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Mrs. Hall is a 4th Grade teacher at Warren Elementary School. Despite having to teach virtually, she works very hard for her students and makes an evident effort to get to know them each on a deeper level. Mrs. Hall often works overtime into the evening or even on weekends. We believe that she is the ultimate example of grace and patience. In addition to teaching her children the classroom material, Mrs. Hall helps her students build character, resilience, and shows them how to persevere.
Our May Golden Apple winner is one of the most encouraging teachers both in the classroom and outside of it as well! When her students become frustrated and don’t understand something or fail an assignment, Mrs. Hall is right there with soothing and encouraging words. She knows when to push them and when to give them space.
In addition to overcoming the challenge of virtual teaching, Mrs. Hall also has nine students with disabilities that require Individualized Education Plans. She puts in hours of extra work to ensure these students have what they need to succeed in the day’s lesson. She never makes her frustrations visible, despite having to deal with power outages and schedule conflicts, all on top of virtual learning. She is truly one of the most phenomenal teachers we have ever met!
Congratulations Nerissa Hall!
Mrs. Dawson has been a teacher at Jefferson Elementary Center for 13 years. During that time she has taken on many extra responsibilities in order to make the students’ experiences the absolute best they can be. For example, she has worked extended-day tutoring, served on the strategic planning committee, worked on the leadership team, helped out at school carnivals, served as P.T.A. treasurer, and much more. In addition to enhancing the students’ experiences, she serves as a role model to all incoming teachers.
Mrs. Dawson goes above and beyond by analyzing data to see where there may be gaps in learning for students and she works to fix them. She arrives at school well before the buses do and stays until well after they leave in order to put in all of this extra work. She often helps out at other grade levels as well. One memorable time was when she dressed up as a dinosaur and visited all of the Kindergarten classes when they started the dinosaur unit of study.
On a more personal level, Mrs. Dawson is always someone the students can come to if they need to talk to someone and she’s always ready and willing to help. She makes the effort to build a relationship of mutual respect and trust with all students as well as their parents. If a student comes to class with a problem, she will work with them to come up with a solution or game plan and help them feel better. She is a wonderful teacher, mentor, and friend to all.
Congratulations Donza Dawson! You truly deserve this recognition!
Mr. Hanzel teaches all levels of industrial technology, woodworking, and architecture and the positive impact he has had on the campus, the staff, and the student body does not go unnoticed. He spends hours of his own time to ensure that his students receive the items they build in his classes. For example, many students are not able to initially take home the items they make in his class, such as tables or chairs, due to lack of transportation. Mr. Hanzel will personally deliver them himself!
Mr. Hanzel has mentored a handful of students over the years. Some of his students do not have a positive influence to look up to in their lives and are unmotivated to attend their classes. When students come to school, it’s because they are looking forward to Mr. Hanzel’s class and he helps them do/learn what they love.
Wayne Hanzel always has his students’ best interests in mind. Students of all genders choose to take his classes many years in a row. Many of these “repeat” students work on semester-long independent projects that heavily involve large-scale builds, rebuilds of vehicles/tractors, as well as smaller projects. Our favorite example is from a few years ago when one student teamed up with Mr. Hanzel to build a life size playhouse that was donated to the Ronald McDonald House. You can check it out here!
Congratulations Wayne Hanzel!
Mrs. Ringer is a first grade teacher at Greenmont Elementary. She has done a phenomenal job teaching during the pandemic, despite the challenges that she has faced. She has a true connection with each of her students and is able to keep the 6 year olds focused even though she is not physically with them. One of her students’ favorite things about Mrs. Ringer are the funny voices she uses while reading out loud to the students. She is regarded as one of the kindest teachers and is truly passionate about her job and her students. Additionally, Mrs. Ringer spends time volunteering at school fundraisers and voluntarily attending meetings to get to know students’ parents better. She is a truly remarkable teacher in every way and that is why we were thrilled to present her with the February Golden Apple!
Haley Bonar is a teacher in the Autism unit at Belpre Elementary School. She was nominated by many because of her dedication to her students and the school, plus the smile she comes to work with each day. She is loved by students and teachers alike. Haley has the special ability to focus on each child’s individual needs and is sure to make time for them to grow and be successful. She also encourages her students to make the best choices they can while figuring out each of their personality quirks to help them further their growth as young students She is truly a blessing to the children in her class and to our community!
Christmas came early for one deserving teacher this year. Jessica Brewer, a first-grade teacher at Neale Elementary School in Vienna, West Virginia was awarded the Jan Dils Golden Apple Award for the month of December.
No surprise to her colleagues, as Jessica is known for her contagious and energetic personality that extends far beyond just the students in her classroom. A member of the school’s PTO, Jessica is involved with every activity the school has to offer.
Her love and passion for teaching shined when schools came to an abrupt close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even without the classroom, Ms. Brewer’s teaching never stopped. She continued to teach classes on Zoom and remained available to her students and their parents for personal one on one meetings, even extending into the summer months for extra learning.
“Kiss your brains!”
Before the days of endless sanitizing, mask wearing and social distancing, Jessica was known for her compassion with the kids in her classroom – offering hugs and high fives when students were feeling down. With her catchphrase, “kiss your brains,” she would often tell students when they answer questions correctly.
Jessica Brewer continues to encourage her students to do their best, offering extra help when they struggle. It’s no surprise as to why she was awarded December’s Golden Apple Award.
Congratulations to the November 2020 Jan Dils Golden Apple Award winner Chasity McDonald. Mrs. McDonald teaches 6th and 8th grade Language classes at Jackson Middle School in Vienna, West Virginia.
Mrs. McDonald has been in education for 13 years and says the best thing about teaching is the students themselves, and remembering the bigger picture is the key to being a successful teacher. Chasity possesses an overwhelming amount of compassion and is always there for her students no matter what they are going through. She builds them up when they are down, encourages them when they are full of doubt, and best of all, promotes kindness unlike any other.
“You are there as an educator but, you’re there for your students. Sometimes for your students, the greatest thing they need is encouragement. It may not be learning how to place commas, or learning about a compound sentence, it may be the encouragement for that day is more important than the learning,” – Chasity McDonald
If you have a teacher you’d like to nominate, visit WTAP’s Golden Apple Award Nomination page to cast your nomination, today!
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law is thrilled to announce Bill Vincent as the October 2020 Jan Dils Golden Apple Award winner. Mr. Vincent is the Wood County Middle School Athletic Director and coordinates athletic programs at, Hamilton, Van Devender, Edison, and Blennerhassett middle schools in Wood County, West Virginia.
His responsibilities include scheduling and coordinating all middle school athletic events for Football, Cross Country, Tennis, Golf, Volleyball, Cheerleading, Basketball, Wrestling and Track. Mr. Vincent’s devotion and passion for his position and his commitment shines in each program and season that opens and closes.
Bill has spent his entire career dedicated to the betterment of education and the enhancement of student athletics. His devotion around the clock to support student athletes and the entire coaching staff for each of the middle schools in Wood County.
“Watching the success of the athletes as they come up through middle school, and then to the next level of high school, and then beyond that to college, that really makes you feel like you’re doing something,” – Bill Vincent
If you have a teacher you’d like to nominate, visit WTAP’s Golden Apple Award Nomination page to cast your nomination, today!
School is back in session – for the most part anyway. That means it’s time for our first Jan Dils Golden Apple Award of 2020. Our September Golden Apple Award was awarded to Matt Gwynn! Mr. Gwynn is a 5th Grade teacher at Mineral Wells Elementary School where he is beloved by students, both past and present, as well as his revered colleagues.
A Veteran, Matt teaches his students to know what being a veteran, or being in the military, means for the country and to themselves. “We hear a lot about the youth is our future, and sometimes I think people use that as cliché. However, there couldn’t be any more truth in that. The day is going to come when our time of leading the country is over, and it’s going to be their turn. I just want them to be as prepared as they can be,” said Gwynn.
Recounting the lessons he’s taught his students throughout the years, Mr. Gwynn speaks of the countless messages he’s received from past students on Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, and 9/11 – letting him know to simply, never forget! “It lets me know that these kids to do care. I think in today’s world, it’s a little topsy-turvy right now, but that’s something we can always hold on to. This is America, and its always going to be America as long as we stand up for her, and it starts with them.”
Congratulations on this most deserving award, Mr. Gwynn, and thank you for your service!
School is out… for… the summer!
Although, it feels like schools let out months ago after being forced to move online due to the pandemic.
2020 has brought everlasting change for many of us, and our 2020 May Golden Apple Award winner has found something positive through the struggles.
Chad Rinard, the Principal at Marietta High School has been in education for twenty years, and says this year’s virtual graduation was one of the most rewarding moments of his career.
“For the first time in my high school administrative experience, it was neat to see graduation with a personal connection with the families. We saw hugs and salutes, because this is the first time that we had family members hand the diploma to the graduates.” – Chad
Chad is known by his colleagues to be tough, but empathetic with an open door policy that has been helpful throughout COVID-19.
Rinard will officially be presented with his Jan Dils Golden Apple Award and a gift from Baker & Baker Jewelers in the coming weeks.
If you have a teacher who you would like to nominate, visit the Jan Dils Golden Apple section of WTAP.com to submit your nomination.
The final months of Karen Sprout’s teaching career have been nothing short of memorable.
With a global pandemic amongst us, our April 2020 Golden Apple Award winner continues to impact the day to day lives of her students. Although we aren’t able to present her award in person, the honor she deserves remains the same.
Mrs. Sprout has many wonderful ways of showing how much she cares for each student. One of those special activities happening in her classroom is the awarding of “Super Student Cards”. These cards are notes from Sprout to each student and their parents encouraging teamwork and acknowledging areas where the student has greatly improved or excelled.
“I just like that freshness and the excitement they have for school and I love instilling that love of learning in them. I want them to be life-long learners and I want them to love being at school,” Karen added.
With 15 years in the classroom, and 8 at Lubeck Elementary as a Pre-K teacher, Karen encourages parents to spend as much time with their children as they can – explaining how magical and special it can be to be the parent of a young child.
When asked what she will miss most about teaching when she is retired, she simply said, “everything”.
Sprout will officially be presented the Jan Dils Golden Apple Award and gift from Baker & Baker Jewelers in the coming weeks, once social distancing orders have been lifted.
To learn about our March 2020 winner, Audrey Reynolds, head here!
In case you missed it, we wanted to take this opportunity to again congratulate Barbara and Andy Sleek. They were the winners of February’s Golden Apple Award, and it was the first time in Jan Dils history that the award was given to two teachers simultaneously!
Andy and Barbara are husband and wife, and combined they have nearly 60 years of teaching experience.
Both teach math at Fort Frye High School in Beverly, Ohio.
Barbara’s advice to new teachers is “to find somewhere where you love the kids because it’s really about the kids and that is what’s kept us here.”
And Andy commented that he feels an important part of teaching is being able to “find something that you have a passion for and relate that passion to your students.”
To see our January 2020 winner, Caitlin Stewart, head to this page!
To see our December 2019 winner, Tammy Fisher, head to this page!
Here at Jan Dils, we do our best to recognize those in our local community who are having a positive impact. Our Golden Apple Award honors outstanding local educators, and we’re pleased to recognize Kim White as our latest recipient.
Kim is a first-grade teacher at Madison Elementary here in Parkersburg. She has been a teacher for 28 years, with the last eight being at Madison.
When asked what makes her students special, White replied “They want to learn…They’re loving and caring. School is their favorite place to come to, and when they come in each morning, they’re happy to see me.”
White went on to explain that her advice to a new teacher would be, “to stick with it. Yeah, you’re going to have hard years, but the good years outshine the rest by far and you’re going to make lifelong learners.”
She noted that some of the children she taught in elementary school years ago are now teachers in the local school system themselves.
Regarding the Golden Apple Award, White said, “I’ve seen it on TV and I always thought, ‘Wow, that’s really nice that a student or family has thought that much of their teacher to make that effort. It means a lot to me…and especially because it’s a parent who notices [my work], that’s very important to me.”
Congratulations to Kim, we here at the firm appreciate all of your hard work!
To see our October 2019 winner, Stephanie Brock, head to this page!
To see our September 2019 winner, Melissia Birge, head to this page!
To see our May 2019 winner, Becky Iman, head to this page!
To see our April 2019 winner, Melissa Whitehair, head to this page!
To see our March 2019 winner, Jason Czerr, head to this page!
To see our February 2019 winner, Rick Dobson, head to this page!
We are excited to announce Mr. Todd Meckley as the January 2019 Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law Golden Apple Award Winner for January 2019. Mr. Meckley is an anatomy teacher at Parkersburg South High School. He was nominated by a former student who claimed Mr. Meckley was an inspiration. The nomination form listed several instances in which Mr. Meckley went the extra mile for his students. One particular example which stood out involved taking students to Alderson Broaddus to learn more about medicine.
Mr. Meckley was also nominated for his collaboration with his fellow educators. He works with his peers, and they recently created several learning projects which were well received.
Congrats Mr. Meckley, and keep up the great work!
To see our December 2018 winner, Kathleen Cornell, head to this page!
To see our November 2018 winner, Cindy Taylor, head to this page!
To see our October 2018 winner, Curtis Shriver, head to this page!
On September 25th, 2018, team Jan Dils awarded the first Golden Apple Award of the new school year to Lori Estes of St. Mary Catholic School. Mrs. Estes is a Fourth Grade teacher who shows dedication to her students. Mrs. Estes was nominated by a fellow teacher.
Mrs. Estes was nominated for many reasons, including tutoring her students after school. She always encourages her students to try new things. Mrs. Estes also arranges charitable efforts for her students to participate. They have recently created a haunted house and they’re also gearing up for Operation Christmas Child.
When Mrs. Estes received the award, the students and staff of St. Mary Catholic School were excited to see their teacher get the recognition she deserves.
It’s safe to say our Golden Apple Award winners are popular at their school. They are often a favorite with students, parents, and other teachers. However, sometimes a teacher is a favorite in a much bigger sense. Our January 2018 Golden Apple Winner showed us that a teacher can have an impact that reaches often a favorite with students, parents, and other teachers. However, sometimes a teacher is a favorite in a much bigger sense. Our January 2018 Golden Apple Winner showed us that a teacher can have an impact that reaches
They are often a favorite with students, parents, and other teachers. However, sometimes a teacher is a favorite in a much bigger sense. Our January 2018 Golden Apple Winner showed us that a teacher can have an impact that reaches.
In January, we finally awarded our 100th Golden Apple Award. Nici Kunze Liotti received the award in January 2018. However, 12 years and 99 winners came before her. When we were planning our 100th Winner celebration, we wanted to go back to the first time. We wanted to catch up with our first winner.
In 2006, Tammy McKnight was a mathematics teacher at Hamilton Junior High School. (Now Hamilton Middle School.) She stated that she remembers the award ceremony quite well. She states that she knew something was up because the principal told the teachers to prepare for an assembly, but wouldn’t tell the teachers why there was an assembly. Mrs. McKnight recalled that her friend Pam Reeves kept telling the students that Hannah Montana was coming to the school. (In 2006 Hannah Montana was a fictional character portrayed by Miley Cyrus on the Disney Channel.) She then recalled sitting at the assembly with her fellow teachers. She then described the moments during the reading of the nomination. Her friend, Kathy Morehead, kept telling her that she knew it was her.
We asked Mrs. McKnight if she remembered who nominated her, and she stated that she did. It was the mother of a student who was appreciative of her work. Mrs. McKnight helped a young student who needed some extra help with his work. Mrs. McKnight helped the student with his work after class.
During our conversation, we wanted to learn what Mrs. McKnight was up to now. It turns out Mrs. McKnight isn’t a teacher anymore. Instead, she works for Wood County Schools. When she left Hamilton Middle School, Mrs. McKnight worked as an Instructional Coach. She then transitioned to an Innovation and Improvement Specialist. In this position, she works with teachers and schools to help them better improve the curriculum for students.
We had a lot of fun catching up with Mrs. McKnight. We encourage you to watch her entire interview posted above. Tammy McKnight set the bar high for the 99 winners who were to follow. We appreciate her time, and we’re so glad that she stopped by to talk to us.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law