2012 Gerstacker Proficiency Awards Presented
Each year since 1956, proficiency awards have been given to recognize exemplary teachers. These awards are made possible through the generous support of the Carl and Esther Gerstacker Donor-Advised Fund at the Midland Area Community Foundation.
We would like to congratulate this year's recipients: Amy Bushey, Penny Church, Tracey Moeggenberg, and Mary Zeitler
Social Studies and English Teacher at H.H. Dow High School
Amy Bushey graduated with honors from Albion College in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and History. In 1995 she completed her secondary endorsement in Social Science and Speech Communications and Theatre from Saginaw Valley State University. Amy began teaching in 1995 for Midland Public Schools. Her first teaching position was at Central Intermediate School, where she taught ninth grade Global Studies and Speech and Theatre. She moved to H. H. Dow High School in 1997 with the district ninth grade transition to the high school.
Amy is known for her ability to handle demanding academic and extra-curricular schedules with commitment, thoroughness and professionalism. She coaches the award winning Dow High Debate team, produces the fall and spring plays and the annual DHS Renaissance Fair talent show. In 2011, Amy was awarded State Debate Teacher of the Year. In 2012, she was awarded the National Federation of State High School Association. Outstanding Speech, Debate, and Theatre Educator Award for the state of Michigan, a once-in-a- career recognition for her fine and long-serving speech education career.
One parent writes of Amy, “She is the kind of teacher who is tough, demanding, loving, caring, determined and compassionate about her students.” A student writes, “Debate has changed my life. It has opened my eyes to so many new skills and people. It would not have been possible without Mrs. Bushey.”
Another parent raves, “She is an extremely knowledgeable, creative teacher who can take the subject of economics and inject it into her students so that it becomes part of them. My own daughter has chosen the field of economics because of Amy, as did many graduates who were lucky enough to take her course. This is such a miniscule part of what Amy has done for students. She is the Debate coach- this requires educating kids in activities and teaching vocabulary in matters quite unfamiliar to the majority. She spends hours after school with students perfecting their understanding of national policy.”
Amy currently teaches at Dow High School in the Social Studies department, and she and her husband Jonathan reside in Midland.
First Grade Teacher at Siebert Elementary
Penny Church began teaching ENDOW at Siebert and Eastlawn Elementary Schools in the fall of 1995. She has taught for 16 years with Midland Public Schools including Title 1, 2nd grade, 3rd grade and 1st grade. Prior to coming to Midland Public Schools, Penny taught in White Cloud, Michigan. She has been a Student Council Advisor, Varsity and JV Cheerleading coach and a piano teacher. She graduated from Freeland High School and Central Michigan University with a BA in Elementary Education. Penny has served as one of Siebert’s Student Leadership Team Advisors and Building Technology Instructional Leader. She is a member of the Siebert School Improvement Team and Positive Behavior Support Team. Church also volunteers her time to the district International Baccalaureate Primary Subcommittee.
In support of her nomination, one Siebert parent said, “what should not be overlooked in Penny Church is the high level of professionalism that she brings to the class. She is extremely knowledgeable and versed in all aspects of elementary education.” Another parent praised Mrs. Church, “She does an excellent job teaching them in a way that embraces their individual needs and makes use of every minute of her day to fit in one on one sessions with students to make the most of their time together.”
Third grade teacher at Plymouth Elementary
Tracey Moeggenberg teaches third grade at Plymouth Elementary. She began her teaching career at Longview Elementary in 1988. Prior to coming to the Midland Public Schools, Moeggenberg taught at Suttons Bay for two years and then as a long term substitute teacher for one year. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and Master’s degree from Saginaw Valley State University.
Examples of Tracey’s hard-work and dedication to the profession were numerous throughout the many nominations she received for the Gerstacker Excellence in Teaching Award. Mrs. Moeggenberg is an outstanding educator and is appreciated by her students, parents and colleagues. One parent noted, “She was very patient with my son and helped build his confidence with her encouraging attitude, by focusing on his strengths and giving a sense of worth.” A colleague states, “Tracey shows personal characteristics such as integrity, fairness and commitment when she serves the students in her classroom. She gently nudges them into finding the joy of learning and when they struggle she always has encouraging words.” And lastly, “She is kind, welcoming and has a wonderful sense of humor. Tracey teaches with rigor and has high expectations, but makes learning fun…she is the kind of teacher that students come back to visit for years to come.” Midland Public Schools considers it an honor to have a dedicated teacher like Mrs. Moeggenberg as a member of their teaching staff.
Language Arts instructor at Jefferson Middle School
Mary Zeitler began teaching Language Arts at Jefferson Middle School in the fall of 1991. She has spent her entire teaching career at Jefferson Middle School. She is a graduate from Central Michigan University with a Bachelors of Science from Saginaw Valley State University with a Masters in Middle School Instruction. Her additional training includes: Brain Psychology of Adolescents: Why do They Think That Way?; What Makes Great Teachers Great; and Six Plus One Traits of Writing.
She started the Academic Track program, provided expertise in the Mark Twain Festivals, assisted in developing the first English/History block classes and volunteered to teach the Learning Strategy classes at Jefferson Middle School. Her passion for education is evident on a daily basis.
In support of her nomination, a former Jefferson teacher said, “Mrs. Zeitler is a brilliant person who has the benefit of a highly organized mind. She is caring, loving and has a warm rapport with ALL students.” Another colleague wrote “Mary has taught her entire teaching career at Jefferson Middle School, so I have been able to work with her in many different ways and to observe her interacting with students and staff alike. Some people are born to be teachers and Mary is one of those individuals. I am in awe of her teaching and the manner in which she works with our most resistant learners.”
Two of Mary’s goals during the 1992-93 school year were:
“To teach my students to be goal oriented and independent, while also showing them the importance of “people” skills; to teach my students to work effectively as a part of a group, both socially and academically.”
“To make time for fun and laughter in my classroom and to laugh each and every day.”
Mrs. Mary Zeitler is an outstanding educator who has exemplified the teaching profession for her entire career. Students enjoy learning from someone who enjoys having them in class and Mary delights in seeing the sense of accomplishment on each and every student’s face. Her passion for students and their success is unmatched and Midland Public Schools is fortunate to have her as an instructor.