APS Teacher of the Year

APS Teacher of the Year
Posted on 05/28/2021
Akron Public Schools has selected Krista Bowden, a science teacher at Firestone CLC, and Emily Lees, an English language arts teacher from Ellet CLC, as the district’s teachers of the year. The winners were announced tonight via a livestream ceremony for the 30th annual Teacher of the Year awards.

This is only the second time in the award’s 30-year history that co-recipients were named. The last time two recipients were named was in 2000.

Bowden and Lees were selected from eight finalists – four from elementary schools and four from secondary schools. The selection process for Teacher of the Year begins during the winter as the district begins selecting school-building-level teachers of the year. That list is then reduced to the top eight in the entire district.

“So many teachers have gone to extraordinary lengths to connect and work with students this past year. I congratulate our Teachers of the Year on this well-deserved honor,” said Superintendent David W. James, Ed.D. “I also think it is important to recognize the special work all of our teachers have done while teaching our students in extraordinary circumstances.”

About Krista Bowden
Krista Bowden is a science teacher at Firestone CLC and teaches biology for the freshman academy. She has worked for the district for 10 years.

Conrad Ott Scholarship
Governors Award

Community Involvement:
Girl Scout troop leader

“For me, teaching is not just about having students understand the content for your class but helping them understand and learn life stills, as well as navigate through life issues,” Bowden said in her Q&A for teacher of the year. “Teaching is about helping students grow in ways they didn’t know possible.”

About Emily Lees
Emily Lees is an English language arts teacher for grades 9-12 at Ellet CLC in east Akron. She has worked for the district for 16 years.

Building Teacher of the Year Nominee, 5+ years
Donors Choose $1,000 grant recipient
E-Tech Grant recipient
Project Learn Tutor of the Month/Year

Community Involvement:
Donors Choose - Volunteer Teacher Ambassador

“Before I can teach my students, I believe they need to feel like they belong, like they are noticed and an important part of the classroom,” Lees said in her teacher of the year Q&A. “I do this by emphasizing that everyone has their own unique strengths and perspectives to offer and by creating a welcoming classroom environment with opportunities for students to safely share.”

The other finalists for APS Teacher of the Year include:
Kelly Lutz, pre-k teacher, Early Learning Program (ELP)
Megan Meyer, music teacher, East CLC
Jennifer Spradlin, fourth-grade teacher, Helen Arnold CLC
Chelsea Nicolino, science teacher, NIHF-STEM Middle School
Minni Connalley, kindergarten teacher, Schumacher CLC
Rachel Miller, kindergarten teacher, Windemere CLC

In addition to the Teacher of the Year, several other awards were presented during the event.

Marilyn Parks Award
Educators are nominated by their peers for the Marilyn Parks Achievement Award. Winners must be long-time APS educators, serve as ambassadors for APS to other Ohio schools, initiate community partnerships, inspire students, be successful in the classroom and much more.

2021 winner:
Julienne Hogarth, Firestone CLC

2021 nominees:
Edie Hardin-Steiner, Bridges Learning Center
Judith Harrison, Firestone CLC
Julienne Hogarth, Firestone CLC
Tamara Sboray, Firestone Park Elementary School
Hanh Dang-Nguyen, Portage Path CLC
Kimberly Shama-Hanna, Hyre CLC

David W. James Award – NEW in 2021
This award, named after Superintendent David W. James, recognizes accomplishments of first-year teachers. The inaugural recipient is:

Lashawna Grimes, computer programming and software development instructor, Buchtel CLC.

“We applaud the many young adults who have chosen to enter the education profession. It isn’t an easy career path, but great teachers like Lashawna are needed to inspire and teach our young people. I congratulate her on being named the recipient of this inaugural award. I am humbled to have it created in my name,” said Superintendent David W. James, Ed.D.

Shining Apple Awards
Shining Apple Award winners are nominated by the top-ranking senior at each school. The 2021 recipients and nominators are:

Brian Bennett, NIHF-STEM High School – nominated by Gianna Strada, NIHF-STEM High School
Dawn Marie Chapman, Ellet CLC – nominated by Jaden Kiggans, Ellet CLC
Hien Dang, Findley CLC – nominated by Tam Chau, North High School
De’Anna Edwards, Buchtel CLC – nominated by Derek Martin, Buchtel CLC
Julie Garcia, Kenmore-Garfield High School – nominated by Michael Hines, Kenmore-Garfield High School
Qing Liang, NIHF-STEM Middle School – nominated by Helen Trujillo, Firestone CLC
John MacLean, East CLC – nominated by Dillon Handy, East CLC
Greg Milo, Akron Early College High School – nominated by Naomi Moore, Akron Early College High School
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