Top teachers honored at Celebration of Teaching


The Teacher Excellence Center honored the top 101 teachers at its fifth annual Celebration of Teaching.

On Thursday, April 24 at the Carnegie Music Hall, 101 honorees were recognized on stage at the Celebration of Teaching and the top seven teachers were announced as Teachers of Excellence.

The 2008 winners are: Charlena Lynn Welteroth, language arts, Deer Lakes Middle School; James A. Natale, computer literacy, Frazier Middle School, Fayette County; Robert Palmer, human anatomy and physiology, Hampton High School; Kathy Evollrath, third grade, Stanwood Elementary, Hempfield Area; Michael Zeiler, music, Heights and Fawn elementary schools, Highlands School District; Michael Sikorski, auto technology, Penn Hills High School; and Linda Konczal-Evans, kindergarten, Pittsburgh Beechwood Elementary.

The seven Teachers of Excellence will each receive a $2,500 grant for their school and a field trip to such places as the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Fort Pitt Museum, The National Aviary, Riverquest, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, The Andy Warhol Museum and The Frick Art and Historical Museum.

In an effort to create a fair selection process for teachers at all levels, TEC restructured the recognition program to group and score nominees by categories. Two teachers will be selected from each of the following categories:

• Kindergarten through 4th grade

• 5th through 8th grade

• 9th through 12th grade

Eighty-three school districts in ten southwestern Pennsylvania counties participated in this year's program and over 3,000 teacher nominations were submitted.

Among the honorees from South Pittsburgh schools for this year were: Kathleen Hammer and Jeffrey Igims, Phillips K-5; and, Laura Ambrogio, Elizabeth Kelly and Naomi Mattarock, Roosevelt PreK-5;

TEC has created a Teacher Hall of Fame. Teachers may be recognized as an honoree for a maximum of two times. If they score in the top 100 a third time, they will be placed into a “Hall of Fame” but will not be deemed as an honoree for that year. The Hall of Fame will allow room for other excellent educators to be recognized.

TEC's special guest speaker for the award presentation was Bill Strickland, president and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation.

The Teacher Excellence Center is a southwestern Pennsylvania non-profit organization dedicated to professional development of teachers and recognizing teacher excellence. TEC recognizes the collaborative effort required by the school and community to educate students and improve the economic development of southwestern Pennsylvania.

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