Everyone has been impacted in some way by COVID-19, but teachers in particular have been handed a rough hand. Teaching virtually, keeping kids safe while in-person instruction, making sure they stay healthy as well... it's apparent now more than ever that teaching is one of the most noble professions.

Back in November, we asked you to nominate local teachers going above and beyond for their students to receive $100 in Weis Market gift cards. A huge thank you to Planning With Purpose for sponsoring!

Meet our winner...

Jake Carle teaches at Bell Elementary School in the Windsor Central School District

Elizabeth Smith, whose son is in Carle's class, wrote the following in nominating Carle:

"Mr. Carle stepped in to become a long term substitute for the remainder of the school year for a colleague. My son is in his class and was very apprehensive and anxious about this change in October. My son has not had a teacher for an entire school year with the exception of last year that to him was not the entire year due to the impact of COVID.


Mr. Carle did a meet and greet, via Zoom, with parents prior to stepping up. He also worked alongside the teacher that began with them in September for a couple weeks to make the transition as seamless as possible. Mr. Carle has quickly become one of the best teachers for my son. My son always says that he is nice and kind. He enjoys going to school even despite the fears of COVID.


Mr. Carle is a positive male role model that far too many children do not get anymore in their lives. He has also gone above and beyond to ensure that the students and parents are aware of what is going on as soon as he is able to do so. I am sure many other parents would agree with me.


Mr. Carle was able to step into a new classroom in a new school, and enable the students and parents to feel confident and comfortable with this all while under the constraints and differences taking place due to COVID. I believe that there are plenty of good teachers that are deserving of this but I would like to recognize Mr. Carle for stepping up especially in these uncertain times.


Thank you Mr. Jake Carle for all that you have done from assisting in this transition to the little day to day tasks that often get overlooked."

Congratulations Jake! You're definitely making an impact with the work you do, and it's obvious that doesn't go unnoticed!

Jake isn't the only local teacher that is making an impact on our students. Keep scrolling to take a look at all the submissions from residents who wanted to give a shoutout to their child's teacher!

Kristen Latting -- Blue Ridge Central School District

Coordinates monthly food pantry for community at school. Coordinates with her Leo Club students Veterans Day Breakfast, Coat Drive, Hat Day to raise funds for different causes. Coordinates a toy drive called Toys N Tots to provide toys to students within our district. Helped coordinate the delivery of school lunches to our students when school was shut down in the spring. She and her Food Class students prepare Thanksgiving Feast for staff to help raise money for Feed A Friend. Helps coordinate Feed A Friend program at our school. -- Michelle M.

Ben Taylor -- Candor Central School

As a tech specialist, Ben has been an invaluable asset to our hybrid learning platforms during a radically different school year. He integrated students, parents, and colleagues to a new learning platform just weeks before school began. He is full of endless energy, attends conferences virtually to gain greater insight on the new tech tools, and provides tutorials and easy tips for teachers to help our students learn with greater ease. Ben has been an awesome coworker and a fantastic asset to our district, especially this year. He devotes free time and weekends to assisting with tech integration, and he is always thinking about how to improve our experiences with the boundless and new technology. He is the best! -- Dawn L.

Mrs. Head -- Whitney Point Central School District

As a family of 7, we have had many teachers over the years and while there are MANY who may deserve this, the one that comes to mind is Mrs Head. Our daughter had her last year (and our older daughter years ago) and although it was short in-person with Covid-19, she was continuously interacting with her students while having to home instruct her own children. This year with all the changes to her students’ learning, she organized a donation program so that her class is able to each get a book a month throughout the school year. I have never met someone who is so devoted to her students. There is nothing she wouldn’t do for her students and families. -- Nichole C.

Kelly Waterman -- Tioga Hills Elementary

Kelly is our daughters kindergarten teacher and this lady spends countless hours after the kids go home prepping lesson plans for both virtual and in person students, as well as decorating her classroom to match the lessons and upcoming holidays and many nights she is there beyond 7-8pm at night. She makes our Kindergarter absolutely love school and eager to go back beyond her two allowable days. We know the hours she spends in preparation because we live next to the school and many times when we head over to play at the school, she is at her computer, her car being the last car in the parking lot. We hope our yougest child can also attend her kindergarten class. She is an amazing teacher and deserves so much more than she is ever given credit for. -- Kariann and Ryan C.

Ashlee Marsh -- Owego-Apalachin School District

She has gone above and beyond this year to make it as normal of a year as possible. The first graders normally go to the Cinema Saver to see the Grinch, but this year they couldn’t. She made green popcorn, had green cups with hand drawn Grinch faces and showed the Grinch in her room. -- Andrea G.

Mrs. Reardon -- Chenango Bridge Elementary

My son has had a very smooth transition to 100% all remote learning this fall. Not only does she do an incredible job with the students, she keeps all parents up to date with an app on our phone to keep us all informed of things going on within the classroom. She certainly deserves this little blessing for everything she has done for our family. -- Casey

Alyssa Falinski -- Johnson City School District

Miss. Falinski loves her students like they were her own. During this unusual time; Miss Falinski still find ways to challenge her student minds and physically, weather they are doing remote learning or in-person in the classroom. Miss. Falinski challenges by thinking "outside of the box", giving the students questions they may have to "think" about before answering. Along with getting the students up and moving with games like Simon says. She as well is amazing with helping the students with the technology part with it . If something goes wrong Miss Falinski is wonderful in guiding student in how to work through it/ learn it. Lastly, Miss Falinski spends most, if not all her time and money on her LOVED students and classroom. She also do a fantastic job communicating with parents/ gradians. -- Nicolette H.

Jennifer DeYoung -- Afton Central School District

Mrs. DeYoung has gone above and beyond for all of her students. Making sure they are comfortable whether it be in person or online. She has reached out to us on many different occasions to make sure we are okay all while balancing her own life at home. She is amazing! -- April F.

Cory Helfrich -- Chenango Forks School District

He was an amazing teacher and a support for all the kids when school shut down in March. He continues to go above and beyond for all of his students. -- Kate V.

Nichole Cusack -- Chenango Forks Elementary School

Because Mrs cusack goes beyond the call of duty for special ed teaching she is always giving her awards books making special delivery for her kids she drop stuff of at their door my son would love to give her some thing nice like she does to. all her kids would it be possibly for my son nathan to help present it to her and thanks for all things she' has. done for him my is sue cooper my no. Is 607 240 8457 and my sons name is nathan hayslett he just want to give back to her what she gives all her kids thanks from nathan hayslett he has been trying to find out how to nominate her for teacher of the year w this would be great my son wouldn't be as far as he is if it wasnt for her a d we both just want to thank her. -- Susan C.

Kristi Beers -- Binghamton City School District

My daughter Kristi was born to teach. Back when she was little, she use to hold school classes in my Mom's basement with all of her cousins as her students. And now, she truly cares so much about her students with all of this Covid stuff !!!!! -- Don P.

Raymond Testa -- Susquehanna Community Elementary School

My kids had him in pre-K and since then he has always gone above and beyond to help them even now that they are homeschooled he still checks in on them and even went out of his way to sign my 8 year olds cast when she fractured her arm. He helps out the community all the time and even while this pandemic has been going on he helps everyone. He has even used his own money to help people. -- Jacquelyn B.

Kurt Rezucha -- Susquehanna Valley Central School District

Even during these tough times for students and teachers alike, Mr. R keeps online and in person class as entertaining and enjoyable as possible. It would be extremely difficult for anyone to teach Technology without being able to do ANY hands on teamwork building skills, or just building and creating as tech entails. Mr. R is rising above these restrictions and continuing to come up with creative ways to keep the kids engaged! -- Samantha D.

Mrs. Buck -- Union-Endicott Central School District

Mrs.Buck should be recognized because she is always there for kids when they need help with school and she's the nicest person you would ever meet. she is my favorite teacher of all time. :) -- Marissa Arnold

Mrs. Putney -- Binghamton City School District

Mrs. Putney is an incredibly dedicated teacher! With all things going on today, she still takes the time to know her students. She celebrates all the little things with them and makes sure they know they’re cared for! She’s delivered gifts, awards, and meals to her students and so much more. She’s so very appreciated. -- Camille E.

Kelly Rockwell -- Newark Valley/homeschool

Kelly was “forced” into becoming the teacher for our daughter, Kayden. Kayden has a history of health issues and her doctor told us she’d be better off doing full remote learning. With that in mind and Kelly recently being unemployed, she has dove into full time teacher, along with homemaker, wife and mother without missing a beat.
We hear parents complaining all the time about how their student is struggling with the “new way” school is being taught, but Kayden is excelling with Kelly’s help. Making honor roll in the first 10 weeks. I know I’m biased, but my wife makes a super teacher! -- Mark R.

Kim Stone -- Binghamton City School District

Kim works tirelessly for her students. She is often still at the school hours after the school day ends. When my daughter was in her class, Kim inspired my daughter to find the joy in reading and helped strengthen her math skills. Kim helps to inspire each of her students to find their talents and encourages them to work hard and not give up. My daughter still has the small trophy that Kim gave her on the last day of school on her desk at home. When my daughter was in third and fourth grade she used to still visit with Kim after school. She really made a difference in my daughter’s life and created a bond that will never be broken. Kim is one of the best teachers I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. -- Anne Marie B.

Jody Fiorentino -- Maine-Endwell Central School District

Jody should be recognized for her amazing work ethic, being kind, caring about her students, all while helping them learn! This year more than ever she has raised the bar with learning how to teach with new skills and helping her students be the best they can be. -- Laura P.

Lynn Voorhis -- Chenango Valley Central School District

She’s is always there for her students and always puts them first. She works well with her students and helps each and everyone one. My daughter has struggled over the years due to ptsd and a bad past and she has been the first teacher that has taken the time to understand and communicate with her. She is a wonderful teacher and deserves a great deal of recognition during this most difficult time of year with covid and she still takes her time for her students. -- Kimberly W.


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