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Albion sixth grade teacher named ‘Educator of the Year’

Photos by Tom Rivers: Bonnie Baldwin, an Albion sixth grade teacher, is hugged by Board of Education member Linda Weller after Baldwin was named the school district’s “Educator of the Year” on Monday. Wayne Wadhams, another BOE member, is at left.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 June 2018 at 8:18 am

Bonnie Baldwin lets out a big smile when congratulated by Margy Brown, president of the Board of Education.

ALBION – The school district honored a sixth grade teacher as the Educator of the Year for her commitment to helping all of her students learn, including those who are struggling the most.

Bonnie Baldwin has taught sixth grade English the past five years, and started her career with 14 years as a fifth grade teacher.

Baldwin has many strategies to engage students in the classroom, said Michael Bonnewell, the district superintendent. Sixth grade is a transition year for students as they adjust to their first year in the middle school and more demanding school material.

When students struggle, Baldwin stays optimistic in helping students grow their confidence.

“She will find ways to engage them,” Bonnewell said on Monday during a recognition program for teachers and staff.

Margy Brown, the Board of Education president, said her family is forever grateful to Baldwin for helping one of Brown’s sons have a breakthrough in the classroom.

“She gave him the confidence to be successful,” Brown said.

Baldwin said she has been fortunate to have many mentors as teaching colleagues. She mentioned the late Leslie Kish and “an incredible team of fifth grade teachers” to start her career, including Susan Davis and Jennifer Ashbery. In the middle school, she worked next to Jonathan Sanford and other dedicated teachers in her “sixth grade family.”

“Each and every one of them has helped me to fully understand the educator I strive to be – one who is dedicated to helping each child discover his or her true potential and self-worth and to value the power of the written word,” Baldwin said.

The school district on Monday also recognized retiring teachers and staff including:

• Ann Capacci, physical education teacher in high school for 39 years, she also was a very successful volleyball and softball coach, leading Albion to 6 league titles and 3 sectional crowns in volleyball, and three championships in softball. Matt Peterson, the high school principal, praised Capacci “for her enormous heart and compassion for kids.”

• Nancy Wickman, high school chemistry and biology teacher for 34 years, had great camaraderie with the students. “Her passion for science is unmatched,” Peterson said.

• Lee Anne Jedamski, CSE secretary for 14 years

• Debbie Wood, physical teacher for 32 years in middle school

• Kim Toombs, family and consumer science teacher for 32 years in middle school

• Ralph Englert, sixth grade teacher for 33 years

• Doug Mergler, technology teacher for 33 years in middle school

• Carol Smith, cafeteria monitor for 26 years in middle school

• Sally Conley, cafeteria monitor for five years in middle school

• Carol Neibert, typist for more than 20 years in buildings and grounds

• Virginia Bauer, cleaner for more than five years in buildings and grounds

• Larry Gaylard, custodian for 24 years with buildings and grounds

• Linda Weller was also recognized for her five years of service on the Board of Education. She served on the district’s Wellness Committee, Process and Protocol Committee and was the district’s designee on the Hoag Library board of trustees. She also attended numerous programs through the New York State School Boards Association.

Nancy Wickman is retiring after 34 years of teaching high school science. She is shown with Matthew Peterson, the high school principal.

Larry Gaylord worked 24 years as a custodian for Albion. He is congratulated by David Sidari, a member of the Board of Education.

Deb Wood retired after last school year following 32 years as a physical education teacher. She also was a successful coach for Albion, winning more than 100 girls varsity basketball games. She also coached softball and golf.

Carol Smith was praised for 26 years of service as a cafeteria monitor. Margy Brown shows her a book that will be placed in the library in honor of Smith.

Kim Toombs is retiring as a middle school family and consumer science teacher. Brad Pritchard, the middle school principal, said Toombs has been a dedicated teacher who also inspires her students with community service. Since she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, she and her students have made several hundred pillows and ponchos for breast cancer patients in the Rochester area. Her classes have delivered the pillows and ponchos to the Pluta Cancer Center through Strong Memorial Hospital, the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester, and Highland Hospital in Rochester.

The following teachers also attained tenure:

• Brooke Beatty, elementary school physical education

• Stephanie Schepis, elementary school classroom teacher

• Casey Flynn, middle school Spanish

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