Thursday, April 27, 2017
By AMANDA TONOLI
Youngstown City Schools 2017 Teacher of the Year said recognition should go to all the staff at Williamson Elementary School on the South Side.
“I’m nothing without them – the team,” said Dena Esmail, third-grade teacher and Teacher of the Year winner.
Video: Teacher of the Year, City Schools
CEO Krish Mohip said Esmail’s award does recognize the team.
“We all know Teachers of the Year aren’t created by themselves,” he said. “It takes a team.”
Esmail said the Williamson staff has done an excellent job with the many changes this school year.
Esmail was referring to House Bill 70, which enables the Youngstown district’s CEO to lead the schools with state-appointed academic distress commission oversight. Both are now in place in the city.
“With the support of Ms. [Principal Michelle] Payich and our team, everything has been really smooth, and we’ve done an excellent job,” Esmail said. “I just appreciate the support of Ms. Payich. She’s kind of what builds our building up.”
Timothy Filipovich, chief of academics, accountability and assessment, said Esmail is just one of many great teachers nominated – 14 were nominated this year – for the honor.
“We all know the worth of a teacher,” Mohip said. “We know the impact a teacher can have on a child.”
Each year, building principals nominate Teacher of the Year candidates. Thereafter, teachers sit through interviews, host classroom observations and write an essay.
In her essay, Esmail credits the late Randy Hoover, a Youngstown State University educator, who helped motivate and guide her career choice.
“He made learning more than just a task,” she wrote. “He helped to guide us to think deeper, be active participants in learning and make learning fun. ... It is through Dr. Hoover’s ideas, teachings and research, specifically within an urban setting, that has molded me into a successful educator here with Youngstown City Schools.”
There will be a celebration dinner Tuesday at the Tyler History Center downtown to recognize Esmail and the other nominees.