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Oakwood Schools


Staff Superstars

2022 - 2023

Quarter 4
Katie Poppa, OJH/OHS Gifted Intervention Specialist

"I think Katie Poppa is a huge staff superstar!! Katie collaborates with teachers to create unique lessons that challenge our students. She gives up most of her lunch breaks to provide instruction to the many classes and clubs that she passionaly runs. Katie runs professional development classes for our staff several times a year. She also stops by to check in on students and teachers to see if they are doing well.  She runs many reports and tests to help find the right services for our students. Katie literally never stops working for and caring for our staff and students here at Oakwood.

- Heather McGlothen


John Edwards, Harman School Teacher

"John has been such an incredible support and addition to the third grade team this year. If there is ever a problem I am trying to address, or an idea I need to work through in order to bring a project to life, he's my first go-to. He is calm, cool and collected, and he always comes in with a smile on his face. The joy he has for teaching is contagious! He's an incredible role model for students and staff alike, and I am beyond thankful to be on a team with him."

- Kayleigh Davidson



Katie Harrison, Smith Elementary Teacher

Katie Harrison

"Katie has been such an asset to our team for the past two years.  She is so knowledgeable about her subject matter, plans creative and fun lessons in which students are excited to participate, and fosters an inclusive, friendly classroom for all students.  Her easygoing and flexible personality make it a joy to come to work every day."

- Lisa Henry

"Katie's classroom is a center of creativity and discovery!  She creates vibrant lessons that bring content to life, with hands-on experiments and activities that connect them with history in meaningful ways.  Students regularly comment on how much they love learning with Mrs. Harrison, and her energetic, welcoming and supportive personality fosters academic growth and relationships with students and promotes collaboration with staff at Smith.  Katie is a valuable asset to Oakwood Schools!"

- Nate Thompson

Amanda Ammer, OHS Teacher

"Amanda Ammer puts everyone over herself. She works tirelessly for her colleagues and her students. Whenever talking with others about Amanda we always reflect thinking ... "man, we are lucky to have her.'"

- Ellie Randall





Deb Osterfeld, PE and Adaptive PE

Deb Osterfeld

"Deb always goes above and beyond to accommodate classes in the gym.  She offers her space and creates fun games for all of the classes to play together.  She's always helpful in getting kids active on days when students may not have PE."

- Erin Nye





Quarter 3
Joi Castro, Smith Elementary Intervention Specialist

Joi Castro

"Joi has reached out to support families even though they are not on her caseload. She makes sure they have the resources they need and is friendly in her approach."

- Suzanne Batten, Special Education Supervisor





Michele Cramer, Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Administrative Assistant

Michele Willoughby

"Michele is always willing to help out wherever she is needed. She is quick to turn all things around and cares about all of us professionally and personally. If she doesn't know an answer, rest assured, she will always figure it out or find the answer. I appreciate Michele and love working with her!"

- Sandi Branham, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent




Anthony Holzberg, Harman School Teacher

"Anthony goes above and beyond for his students, coming up with creative ways to reach those struggling. Whether teaching magic tricks or throwing a baseball with a student, Anthony strives to connect with each student."

- Anne Kenney, Harman Teacher




Emily Sullivan, OHS English Teacher

Emily Sullivna

"I would like to nominate Emily Sullivan for the distinction of Staff Superstar. As department chair, she advocates for student success and ensures that staff has input in curricular and scheduling decisions. She uses creative teaching practices to facilitate her students' development in writing and analysis. She is a superstar professional who helps to make Oakwood a truly excellent place."

- KC Weaver, OHS English Teacher




Karin Lauterbach, OJH Math Teacher

"Karin is an amazing teacher who connects with each of her students, builds student-centered lessons that get kids to think and is a great leader of the department. We are so grateful to have her on staff here!"

- Ian Callon, OHS Math Teacher





Quarter 2
Tiffanie Fitch, Educational Aide

Tiffanie Fitch

"Tiffanie has a very unique position splitting time between preschool and school-age as well as between two buildings.  She does it all with a smile on her face and with the students at her center. Tiffanie always seeks additional information and is a good team player."

- Suzanne Batten, Special Education Supervisor





Lisa Henry, Smith Elementary Teacher

Lisa Henry

"Lisa's positive attitude is infectious.  Lisa is a master educator.  The dedication she demonstrates daily to her role, to her students' academic and emotional well-being, and as a peer to our team as well as the Smith staff as a whole is above and beyond and inspiring to all.  Lisa is a tremendous asset to Oakwood Schools and we're grateful to work with her!"

- Nate Thompson, Smith Teacher




Shari Coleman, Lange School Teacher

Shari Coleman

Shari is a strong support for her students, coworkers and families.  Shari is always willing to give an idea a try and shows up with positivity even though the day (or week) before was a tough one.  She is honest and kind."

- Suzanne Batten





Quarter 1
Bill DeMange, Systems and Hardware Engineer

Bill DeMange

"Bill DeMange is truly a staff superstar! He will drop whatever he is doing to help someone else. He works around the clock and we are so lucky to have him."

- Ellie Randall




Becky Dzuris, Harman School Intervention Specialist

Becky Dzuris

"Becky Dzuris is impressive, passionate and compassionate for students with difficulty regulating. Becky is also a CPI trainer that not only knows the information but is an excellent model of implementing strategies and support for her peers and colleagues."

- Suzanne Batten, Special Education Supervisor




Emi King, Smith Elementary Teacher

Emi King

"Emi Kingi is a great teacher to work with! She cares about all students and goes out of her way to communicate with other professionals to see what she can do to support her students. She asks questions to gain knowledge, shares wonderful ideas, and always keeps a sense of humor. Smith is lucky to have her!"

- Melissa Wallace





2021 - 2022

Quarter 4
Becky Sledge, Teacher/Intervention Specialist, Oakwood Junior High/Oakwood High School

Rebecca Sledge

"Becky understands, cares deeply for, and pushes her students, even when some goals can take many years to be accomplished. Becky knows her students and finds creative ways to teach the same thing in multiple ways when the first (second or third) way didn't work out. Her patience and appreciation for what they can do are limitless. Lastly, Becky is able to continuously encourage students to accomplish things many people thought were beyond their ability level. One of Becky's students recently had success on a goal that was years in the making. Everyone involved, including the student, is so very proud of the progress the student has made."

- Pam Morrow, Teacher/Intervention Specialist, Oakwood Junior High/Oakwood High School


Jane Lynch, Teacher, Lange School

Jane Lynch

"In the classroom, we get a lot done with the kids, do fun things and watch the students grow.  At lunch, we can relax a little and have a good laugh. It's a great balance and I look forward to both parts of the day with her. She is so kind, knowledgeable and does a great job meeting the needs of all kids.  She is always adapting to put best practices in place for all the kids to learn the way that is best for them."

- Beth Morrisey, Intervention Specialist, Lange School



Pam Ellis, Caleb Vanden Eynden, Nate Thompson, Amy Mullins, Teachers, Smith Elementary

Pam Ellis Caleb Vanden Eynden Nate Thompson and Amy Mullins

"At Smith we are grateful for the energy, passion and creative talents of our COTA team! They spent countless hours before and after school on rehearsals, setup, choreography and planning to make the return of COTA magical for our Smith community. The positive impact they have made on our students will be cherished for years to come."

- Chrissy Elliott, Principal, Smith Elementary






Quarter 3
Brian Pennell, Custodian, Smith Elementary

Brian Pennell

"Brian has been absolutely outstanding! Not only do I hear great things from my kids about Brian’s kindness during school but over the last several months we have worked with Brian on the weekends for Jacks and Jills basketball. Brian goes out of his way to make sure we have everything we need each weekend. The time he spends making sure the facilities are in good working order and the care he takes to make sure the gym is ready for our players reflects highly on his work ethic and dedication to Oakwood’s image to our parents and visiting families."

- Paul Goodling, Community Member



Kristin Schindler & Taylor Wadham, Educational Aides, Smith Elementary

Kristin Schindler
Taylor Wadham

"Kristin Schindler and Taylor Wadham deserve this nomination for staff superstars. Kristin and Taylor go above and beyond for the students and staff at Smith Elementary. They are always ready to jump in and help out at a moment's notice. Their flexibility, patience, kindness, positive attitudes, ability to connect with others, and willingness to take on a challenge does not go unnoticed. These women are a positive light at Smith school and we are so fortunate to have them as part of our team. Thank you for all that you do!"

- Joi Castro, Leslie Daniel, Chrissy Elliott, Smith Elementary Staff Members



Ellie Randall, Social Studies Teacher, Oakwood High School

Ellie Randall

"Ellie Randal is a rock star.  She's passionate about her social studies content and organized to a tea (sp?) As her former teacher, it's so fun to watch her shine.  But what truly amazes me about her is how she connects with students.  She knows her students so well and spends her lunches and plan periods giving them extra support and attention.  I'm honored to call her my teammate."

- Bridget Fiore, OJH Teacher




Quarter 2
Teresa Hart, Preschool Aide, Oakwood Preschool

Teresa Hart

"Teresa Hart is amazing. She's kind to every person she crosses paths with. She helps anyone who even thinks about asking for help.  She is everyone's biggest cheerleader and does so much behind the scenes. In addition, the kids absolutely adore her and she is THE BEST science teacher ever. I could go on and on, but if anyone is a superstar, Teresa is."

- Annie Uhlenhake, Oakwood Preschool Teacher




Marie Jergens, French Teacher, OHS

Marie Jergens

"Marie Jergens is ALWAYS willing to give a helping hand to not only me, but anyone that needs it in the building. She is completely devoted to her work here at Oakwood, in just two short years, and it shows through all of her willingness to lend a hand wherever needed."

- Ellie Randall, OHS Teacher





Thomas McCready, IT Office Assistant

Thomas McCready

"Thomas developed an inventory system for Lange School Library.  We can now search for books in our library.  This is so helpful for everyone on our staff.  He listened to what my needs were and came up with a wonderful program.  Thank you, Thomas!"

- Debbie Drake, Lange Teacher





Quarter 1
Sandi Branham, Administrative Assistant, BOE

Sandi Branham

"Since my first day, Sandi Branham has always been so kind, thoughtful and always willing to answer any questions.  I have no doubt everyone in Oakwood Schools benefits from Sandi's kind spirit, positivity and dedication to her work. She is a true Staff Superstar."

- Amanda Venable, Oakwood Alumni Assoc. Director




Rachael Judge, Intervention Specialist, OJH/OHS

"Rachael Judge amazing with her students and her hard work often goes unnoticed. Oakwood Schools is lucky to have her. "

- Ellie Randall, OHS Teacher





Amber Perrott, School Counselor, Smith Elementary

Amber Perrott

"Amber Perrott works every day to help all the students and staff at Smith with their emotional woes, championing the Military Kids and offering that quietm confident voice to those who need a pause.  Amber is awesome."

- Elaine Fultz, Smith Media Specialist






2020 - 2021

May:  Bridget Fiore, OJH Teacher

Bridget Fiore

“Bridget Fiore is a superstar, every day, all year long!  She pursues knowledge, supports her peers and encourages curiosity in her students. She loves to learn (about anything) and her passion is both invigorating and inspiring.”

- Amy Ostdiek

May:  Sandy Zipes, Smith Teacher

“Sandy Zipes is so passionate in her teaching, positive in all her interactions and a role model for all of us.  Mrs. Zipes always makes me feel welcomed in her classroom and is so appreciative of the work I do with her students.  I feel honored to work with such an outstanding teacher.”

- Amber Perrott

April:  Hilary Waugh, OJH Student Counselor

“Hilary is personable, intelligent, creative, supportive, inclusive, tech savvy and such a team player! She goes above and beyond to help staff and students.  She has helped create some exciting new activities for students and staff.  She is truly an asset to the team!!!”

- Heather McGlothen

April:  Sue Scocozzo, Athletic Department Administrative Assistant

“Sue works so hard but especially this year with the pandemic and doing all she can to make sure students can have their sports seasons.  Not only does she facilitate all the ins and outs of athletics, she keeps the building calendar for the junior and senior high which is no small feat.  She is always willing to offer a helping hand even when she has more than plenty to do!”

- Dawn Roeckner

March:  Linda Miller, Smith Elementary Cafeteria Manager

“As the point person for the District’s lunch program during the last year, Linda Miller has prepared thousands of meals for our students during these topsy turvy times.  She has created opportunities to provide stability to families across our District.  Whether it’s a ‘surprise’ lunch in a pre-school student’s backpack or the meals delivered to other families, Linda is taking care of our students and their families each day.” 

- Kyle Ramey

March:  Kathy Kash, Smith Elementary Second Grade Teacher

“Kathy is one of the most supportive, uplifting colleagues we have at Smith.  She always shares a smile, a compliment, or an affirmation with anyone in her path.  Her rapport with her students is both warm and nurturing and not only does she make sure they are academically taken care of, she also does things such as yoga and mindfulness activities to feed their whole self.  Kathy is one of a kind!”

- Lisa Henry

February:  Mary Barnett, District Nurse

Mary Barnett

“Mary Barnett has been an essential force during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has performed all of her regular duties including providing medications, completing documentation and screenings, dealing with injuries, and speaking with parents regarding contact tracing and quarantine procedures.  She has participated in pandemic planning in the schools with the assistance of Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County while always doing her best to keep staff and students healthy.”

- Kristan Levy

February:  Diane Harris, District Driver

Diane Harris


January:  Pam Ellis, Smith Elementary Teacher

Pam Ellis

“Pam Ellis is my hero!  She has helped me beyond words with technology all year.  She does this day in and day out with a smile and patience.  I don't know what I would do without her help.  She truly is an outstanding teacher, friend and mom!”

- Kathy Kash

January:  Patty Reymann, Harman School Teacher

Patty Reymann

“Even when she is busy, Patty will drop what she is doing to help any teacher with any technology issue.  Patty is also very generous with her time for students.  She invests a lot of time and effort into her instruction, she's truly passionate about her students' progress and well-being.  Patty is always one of the first teachers at Harman in the morning and one of the last to leave.”

- Harman Fifth Grade Teachers

December:  Brianna Doyal, OJH English Teacher

Brianna Doyal

"I think Brianna Doyal is deserving of ALL the recognition. She is kind, caring and compassionate. She creates an environment where students feel safe and loved. Her lessons are fun, engaging and diverse, which allow students to learn in a way that works for them. Brianna is always willing to help her colleagues learn new things as well. She is for sure an MVP on our team!"

- Heather McGlothen

November:  Cathy Coppola, OHS Educational Aide

Cathy Coppola Staff Superstar

"Cathy Coppola is an amazing educational assistant.  She creates an instant rapport with EVERY student she comes in contact with and she goes the extra mile for not only students she is working with but also with any of the students in the room.  Her energetic spirit and positive energy fills any room.  I feel lucky to work with her every day."

- Bridget Fiore

October:  Kerry Martin, OHS Spanish Teacher

Kerry Martin

"She is there for her students every step of the way. She is patient and she is doing her absolute best to learn all of the new technology in this new crazy time. She rocks and her kids love her!"

-Ellie Randall

September:  Joni Sherk, OHS Administrative Assistant

Joni Sherk

"Joni is doing two jobs right now with grace and still manages to help all of us with our crazy questions and problems. She was thrust right into the middle of the craziness and hasn't blinked or backed away from the challenge! She is an exemplar of the true spirit of a lumberjack -- always willing to help and never backing down!"

- Heidi Edwards

2019 - 2020

April:  Pam Morrow, Teacher/Intervention Specialist at OJH/OHS

Pam Morrow

"Pam has a team spirit attitude every day and is encouraging to everyone around her. She is willing to go out of her way to do what's best for the students and those who work with her," Jasmin

March:  Kim Walther, Teacher at Harman

Kim Walther headshot

"Kim is the quintessential example of poise and positivity, she led the Elf Challenge at Harman with aplomb. All month, our staff was able to express their gratitude and affection for each other due to her flawless execution of the month-long activity. Kim is kind, supportive, encouraging, considerate, welcoming, and brilliant. She makes Harman a better place!" Harman School Counselor Michael Wadham

February:  Jennifer Simpson, Teacher at OJH

Headshot of Jen Simpson

"Jennifer Simpson works very hard in and out of class to provide students with engaging learning opportunities. She works tirelessly to create organized Take 5 lessons, while providing technologically advanced social studies lessons and organizing the 8th grade D.C. trip. She cares about our students so much and she is the REAL MVP!!!" OJH teacher Heather McGlothen

January:  Joyce Dunham, Teacher at Harman School

Joyce Dunham

"Joyce Dunham is such a blast to work with. She has been so helpful in guiding me through teaching third grade, and has helped me build my confidence in teaching. She is an excellent role model and always stands for what is in the best interest of her students," Harman teacher Kayleigh Davidson.

December:  Danielle Haggerty, Administrative Assistant at Smith

Danielle Haggerty

"Danielle was a substitute and then a full-time administrative assistant last year with a lot of things going on a Smith. She had to prepare for a new school year not knowing a lot of the procedures and figuring out things as they occurred. Kudos to Danielle for surviving the back to school pandemonium and first half of the year," Smith teacher Lisa Henry.

November:  Beth Johnson, Guidance Administrative Assistant at OHS

"Beth creates a safe and inviting environment for all, always providing to students what they need. As an administrative assistant, she always puts us in the best position to be successful and looks out for us so we can provide the best services possible. She is the heart and soul of our office, and a true Staff Superstar!!!"
-Adam Woessner

October:  Casey Kesler, Teacher/Intervention Specialist at Smith Elementary

 "She continues to meet the needs of her students in all ways, everyday. She demonstrates 110% dedication to her students!!!" - Deb Osterfeld

September:  John Loomis, Teacher at Oakwood Junior High

"Every morning, John Loomis spends time greeting students by name into the building.  He's a great people connector!" Karin Lauterbach

July:  Keri Hayes, Teacher/Intervention Specialist at Smith Elementary

"She truly cares for her students and loves kids.  She is very humble and does her job with great pride.  Keri is so very kind and helpful to all.  She would do anything for anyone.  Keri has excellent ideas/strategies and strives to find innovative ways to reach the students she works with.  Keri is a great co-worker!" Jen Richardson

June:  Carol McCarthy, Smith

Headshot Carole McCarthy

"With her quiet ways and soothing demeanor, Carol kept Smith School on an even keel during a very difficult time.  I saw people come into the office just to get a 'dose' of her magic.  She was an immeasurable help to me in coming into unfamiliar territory in a very difficult situation.  She was and is the very definition of 'superstar," Nanci Koepke

May:  Dawne Rockner, OJH

headshot of Dawne Roeckner

"Dawne is the ultimate multi-tasker!! She has a long family history in Oakwood and handles the Junior High Office with the utmost efficiency:) The kids and parents love her. I love working with her!!!" Tina Detamore said.

April:  Lori Morris, OHS

headshot of Lori Morris

"Not only is Lori an amazing English teacher, she devotes ENDLESS hours to the academic decathlon team. She works with them almost every single day at lunch and then some days before and after school as well. The students absolutely love her and she's created such a fantastic culture for the team that they are like a small family. All of that hard work has paid off too as they're eight-time state champs and seven-time national champs," Jenna Hill said.

March:  Joni Sherk, OHS

headshot of Joni Sherk

"Joni is a tireless workhorse behind the scenes dealing with finance and money at our school. She will do everything she can to help you and always has a positive attitude. She is a bright spot in the day, when so often paperwork and money sound like the last thing you want to deal with," Matt Deters said.

February:  Cara Leedy, OHS

headshot of Cara Leedy

"Cara Leedy, Intervention Specialist at the Senior High, deserves to be called a Staff Superstar. She consistently supports the learning needs of her freshmen students while at the same time nurturing their development of self-advocacy skills. She communicates positively and openly with fellow staff, parents, and students alike. She's also an amazing junior high volleyball coach. Cara's students are lucky to have her as their teacher!" Anonymous

January:  Kathy Jabir, Harman School

headshot of Kathy Jabir

"Kathy Jabir is my superstar! She is open to helping students and teachers. She worked hard to find a literacy project for our families that involves a family book meal/craft program that she coordinated with the Wright Library. She shares current research. She is in and out of rooms monitoring student progress as well as helping those students who need extra time and practice. Moreover, she knows when a peer is struggling and needs a break or a smile," Jennifer Davis.

December:  Bill Parries, Smith Elementary 

headshot of Bill Parries

"Bill is a superstar! He has a heart for the staff and students at Smith School and is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure everyone is safe and comfortable when they come to school. He goes above and beyond the call of duty each and every day, working on small projects in addition to the daily tasks in order to keep Smith School clean and up and running. He helps with electrical needs, playground repairs, classroom repairs and everything in between, always with a smile on his face. Bill is always on board with supporting a student who may need to help clean an area after making a mess or has earned a reward and wants to work with him. He even got a pie in the face during an assembly last year. He's just an all-around good guy who takes great pride in his work. We are blessed to have Bill at Smith." Smith Principal Lynn Cowell

November:  Brenda Casterline, Harman School

headshot of Brenda Casterline

"This woman does the work of 10 every single day—— with a smile. She is patient, kind, and takes care of us all."
Kim Walther, Harman School

October:  Matt Salyer, OJHS/OHS

headshot of Matt Salyer

"Matt is always willing to do whatever he can to help."
Laura Connor, Athletic Director

September:  Cathie Newburg, BOE Office

Headshot Cathie Newburg

"Cathie goes above and beyond to support all district staff members and departments to ensure that the service provided by OCSD is top notch.  She doesn't do it for the recognition but does it because of she is intrinsically motivated to do her best and what ultimately best for students and staff."
Allyson Couch, Director of Educational Services