Abbott Named SEA Teacher of the Year

Chris Eilerman, Beth Abbott, and Lori Hedberg

May 10, 2017 - The Sidney Education Association held their awards dinner Tuesday, May 9, at the Moose Lodge. The evening, filled with laughter and tears, celebrated various teachers for accomplishments and achievements throughout the year, as well as those from the community who have positively impacted the education of Sidney City Schools students.

Members honored Beth Abbott, Northwood Multiple Disabilities teacher, as Teacher of the Year. The nomination came from Jeanne McDonagh and Layne Meyer, third grade teachers at Northwood.  

“Beth grew up in a home with a family that reached out to help children with disabilities and continues this work in her adult life both at home and at school,” said McDonagh. “At school she is always willing to stop and listen, then pull from her vast knowledge and background to give us the help we need in order to provide the best learning environment for both the struggling student and the rest of the class.”

McDonagh and Meyer went on to speak Abbott’s commitment to seeing her students succeed.

“Beth gives 110% to her own students, skipping lunch on most days, keeping in close contact with parents, and pushing her students with disabilities to reach their highest level of performance. She is able to see exactly what each child brings to the community and her whole teaching approach involves finding and using children’s unique strengths to help them overcome their struggles and develop a positive self-concept.”

“Beth dedicates her life and resources to make sure that every child, no matter their level or disability, has a voice. We feel that Beth exemplifies what a Teacher of the Year should be – she is a wonderful role model for her students, for the other students in the building, and finally, for all of her colleagues who work alongside of her.”

Beth Abbott accepting the SEA Teacher of the Year Award

Members honored Chris Eilerman, Northwood 5th grade teacher, and Lori Hedberg, Longfellow and Whittier PE teacher, with the Career Achievement Award.

Eilerman, who was nominated by Stacy Hahn, has spent 25 years working in Sidney City Schools, with 27 years in education total.

Hahn shares, “Though Chris has taught multiple subjects, her true passion has been showcased when teaching science. Fellow peer, Dawn Ocke shared, ‘Chris has a genuine excitement and love for teaching science. This level is contagious to her students; she connects their every day environments to science. Once class time starts, her classroom door closes and young minds become science thinking minds in progress.’”

Hahn went on to say, “Chris truly loves this profession. She has been through a vast array of changes and educational reforms throughout her career. She has been working long enough to have experienced burn out and frustration with newly introduced program and could have easily become the teacher that was just ‘waiting her time out,’ but if you know anything about her, she is the exact opposite.”

“Chris loves coming to work each day and experiencing new learning along with her students. She loves the challenge of developing and inspiring students’ minds. For me, Chris Eilerman is an icon in our profession. I am truly blessed to have worked with her throughout our careers and am honored to have had her as a colleague, but most importantly as a friend. It is with great pleasure that I get to award Chris Eilerman with the SEA Career Achievement Award.”

Upon receiving the award, Eilerman, overcome with emotion, said, “Teaching has been my soul, Sidney City Schools has been my home.”

Chris Eilerman accepting the SEA Career Achievement Award.

Lori Hedberg, nominated by Angie Mentges, has made extensive contributions toward the quality of the educational process in Sidney City Schools, serving in her current SEA leadership position for 18 years.

Mentges shared, “The educational process is first and foremost impacted by the teacher. Lori believes in every student and makes her subject matter fun. She is develops leadership skills in her students and teaches kids to see their differences as strengths. She builds the skills of empathy, perseverance, kindness and doing your personal best.”

She went on to say a strong leader also impacts the educational process.

“Serving in her current SEA leadership position, Lori has moved us forward in contract negotiations during tough times. She has worked hard to preserve quality education for our students.”

Mentges spoke to her ability to motivate, mentor, lead, and work hard to solve problems and avoid conflict. She also noted Hedberg’s various accomplishments and awards as she noted Hedberg’s will to go above and beyond the expected.

“Every entity involved with or connected to Sidney City Schools in any way has been positively impacted and blessed by Lori. I am thrilled to be able to say thank you and acknowledge Lori Hedberg with the SEA Career Achievement Award.”   

Also overcome by emotion, Hedberg said, “Sidney City Schools has such neat people working here. You guys motivate me to do more every day. You guys make me better. You make your kids better.”

Lori Hedberg accepting the SEA Career Achievement Award

Receiving the S.E.A. Doers Award, Lori Billing, Northwood Elementary Title I teacher and Allison Zimmerman, Sidney High School MD teacher were acknowledged by Sandy Piatt and Amy Bauldauf for going above and beyond in the day-to-day to promote and enhance the educational process in Sidney City Schools.

Allison Zimmerman and Lori Billing accept the SEA Doer Award.

The group also recognized retiring teachers: SHS Spanish teacher Beth Spires, SHS Counselor Anita Barton, and Northwood 5th grade teacher Chris Eilerman.

Members also awarded Friends of Education. These are people, groups and organizations who have made a considerable effort to support teachers and enhance the educational process within Sidney City Schools through their work, time, and generosity. Receiving this award were the following volunteers and support staff: Diane Barber, nominated by Kay Straman; Larry Roettger, nominated by Melissa Rice; Linda Easton, nominated by Brenda Spangler; Terra Richardson, nominated by Natalie Stewart; Robin VanHook, nominated by Andrea Leaf; Barb Kinninger, nominated by Kimberly Marquez; Women of the Moose, nominated by Kathy Gillman & Peggy Jacob, accepted by Jenny VanMatre; P.O.W.E.R. (Shelby County United Way Women’s Initiative), nominated by Kathy Gillman and Peggy Jacob, accepted by Shelly Ginter and Betty Cole; Ginny Collier, nominated by Peggy Jacob; Karen Turner, nominated by Kathy Gillman; the late Dr. Jerome Mestemaker, nominated posthumously by Bridget Steed and accepted by his wife Carole; Kellie Shoffner, nominated by Angie Mentges; Judy O’Leary, nominated by Amy Bauldauf; and Kristen Allen, nominated by Stacy Hahn and Kristina Lundy. 

SEA Friends of Education Award recipients.

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