodi Thompson. She sends weekly communication to parents regarding the math schedule and she hand writes birthday cards and “way to go” notes to her students. She goes above and beyond to let her students know they are important.” – Biz Ruskowski, WSH parent

“I can’t begin to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone at Westwoods Elementary School, from the principal down to the recess teachers, they are hands down the best educators and all around good people. They see children as what they are, children who are individuals and treat them accordingly with respect. Ms. Houghton accepted my son into the school with open arms and helped him to understand mistakes happen and how to learn from them. Mrs. Maxbauer is an exceptional teacher with extreme patience that only comes from experience. The leaps and bounds my son has achieved in her class is amazing. Mrs. Wiliford, the music teacher is such fun and one of my son’s favorites. She had him as a student at another school and mentioned the difference in him is phenomenal, from angry to happy in such a short time just goes to show that the environment is a major part of successful learning. Lastly, I cannot say enough about Mrs. McPherson. Her undeniable love of teaching and recognizing the greatness in students is unbelievable. She treats her students with the respect they deserve and expects the same back. Her input and belief that my son is worth it has changed our lives. She is one teacher that I know we will never forget. Thank you Westwoods Elementary!” – Margaret M., Westwoods parent

“I would like to thank TCAPS for providing a wonderful preschool experience for my daughter, Hope. She is enrolled in the preschool program at Oak Park that was developed for TCAPS and TBAISD staff children. Mary Kolle, her teacher for the past two years has been such a nurturing, caring, and dedicated teacher for my daughter. Her assistants, Kathy Nester-Pohlman and Damien Boyer are also very attentive and have gone above and beyond in caring for my daughter as well. I wanted to thank them all for giving my daughter a wonderful first school experience!” – Karrie G., Oak Park preschool parent

Don Roth, bus driver for TCAPS is “second to none.” Don does a splendid job transporting students safely to and from school. By all means, Don Roth should be TCAPS employee of the year.” – Mr. Mike Kramer

“Our family is so grateful to have Mr. Tony Quinn at Central Grade School. We are amazed at his natural ability to connect with kids, families, and his staff. When talking to kids he makes each one feel special and important. On any given day, it’s not unusual to spot Mr. Quinn reading with kids, stopping by classes to celebrate learning, or working to help kids to make better choices. Mr. Quinn has brought a lot of joy and leadership to our school community. We are so happy he is a Central Grade Super Star!”
- The Jackson Family

“Thanks to Toby Tisdale and Tom Passinault for all of their help with our child at TCC! Your many kindnesses were appreciated very much.”
- Dave and Toni F., CHS parents

Ms. Tarrant at Courtade Elementary has been so wonderful to our son Ethan this year! She is so kind and caring, and my son loves going to school because of her! She is always giving suggestions of how we can help our son succeed. Ms. Tarrant is fantastic and we are so grateful she has taught our son this year!”
- Heather G., Courtade Elementary School parent

“As the 2015 school year comes to a close, we want to express our gratitude for extra time and attention Michelle Anderson has given our daughter this year. Our daughter is a very shy and anxious little girl. But we knew, after the 1st day of school that she was going to be okay. Mrs. Anderson’s positivity and upbeat attitude continue to rub off on our daughter. She continues to improve in every way we could hope for. The whole class seems to love Mrs. “A”! In a time when all that seems important in education is standardized testing, it is refreshing to know that there are teachers that continue to teach with kindness and love in their hearts. Thank you Mrs. “A”!”
- Some Very Proud Courtade Parents

“I want to extend a big thank you to Andrew Habich at Glenn Loomis for all of the help he provided in transitioning my son from 6th grade Montessori to 7th grade in the AT program at West Middle School. Mr. Habich told us early on in (my son’s) 6th grade year that he felt (my son) would be best challenged in the AT programs provided at the middle schools. We knew little about this option and Mr. Habich helped educate us on how the program worked, how to apply, when the required testing was offered, who to talk to at the middle schools and so forth. He also put us in touch with families of some of his former students that were already in the AT program and they were very helpful in navigating the process and schooling us about things that weren’t published anywhere but needed to be considered. (My son) tested into all 4 sections of AT, and as his 7th grade year is starting to wrap up, he has declared this to be the best school year he’s ever had. I couldn’t be more proud of the work he’s done and I can’t thank Mr. Habich enough for all the work he did with Andy in 6th grade and in steering him toward a program he enjoys so much. So thank you Mr. Habich!”
- John Z., Montessori / WMS parent

“My daughter absolutely adored each teacher. First, Mrs. Oleson was amazing. She showed complete control over her classroom and pure confidence and extreme love for the children she had in her classroom. I cried at the end of the year when I knew that first grade was next. First grade came along and Mrs. Budd was absolutely amazing as well. She was uplifting with my child, she heard and listened to my concerns about my child and held true to her word. Mrs. Budd has an absolutely beautiful soul and I can feel the love she has for the children she educates. Mrs. Anderson brought a laid back atmosphere to our lives. Though she kept her children on task and learning, she was so very encouraging. She gave her children direction and love. She brought out the best in my child and my little one always came home with a huge smile on her face. Mrs. Dungjen, oh where do I begin? What a gentle soul, who’s love shined through each and every day. Mrs. Dungjen was similar to the above teachers mentioned. Mrs. Dungjen continues to go out of her way to make each student feel confident, and loved. I owe so much to Mrs. Oleson, Mrs. Budd and Mrs. Dungjen, probably something I will never be able to repay them. After all our children spend most their time at school than at home at times.”
- Traverse Heights parent

Mrs. (Jenny) Walters is an absolutely amazing teacher. One can tell that she loves to teach as much as she has created students that love to learn. She teaches some levels of subjects that I didn’t expect to see come home with my child for a few years yet: opinion writing and fractions, just to name a few–and the kids love them and excel at them! My child has had her for two years now, as Mrs. Walters loops with her students from Kindergarten to First Grade. My child has grown and blossomed under her…Any chance of Mrs. Walter looping to second grade?”
– Westwoods parent

Mr. Wangeman is a gift to the choir students!! My son has learned so much this year as a 7th grader in the tenor bass men’s choir. He has become a confident singer with a true love for choir. Thank you Mr. Wangeman!”
- Jennifer S., WMS parent

“Hi would like to say A Big Thanks to all of the Titan team Teacher’s and the staff of the South wing! You’re all so great in helping my son in his new experience in being a middle school student!! Thanks again from”
- Janell C., WMS parent

“A huge thank you to WSH mathematics teacher, Jody Thompson. She is the ONLY teacher that gives me a weekly email update on what’s going on in her classroom. At the beginning of the year, she sent us an email, sharing with us how much she enjoyed having our son in her classroom and today my son got a birthday wish in the mail from this teacher. My son has not had much success in math in the past, but this year for the first time, he is excelling! I can’t tell you how excited we are about this. We have had 3 other children go through TCAPS and graduate, and I can say in all of the years that we have had children in the school system, we have never had a teacher like Jody Thompson. She obviously loves her job and it shows. TCAPS needs more teachers like her.”
– Michell C., a thankful WSH mom

Renae DePlaunty entered her 2nd grade class room part way into the school year. The changes she made not only helped my daughter, but I feel the classroom as a whole. I feel truly blessed to have her in the Westwoods community. She has had a successful academic impact on her students, (my daughter) is always eager to learn and eager to please Mrs. DePlaunty. I feel it took a special person to do what she did, to step in making a huge difference in our school year. I am forever grateful for her. It would only benefit TCAPS to hold onto a teacher as hardworking, dedicated and motivational as she is. Her love of teaching shows in everything she has done this school year. Thank you, Renae.”
- Jill B., Grateful Mom, Westwoods Elementary School

“ Mrs. (Heather) Heitsch always has a smile on her face and time to help and answer any questions, though I know she must have a list 10 miles long of things that must be done by the end of the school day, all while caring for sick children, fielding parent phone calls, and general everything else-ness. Props also to Mrs. Kubesh, as I know she also has a big hand in making sure things run smoothly.”

- Westwoods parent

“We will be forever grateful to Mrs. Brewer, fourth grade teacher at Willow Hill, for building our daughter’s confidence and interest in math. Mrs. B’s commitment and passion are unparalleled!”
- Willow Hill Parents

“This an extra SHOUT OUT to David Rowney and Autumn Slawter at International School at Bertha Vos. Teachers like you make it easier on parents! The growth in our boys this year has been amazing and we owe it to the two of you, along with the amazing staff at ISBV! Thank you always!”
- The Anderson family

We would like to give a great big hug to Jenny Bishop! She has been the best counselor ever through these last four years and puts her heart and soul into her students and their future! Mrs. Bishop has been there for us every step of the way no matter what the situation, even on a moments notice. She has been much more than an academic counselor for us and we will always be grateful for her positive attitude and reassurance! If we could take her to college with us in the fall we would! A million thank yous (and hugs) to you Mrs. Bishop!
- M & M, West Senior High School family

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Qualified and experienced

Did you know that TCAPS is the area’s second largest employer? Did you also know that more than 70% of our teaching staff holds a Master’s Degree or higher, our bus technicians consistently receive 100% passing on bus inspections, or that our maintenance staff works to ensure that building needs are met with urgency and expertise? In every area of our district, TCAPS qualified and experienced staff makes the grade. From a recently retired staff member who continues to leave a lasting impression to a new staff member who is already having a positive impact, we are grateful for the people who make a difference in the lives of our students, families and our community every day.

[Mr. Czarny retired from TCAPS last year.] “My tribute is to Mr. Czarny. He was my physics teacher twenty years ago. What seemed small at the time have become words I live by. He pulled me aside and told me that while I thought I was being smart by putting in just enough effort to pass, that he believed in me and knew I was smarter than that. He told me that he wanted me to be proud of my work; that I deserved more from myself. He said I was smarter than the average kid and to ‘get by’ was wasting a gift. Those words have propelled me many times, professionally and personally. I push myself to be the best I can be, to recognize my strengths, and be honest about my weaknesses. Because of the effect he had on me, I try to tell others when they are doing wonderful things, but I also do my best to push people around me to be the best of who they are. His statement, believing in me, gave me courage. And for that I cannot thank him enough. I have had various managers through the years and none of them had the grace and leadership skills that he possesses. He is a gift to students. And a clear gift to me.” – Carey G., CHS alum

Luan Ross has been my son’s teacher for the past two years in the Early Childhood program. Through Luan’s patience, teaching, and support we have seen huge improvements in our son’s development and growth. I could not have picked a better teacher for our son. It’s Luan’s dedication and love for her students that make her a wonderful fit for our little guy.” – Stephanie P., Blair Elementary School parent

“I would like to recognize my daughter’s speech therapist Donna High. My daughter is thrilled to attend speech therapy and her speech has improved immensely since Mrs. High started working with her this past year at Westwoods Elementary. Mrs. High’s positive and enthusiastic approach to speech has been a blessing. It is clear that you love your work! My daughter and I greatly appreciate everything! Thank you! I would also like to thank the entire staff of Westwoods Elementary for making my daughter’s transition to their school a great experience. She was very nervous but quickly grew to love Westwoods. My daughter has made lots of friends and adores all of her teachers. Thank you for providing such a wonderful, positive learning environment.” – Andrea H., Westwoods Elementary School Parent

“I’d like to thank Tony Quinn, Assistant Principal at Central Grade! In just a few short months, Tony has made a difference in the lives of children at Central Grade. He has been visible in the halls, cafeteria, and recess. My son constantly comes home and talks about how Mr. Quinn said “Hi” to him, or how Mr. Quinn asked him how soccer was going or how his reading is coming along. When having a discussion with my child about the great teachers at Central Grade, he said “Mr. Quinn is the best teacher! He has a lot of kids to teach and know!” Thank you Tony Quinn for becoming a part of Central Grade!” – Central Grade Parent

“I would like to give a huge SHOUT OUT to all of the staff at ISBV. Our little and growing community has been blessed with these wonderful teachers and staff. They take our children in daily and treat them like their own. We’ve also had the chance to work with a wonderful temporary principal. Judy Bonne has old school value, in a new school world and her addition and support has been above and beyond a temporary principal. We should have known this, since her daughter, Katie Bonne is an AWESOME principal and person!! The apple doesn’t fall far! What you do for my family alone shows me that you truly LOVE your job! Thank you, from our family to yours!” – The Anderson Family

“Thank you Traverse City Central High School for everything you have done for my son. Words aren’t enough. He did schools for choice hoping to find a school with a broader outlook. He found it in TC Central–but he also found big wonderful arms of support. Thank you Coach Lober for being a true coach–one who cares more about what his athletes need to succeed in life than he does winning; thank you Coach Ludka for going above and beyond in helping him find his way in his new business; Thank you Toby Tisdale, Rick Vandermolen and the rest of the faculty who have encouraged a young entrepreneur at every start. (I hope you wear your black and gold bow ties with pride at the prom!) And are there words for what “Miz” Harper did for my son? Without so much of an art class under his belt he suddenly wanted to switch from applying to U of M engineering to U of M Art & Design … Wait! What? He needed a portfolio?! Eek! But “Miz” Harper, who had never had him in class, met him so many mornings last fall before school started–we are talking 7 a.m.–to lead him through the U of M portfolio process. She didn’t need to do it. And she didn’t need to do it so willingly. But she did. And U of M loved his portfolio! Thank you, thank you TC Central for being way more than just a public school. You are real people, real educators who understand that every child is different. Three years ago my son was the last child left at home in a family that was torn by divorce, enrolled in a school that in his words: “You are nothing if you aren’t in football.” There is no doubt that he was at an at risk kid. He prodded me to go for schools of choice. I thought, “What do we have to lose?” But, oh, what we gained! Three wonderful years later he is bound for U of M, filled with confidence and purpose, I think largely because of a school that intuits its pupils needs and creates an atmosphere for them to flourish. I cannot say enough for what this school has meant for my son–and me. Thank you. Thank you each and every one of you. Thank you!” – Lissa E., CHS parent

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Excellence everywhere

Everywhere in our schools and buildings, you find excellence. From a bus driver to a music teacher to a counselor, staff appreciation week shines a light on the amazing people in every area of our district who truly make a difference.

Mr. Martin has been my child’s bus driver for two years, and he always has a smile and a kind word for her, and a wave and a ‘have a good day!’ for me. I hope he will be her bus driver through the rest of her time in elementary school, and for my other children too, so they can enjoy such a pleasant man as their first and last contact for their school day.” – Westwoods parent

Stephanie Schall-Brazee has been instrumental in my children’s school experience. Music can bring so much more to a child than song and dance. It can bring confidence, public speaking skills, and inspiration! Willow Hill is so lucky to have her. She has always gone above and beyond for the students. She’s a ray of sunshine and puts forth so much of herself for the good of the kids. We love you Mrs. Brazee and we thank you!” – Love the Kane Family, Willow Hill Elementary School

Sean Jones – [Our daughter’s] advisor. Sean I want to say thank you so much for being there throughout these years for Rosemary. Thank you for always taking the time at parent teacher conferences to talk about Rose and how she is progressing. Thank you especially this year, for explaining to me all the details that the seniors have to do in order to graduate and the project that Rosemary is working on. You are such a wonderful teacher to the children, and it shows.” – Doug and Amy C., CHS parents

“I am so happy to have the opportunity to share my appreciation for one of your very talented math instructors. Peggy Schuba has made a huge difference in my son’s math education. This has always been a subject he has struggled with and never enjoyed. I have seen him grow so much in math this year and he says this is now one of his favorite classes. He is able to understand what she is explaining to him and really is able to grasp the concept of the problems they are working on. She truly has made a difference in his education and gave him so much confidence in his math skills. She is a great example of someone who loves teaching and helping children. Thank You So Much!!” – Teresa Smith, WMS parent

“Our family would like to thank Mrs. Jessica Unger for being an outstanding 7th grade language arts teacher. Our daughter has enjoyed her class immensely this year. Mrs. Unger’s expertise and passion for literacy are felt by her students. She has high expectations for her students and gives them the confidence to take risks. I strongly support her reading and writing workshop approach to teaching. Using this framework, she has been able to meet the needs of all her students and our daughter was given personalized instruction. We have appreciated how Mrs. Unger has increased our daughter’s confidence as a learner and also how she has taken the time to give book recommendations to our daughter. Our daughter has come home several times this year asking to go to the bookstore to find a book that Mrs. Unger has told her about. Thank you Mrs. Unger!” – The Jackson Family, EMS

“Just wanted to say what a wonderful job Bryan Burns does in communicating with parents. I recently contacted him regarding questions involving dual enrollment and NMC classes. He was friendly and professional and responded quickly and with a lot of helpful information. I KNOW this guy has got to be busy, yet he took the time to help us figure out our situation! So, a big thank you to Mr. Burns for taking the time to help us out.” – Amy D., CHS parent

“Wanting to say thanks to Erich Wangeman for all of his hard work and dedication to the TCWHS musical and theater program. He has a special rapport with the kids and helps them grow well beyond what they assumed they could or couldn’t do – our son was chosen for a lead role in this year’s musical, and Erich tutored him for weeks at 7:00 a.m. (in the dead of winter!) to make sure he had the confidence and ability to take the stage in the spring. Excellent mentor, teacher and a credit to the TCAPS staff.”

- Mark V., WSH parent

Michelle Brown is my daughter’s 2nd grade teacher at Long Lake Elementary School. My daughter started out the year struggling with her reading and writing. Mrs. Brown has gone out of her way to help us find ways to help her. She introduced us to an excellent tutor. She has spent time with us to figure out where the problems were coming from so we could work through them and found ways to make things work better for her in the classroom. She keeps in contact with us and lets us know what is happening and doesn’t hesitate to call with good news not just when there is a problem. My daughters reading has improved dramatically, way more than any of us could have hoped for. Her writing still has a ways to go but she is improving. It is obvious Mrs. Brown loves to teach and genuinely cares about her students. We will forever be grateful for all she has done at this very important stage of our daughter’s education.”

- Penny Z., Long Lake parent

“I would like to recognize Barb Hobson from Silver Lake Elementary School. Barb has been in our building for 15 years, wearing many hats, one of which is teaching assistant. Over that time as we took on NWEA testing Barb has been irreplaceable support, not only to teachers but the kids as well.

With all of the moving parts that go along with testing, let alone testing when temperamental technology is involved, Barb handles bumps along the way in stride. There hasn’t been a technology problem she couldn’t solve on the spot, and in the event she thinks there might be a more efficient solution, she is determined to figure it out then pack that knowledge into her trouble shooting tool box for later. I never worry about testing when I know Barb is there to assist (and by assist I mean run the show like a boss!) She is one of the many whose special talents and commitment to kids, community, families, and education continue to make TCAPS, and Silver Lake Elementary, a great place to be!”

- Allyson McBride-Culver, Silver Lake staff

Mr. Medler has restored my son’s love of mathematics this year in 7th Grade AT. He is a phenomenal instructor as well as mentor for the kids in his class and his wing. My son has grown in his knowledge, skill set and confidence in mathematics this year. Thank you Mr. Medler!!” – Jennifer S., WMS parent

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Supportive staff

TCAPS staff works hard to ensure that students have the support they need to achieve daily successes and work through life’s struggles and transitions. From taking the time to cheer students on to helping students adjust in a new school, TCAPS staff provides caring support for our students.

Mrs. Hughes has gone above and beyond!! It is evident how she loves her students and inspires them to go the extra mile. We appreciate her communication, dedication and hard work. This weekend, we traveled to Lansing to be a part of the State Finals for National History Day and Mrs. Hughes took the time to drive and cheer her students on. What a great role model and support! Thank you for all you do, Mrs. Hughes!” – Jennifer R., West Middle School parent

“As an employee of TCAPS, I have the pleasure of working with so many wonderful teachers. However, I have to say that a teacher that can pull my 17-year-old son out of bed before school to get some help before his math test is a miracle worker. Thank you for caring about our kids, Mrs. Lyon-Schumacher. You’re the best!” – Pam A., WSH parent

“This school year has been one of the most challenging years for my daughter… In July 2014 I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. My surgeries started in August with a major one the day after the school year started, followed by several months of chemotherapy, more surgeries and two months of radiation. As a single parent I was scared and had no idea how (she) was going to succeed in her 7th grade year. I knew she was going to miss more school than normal. I reached out to the teachers via email. The response from (my daughter’s) teachers was more than I had expected. She was offered extra help during lunch time and after school as well as finding a way to keep her instrument at home and using a school instrument during class time. This spring I was able to finally meet the teachers who I believe are responsible for the successfulness of (my daughter’s) school year. Clair Taglauer, Ellen Boyer, Ivanka Berkshire, Lauren Justin and Jon Moore—I don’t think I will ever find the words to express how grateful I am. You have made a loving and lasting impression within my daughter. The kindness and compassion given (her) is something I will cherish. And with that I thank you!! – Jamie K., EMS parent

Karen Hartel is a true gem for West Middle School! She multi-tasks through the students’ long list of needs throughout the day and during every class break, lunch hour, before and after school rush. Her commitment to taking care of kids with medical needs goes far above her ‘job.’ She cares about every child in her wing, knows all of their names and their individual personalities and needs. We are so incredibly fortunate to have her at West. Thank you Karen!” – Jennifer S., WMS parent

“My daughters are in preschool and first grade at Central Grade School. Kristin Sulecki has been instrumental in helping my 7 year old overcome some personal struggles she was dealing with for much of the year. Kristin worked with our daughter to come up with great tools for her to use, not only in school situations, rather life skills in general. Kristin was consistently committed to helping our daughter and always took the time to do so (even if that meant 5 mornings a week!). Kristin communicated with me as a parent regularly to give me updates and provide feedback. She is truly an asset to the TCAPS family. I honestly do not know what we would have done without her this year. I cannot say thank you enough. While I have never met ‘Mr. Dave,’ my 4 year old preschooler talks about him ALL the time. She loves music time with ‘Mr. Dave.’ I also want to thanks Mrs. O’Hearn (LLI – reading specialty teacher) who is dedicated to helping children become more confident readers. Our youngest daughter started preschool in January 2015 and Miss Hanson welcomed her into the classroom with open arms. She made sure that our daughter made the mid-year transition smoothly. She truly cares about each and every one of her students and communicates openly with the parents. Thanks for everything.” – Beth D., Central Grade School parent

“As new students to Traverse City Central High School, my children have transitioned well and that is due to the support of teachers and staff! Thank you!” – CHS parent

“Where do I start? The TCAPS family at Traverse Heights Elementary has been outstanding. My children have been through a lot these past few years and the staff at Traverse Heights has shown compassion, caring and genuine interest in their well-being. I cannot say enough about the “school family” my children have at Traverse Heights. I would not even begin to know all of the names of the wonderful staff that interact with my children on a daily basis but I would like to make special mention of Erin Oleson, Lisa Wyzgoski, Jenny Rubinas and her wonderful staff, Marie Dituri and the awesome extended day staff, Ms. Katie and Mr. Greg in the kitchen and Sherry Chandler. Thanks for all you do!” – Michelle B., Traverse Heights Elementary School parent

“…my son is a sixth grade student. (He) came back to school after being in the online school for two years so there was much to readjust to people, many classes making friends etc. The staff has been wonderful in helping (him). Mrs. Robbins, who has been the kind, reassuring teacher that makes Sam feel so safe. To Ms. O’ Neil, who adjusted her rules to help a sweet kid who suffers from anxiety. So she had him do his class presentation in front only her and when (he) no longer had Ms. O’Neil she still helped him when he realized his new teacher did not know of his anxiety. To Mr. Ranger, for seeing the true (person he is) and helping me teach (him) things he will need in the world. To Mrs. Gagnon, for listening to a distraught mom and was willing to help put in motion to support him. To Mrs. Wilson for helping (him) and encouraging him. To Ms. Kitchens, for picking up the slack and making a calm environment. So this is how (his) story goes—he came in lost, scared, overwhelmed, struggling with math and begging to stay home—to a kid (that was given the love and support he needed) that loves school, is understanding math for the first time, to a smile on his face and is striving hard to be on the honor roll . As a parent, I can never thank all of you enough for giving him a future. p.s. If I forgot anyone, I’m sorry you’re all awesome.” – Julie C., WMS parent

“Our daughter is so fortunate to have Mrs. Lisa Myers for a second grade teacher this year. Mrs. Myers is a hardworking and dedicated teacher. She has worked closely with our daughter this year and has gotten to know her both as a student and as a person. Mrs. Myers aims to teach the “whole child” and embraces each student’s strengths. She has high expectations and encourages her students to do their best both in the classroom and in life. We are also so impressed with the way she implements best practices in her classroom. She is a passionate literacy teacher and has continued to encourage our daughter’s love for reading and writing. Her classroom library should serve as a model for all teachers. Our daughter has blossomed this year in second grade. Thank you Mrs. Myers!” – Chris and Stephanie J., Central Grade School parents

Monday, May 4, 2015

May the 4th be with you! Is it any coincidence that the first day of TCAPS Staff Appreciation Week this year also falls on Star Wars Day?! We are so grateful for all of the Jedi Masters in our district who bring stories to life every day in our schools! You are teachers, scientists and diplomats who help our young Padawans learn about the value of giving of themselves through citizenship, volunteerism and good deeds. Keep reaching for the stars!

Great programs, great people

It’s Staff Appreciation Week! Join us in celebrating the programs and, more importantly, the people who really make a difference in the lives of our students and families every day. Testimonials from parents and community members show that TCAPS offers great programs, led by great people. Thank you to the people who help make our organization great!

Kim Fleming in the counseling office has been wonderful to work with. My son is dual enrolled at NMC, and since we began getting involved with the process, have had many questions. Kim has always been patient, informative and has responded to us in a timely manner. She has taken the time to call me with questions about my son’s future plans for college, as well as answered my (numerous!) calls and emails. I so appreciate her patient and calm approach to scheduling—at times I know her work load has got to be off the charts crazy, but she is just as professional as ever and gets it done. Thank you to Kim for all she does.” – Amy D., CHS parent

Mrs. Larrea and Mrs. T (Kristy Tomlinson) at Glenn Loomis Montessori have been absolutely wonderful! They are such kind and caring teachers; my son loves going to school every day because of them. They’ve helped him learn and grow so much in his first year of school I’m in awe of how great they are with the entire class!” – Kristen F., TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis parent

“…when we first heard about the pilot program…the entire team made the transition smooth and effortless…Our son has blossomed so much in the past 2 years that I find myself constantly overwhelmed with the new opportunities he has in life, all because of this program. Being in a smaller classroom with his peers, he’s been able to study at his own pace and has learned and understood more than he has in his entire education plan. It works; I cannot stress it enough it works. He finally feels like he belongs somewhere and for the first time, he has friends, he text messages, he’s currently receiving an A in his creative writing class, which just so happens to be the first English class he’s taken beyond read 180 and I believe that Erin [RYAN] gave him the ground work to achieve this back in junior high. He has astounded us this year alone. [HE] sang in the talent show, helped run the school store during basketball games (shout out to Heather Simpson), co-anchored the student news in his broadcasting class, will be going to the prom and finally he will be attending MCTI in the fall pursuing Graphic Publishing. Many, many times my husband and I would almost lose hope. You have so many dreams and when you have a special needs child those dreams change, forever. Now, we simply don’t know what the future holds but we are very optimistic. We hope that you will expand the program, even to junior high. Erin has had a wonderful team, Jay Larner,Heather Simpson, and the social workers that keep everything moving so smoothly and I know I am forgetting people. An amazing team for the school system and I hope that you model more classrooms after this pilot program…” – Marla W., CHS parent

The International Baccalaureate teachers at West Middle School are an amazing team. It is evident that they are expert teachers who care deeply about their students. Like many students, our son is counting down to summer break, but he confessed that he will genuinely miss his teachers when school is not in session.” – WMS IB Parents

Mr. Sagan made a huge difference in our lives. At a conference he advised us that he saw great potential in Alex. And he recommended that she enroll in SCI-MA-TECH. We never heard of the program and would not have known about it otherwise. From that recommendation, she enrolled in SCI-MA-TECH and also joined the robotics team. Today as I write this, Alex is the design lead and driver of the TC Central robot that is at the world championships in St Louis; and she is moving on to the U of M School of Engineering. Many teachers and TCAPS leaders have helped. Mr. Sagan stands out for putting us on this path of success and helping us realize her potential.” – Cindy A., EMS/CHS parent

Celebration of Our 2022-2023 Retirees

TCAPS is pleased to celebrate its 2022-2023 retirees, recognizing the impact these 16 employees have had on the children of the Traverse City. Thank you!
Retirement Cover Page