Cuyahoga Heights Schools is proud to announce that middle school teacher, Mrs. Nancy Wanyerka, has been named the Ohio Middle Level Association (OMLA) Educator of the Year for 2016.
Mrs. Nancy Wanyerka is a veteran teacher of 29 years at Cuyahoga Heights Middle School, teaching reading and language arts to seventh and eighth grade students. In addition, during her tenure at Cuyahoga Heights, she has served on 32 different committees, working tirelessly to make our school an exceptional place. Her significance to our school is profound and impactful.
Mrs. Wanyerka serves as our lead mentor. She works with all new teachers in our district, guiding them through the challenges of beginning a career while meeting the demands of the Resident Educator Program. One resident educator states, “Though her contributions to students, staff, and school are many, I am particularly thankful for her work as lead mentor and as my personal mentor. The different ways Nancy has helped me (and all the resident educators) over the last few years are innumerable. She has been for me a shoulder to cry on, a cheerleader, a fount of information/advice, and someone to share a laugh with (sometimes all at the same time). I cannot begin to express how much Nancy means to many of us.”
Beyond her duties as lead mentor, Mrs. Wanyerka is vital to all staff. She is a role model for accomplished teaching and of personal character. She is a trusted colleague to whom people often go for advice, and she is the definition of a team player. She is organized and constantly thinking ahead. She is quick with a joke and brings a smile to her colleague's faces. She is often that crucial puzzle piece that makes everything fit together. She is the absolute model of a compassionate, enthusiastic and driven educator. Mrs. Wanyerka always thinks of herself last and others first – in any situation.
Above all, Mrs. Wanyerka internalizes that her students are the origin and motivation of her teaching. She truly gets to know them as students and as human beings. She develops authentic lessons tailored to the specific abilities of her students. She tracks growth throughout the year, producing volumes of data on her students. She is constantly reinventing herself and her teaching to meet the interests of her students while making data-driven, standards-based decisions.
Mrs. Wanyerka also builds genuine relationships with her students. She treats them as her own children and respects them as valuable contributors to her classroom and to society. She provides tough love when needed, but is always compassionate. She is a giver who puts the needs of her students and her profession before her own. We are so fortunate to work beside a professional like Mrs. Wanyerka. Someday, when Mrs. Wanyerka retires from teaching and moves to the next chapter of life (hopefully many years from now), only then will we fully grasp everything that she means to our profession, to the children she teaches, to the teachers she leads and to the communities we serve. Congratulations Mrs. Wanyerka on this outstanding honor!