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Congratulations to the 2023-24 Winter Circle of Greatness Special Honorees

circle of greatness honorees

Professional Recognition: Valerie Whitehead, Aledo Middle School

Mrs. Whitehead's nominators said:
I want to share something about one of your staff members whom we have had the honor of working with. My child is a 6th grader at AMS and Mrs. Whitehead is his liaison for Dyslexia. I wanted to let you know that Mrs. Whitehead has been absolutely outstanding to work with. This year has been a big adjustment for our child going from elementary to middle school in terms of schoolwork and homework. Mrs. Whitehead has been instrumental in working with us to express what we are seeing as parents and her perspective working with our child in school. We have had many concerns and she has walked with us step by step. Together we have looked at his accommodations and helped to clarify/elaborate and also prepare new suggestions for our child’s upcoming ARD meeting in just a few days. She has made us feel that he/we have a true learning ally and we are not alone. Clarifying his existing accommodations has been so helpful. Dyslexic students have so many strengths and she has been great at playing to those. People who go above and beyond (like Mrs. Whitehead) should be celebrated. Thank you very much for taking the opportunity to read this. I’m not sure how this works but I 100% wanted to let you know what a star you have in the ranks at AMS!

I'm writing in regards to Mrs. Valerie Whitehead - my child’s IEP advisor at Aledo Middle School. As a former teacher myself (15 years at the high school level), I have been around a lot of teachers as well as SPED coordinators from a professional standpoint. In addition, my child has been in an IEP program since they were 2.5 years old. All of this to say, through two states and countless educators I wanted to describe to you the unparalleled commitment that Mrs. Whitehead gives to her students. It is not very often that a SPED teacher is hi-lighted. But without these caring individuals, students who struggle would fall even further behind in their schooling. Mrs. Whitehead encourages her students, works with all staff members across the subject contents, and really strives to bridge that gap in learning. I can't begin to put into words how meaningful and helpful she has been in this transition from elementary to middle school. She's also the first SPED teacher that I've worked with that really focuses on case-by-case what a student needs rather than applying blanket accommodations. Please know you have an amazing asset, colleague and district representative in Mrs. Whitehead.

Paraprofessional Recognition: Raquel Leyva, Instructional Paraprofessional - Early Childhood Center

Ms. Leyva's nominator shared:
Ms. Raquel is the paraprofessional in my pre-k class and she has gone above and beyond this year especially the last two weeks. I have been out and she has stepped up to help in a teacher role with the class. She has kept me updated on how the kids are doing with daily pictures and messages. When not taking on the class, she is always the first to ask if there is anything she can do to help with the class, copies, cutting or laminating. She also loves to decorate our classroom for the holidays. Most importantly, she is wonderful with the kids!! I don’t even think there are enough thank yous for how thankful I am for her!

Auxiliary Recognition: Jennifer Lehman, Bus Driver/Transportation - North Lot

Ms. Lehman's nominator shared:
Ms. Jennifer is AMAZING! This year has been the first year my child has ridden the bus. She has been welcoming and so kind to the kids. My child got a little car/bus sick one morning, she wouldn’t allow my child to clean up the mess. My child was mortified, but Ms. Lehman jumped in to check on my child, told my child it was okay and that she was super worried about my child not feeling well. As a first time bus rider and middle school mom I really appreciate how kind she has been.

Guest Teacher Recognition: Morgan Bodie, Annetta Elementary

Mr. Bodie's nominator said:
He is the most amazing guest teacher. Any time he steps foot on campus the kids are exuberant with excitement. Great substitute teachers can adapt quickly to different classroom environments, grade levels, and subject matter. They are flexible and can handle unexpected situations with poise. He does this every single time he is on our campus. He has the ability to engage and connect with students. Whether through enthusiasm, humor, or relatability, a great substitute teacher creates a positive and inclusive learning atmosphere and he is amazing at this! We love having Mr. Bodie on our campus!