Twelve local educators received “Excellence in Education” awards at the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce luncheon March 7 at Bear Mountain Grill.
Staff and Parent Teacher Associations at each of the Chugiak-Eagle River public schools selected an individual to receive the 2012 award.
At the luncheon, Anchorage School District Superintendent Carol Comeau handed out the awards and school board member Crystal Kennedy read comments from each school’s principal about each recipient.
Here’s a look at this year’s winners:
• Janet Clarke is a science at math teacher at Gruening Middle School. She has been instrumental in Gruening’s submersible remote operated vehicle challenge, where students construct ROVs out of PVC pipe and maneuver them through an underwater course. Clarke also helps run an after-school homework club and analyzes how services are provided to gifted students.
• Matthew Prnka is a science teacher at Eagle River High. Principal Marty Lang described Prnka as full of energy and always the first to arrive in the morning.
“He has literally never taken a sick day,” Lang wrote. “Mr. Prnka is one of our best and brightest.”
• Desiree Page is a first-grade teacher at Fire Lake Elementary.
“She is committed to education excellence in every way,” principal Lindsay Henry wrote.
Page works to forge relationships with students’ families, she said.
“She is a dedicated, motivated, intense professional,” Henry wrote.
• Patria Stanley is an administrative assistant at Birchwood ABC Elementary.
Stanley serves the needs of all of her students, principal Timothy Godfrey wrote. She is kind, caring and compassionate, he wrote.
• Josh Hegna is a reading and writing teacher at Ravenwood Elementary.
Hegna infuses technology into his classroom and runs a before-school tutoring program.
In addition to reading and writing, Hegna teaches his students to be good friends and citizens, principal Audrey Chapman wrote.
“The entire Ravenwood family loves Josh Hegna,” she wrote.
• Amber Bartlett is a special education teacher at Mirror Lake Middle School. She also helps coach a variety of athletic teams.
“She has a very positive impact on literally hundreds in the Chugiak-Eagle River community,” principal Sherry Ellers wrote.
• Robin Murphy is an art teacher at Alpenglow Elementary and sponsors an after-school art club.
Murphy also teaches at Ravenwood. Thirty-four of Murphy’s Ravenwood students and 30 of her Alpenglow students have group projects on display in the annual Anchorage School District art exhibition. Another 10 individuals also created artwork.
• Melissa Timberlake teaches language arts and Saxon math at Eagle Academy Charter School. She also serves as student council advisor.
Principal Kitty Logan described Timberlake as a top-notch educator.
“She has high expectations for herself and her students,” Logan wrote.
• Kathleen Vik is a family and consumer science teacher at Chugiak High.
Principal Sam Spinella described Vik as a leader among her peers. She is creative and involves community members in her classroom, he wrote.
• Patricia Lacey is a fifth-grade teacher at Homestead Elementary.
Principal Barbara Nagengast described Lacey’s teaching style as “very precise and systematic.”
Lacey also coaches the school’s math derby team.
• Ann Prewitt is a special education teacher at Chugiak Elementary. Students rise to the high bar Prewitt sets, principal Susan Hindman wrote.
“Every single minute counts in her classroom,” Hindman wrote. “She never, ever, ever, ever gives up on a child.”
• Diana Carter is a counselor at Eagle River Elementary.
“Diana has formed a strong bond with all of our students,” principal Nicole Sommerville wrote. “The students love Miss Carter and would be lost without her.”
The staff, too, would be lost without Carter, Sommerville wrote.