Teacher/Support Staff Employee of the Year
2022 Teacher/Support Staff Employee of the Year
From left to right: 2019 Teacher of the Year Jennifer Vacca, 2022 Teacher of the Year Shaniece Wise, Timber Creek Elementary Principal Dr. Lauren Gechter, and 2011 Support Staff Employee of the Year Allison Scott.
2022 Support Staff Employee of the Year Sam Myers, at left, and Scott Dobson, Director of Facilities and 2014 Support Staff Employee of the Year, at right.
Congratulations to Shaniece Wise and Sam Myers!
Congratulations to 2022 Teacher of the Year Shaniece Wise and Support Staff Employee of the Year Sam Myers! The announcement of both awards was made during a program and reception on April 12. Read the program from the event.
Wise teaches fifth grade at Timber Creek Elementary School. Myers is a paraprofessional at Eagle Glen Elementary School.
As winners, Wise and Myers each receive a $500 cash award sponsored by JE Dunn, a desk award, and banners for their school. Their photos will be displayed at the Administrative Services Center. In addition, Wise will receive a Teacher of the Year ring from Balfour and will be the District's nominee for Missouri Teacher of the Year. Wise, Myers, and all of the finalists will receive a plaque and items donated by local businesses.
Shaniece Wise is 2022 Teacher of the Year
Wise teaches fifth grade at Timber Creek Elementary School. She has been in that position for three years. She also taught third grade for two years at Timber Creek. Before coming to Ray-Pec, she taught fifth and sixth grade for one year in the Concordia R-2 School District.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Central Missouri. She is pursuing a master’s degree in school counseling from UCM.
Wise was also a finalist for Ray-Pec Teacher of the Year in 2021 and was nominated for the award in 2020.
She was nominated by several students, who wrote:
"Mrs. Wise should be teacher of the year because she is amazing. She always helps when we need it. She’s very funny and nice.”
“She is very kind and she is very understanding. I have improved my test score with her - she is the math teacher. But she is not all about math. She makes sure she has time in the day to talk about your day.”
“She is really kind, and she chooses her students and other teachers before herself. She always says kind words and always has a positive mindset and attitude.”
“Mrs. Wise takes time out of her day to listen to her class if we need to talk to her, and she is the most amazing teacher in the entire universe.”
“She gives us a lot of positive affirmations.”
“I cannot say that I always wanted to be a teacher. I did not grow up playing school as you hear most teachers say. Even when I was in school, I was definitely the ornery student in the class that took on the role of “class clown” and seemed to not take education seriously. The thing is, high grades, achievement, learning, getting work done, and everything about school were important to me, I just really loved getting people to laugh.
“As I reflect on my job aspirations, I have wanted to be a babysitter, a Movie Gallery owner, a greeter at WalMart, a sanitation worker, a dentist, and probably every other job that I had exposure to growing up. As you can see, my mind changed regularly.
“I then substituted in an elementary school classroom, and that is when I knew. I knew I needed to become a teacher. I had an urgency that I needed to be in the classroom to help facilitate students in finding their interest, their passions, their joy of learning to ultimately help them see their potential and self-worth. I knew that I needed to build relationships with kids, help guide them to their full potential and help them see all the possibilities. I became a teacher because that was the first time I felt truly passionate about something. Teaching gives me motivation to try new things, think of new ideas, and challenge myself to become something better because every day, every kid, and every experience is different.”
From Principal Dr. Lauren Gechter
"Mrs. Wise is amazing at addressing the whole child, something critically important for our students. While she does not have the most experience and will openly tell you that she is working hard to improve herself personally and professionally, what she does have is heart. She voluntarily tutors students in multiple grade levels, volunteers for multiple committees, and is an advocate for all students.”
From the judges
Each finalist for Teacher of the Year had interviews with Jeff Kramer, Superintendent for the Archie School District; and Connie Studyvin, retired teacher from the Raytown School District.
In selecting Wise as Teacher of the Year, the judges noted her passion for her students. They said that she gave thoughtful and articulate answers to their questions.
Sam Myers is Support Staff Employee of the Year
Sam Myers is a paraprofessional at Eagle Glen Elementary School. He has been in this position since 2018.
After a career of more than 20 years in senior Information Technology positions, Sam retired in May 2016. During his career, he worked for Waddell & Reed, IBM, and Sprint. He received multiple quarterly awards and one annual award from Sprint. After retiring, he led and served on multiple mission trips and volunteered with several non-profit organizations before becoming a para.
He has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Missouri Western State College. He has been married 22 years. He and his wife have six children and five grandchildren. In his spare time, Myers enjoys camping, fishing, gold mining, and reading.
He was nominated by Teacher Jennifer Vacca, who wrote: “Mr. Sam does whatever he can do to meet the needs of the students he works with. He understands they each have unique needs and is in communication with the teachers he works with in order to talk through the best way to help them. Mr. Sam has a huge heart for kids and wants each one of them to be successful.”
He was also nominated by a student, Baylee Williams, who wrote: “He deserves the award because he helps me with work that is hard. He is very nice. He helps me when I cannot read a word.”
From Eagle Glen Principal Robin Jones:
"Mr. Myers is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of all students. I’m especially impressed with the unwavering commitment and energy he provides to support students with academic and social emotional needs. He amazes me in the way he seeks opportunities to be helpful; he doesn’t have to be asked. And, sometimes the most difficult situations seem to be the ones Mr. Myers is first to volunteer in lending a helping hand! He truly displays unconditional love and kindness to everyone. To hear him speak of his students will melt your heart as he describes the awesomeness of each one!”
From the judges
Each finalist for the Support Staff Employee of the Year award had an interview with two judges: Cherie Turney, community member, and Ann Greene, former public relations specialist for the Olathe School District. The judges were impressed with all of the finalists. They said they all have a heart for students and love their jobs. Nearly every finalist described working at Ray-Pec like “a family,” and the judges noted their professionalism and enthusiasm.
In selecting Myers, they said that Ray-Pec is blessed to have him working with our students. They noted his humility and his sincere love of his job and the children.
Teacher of the Year finalists
Congratulations to the finalists for Raymore-Peculiar 2022 Teacher of the Year!
Jenni Beck, Raymore Elementary
Colleen Bennett, Peculiar Elementary
Sarah Hanf, Creekmoor Elementary
Angie LaSala, Raymore Elementary
Erin Lyon, Ray-Pec High School
Haley Mathis, Ray-Pec South Middle School
Rachel McClain, Ray-Pec South Middle School
Jennifer Ramirez, Ray-Pec Academy
Kim Rice, Bridle Ridge Elementary
Jory Williamson, Ray-Pec East Middle School
Shaniece Wise, Timber Creek Elementary
Support Staff Employee of the Year finalists!
Congratulations to the finalists for the Ray-Pec 2022 Support Staff Employee of the Year award!
Diana Boos, custodian, Creekmoor Elementary
Dinah Covey, secretary, Ray-Pec High School
Gigi Duran, child nutrition, Stonegate Elementary
Raymond Fann, maintenance, Buildings and Grounds
Terri Greufe, nurse, Bridle Ridge Elementary
Karla Heinrich, secretary, Raymore Elementary
Pam Horner, paraprofessional, Eagle Glen Elementary
Sam Myers, paraprofessional Eagle Glen Elementary
Kristi Patterson, secretary, Ray-Pec East Middle School
Crystal Sheppard, child nutrition, Stonegate Elementary
Teacher of the Year nominees
Congratulations to these other teachers who were also nominated for Teacher of the Year:
Bridle Ridge Elementary School: Amanda Carver, Heather Cronk, Pam Gonzales, Tiffany Hill, Evelyn Peck, Emily Pfaff, Natalie Shrider, Christina Weaver, and Brandi Welch.
Creekmoor Elementary School: Janet Bader
Eagle Glen Elementary School: Stephanie Barnes, Tara Combes, Dawn Fellhauer, Christal Heier, James Huffman, Bill Koder, Marisa Moylan, April Sanders, and Kelli Yahnig.
Raymore Elementary School: Rebecca Dobson and Theresa Trutzel.
Stonegate Elementary School: Deanna Dawson and Alisa Dutro.
Timber Creek Elementary School: Amanda Wallace.
Shull Early Learning Center: Kelly Moser.
Ray-Pec East Middle School: Zach Brady, Janell Doudrick, Diane Ejjaidali, Lou Garcia, Kohl Garten, Dalana Higgins, Katelyn Mistarka, Cathy Pittman, Jason Rose, Adam Segura, Andria Simon, Laura Streeby, Dan Tuttle, Monica Wyatt.
Ray-Pec South Middle School: Tracy Elliott.
Ray-Pec High School: Alex Berkovich, Amy Cahill, Niki Eve, Patrick Hemmingsen, Cara Hornbeck, Nicole Ingram, Zach Kellner, Kim Kruse, Whitney Mikkelsen, Joe O'Neal, Stephen Rew, Ashley Rowland, Angela Snyder, Jonathan Stacy, Jennifer Talley.
Ray-Pec Academy: Jennifer Ramirez.
District-wide: Jason Waltz, Academic Services Department.
Support Staff Employee of the Year nominees
Congratulations to these other employees who were also nominated for Support Staff Employee of the Year:
Bridle Ridge Elementary School: Mark Newell, custodian; Glenda Whitaker, custodian; and Dr. Missy Mattingly, principal (not eligible for this award).
Eagle Glen Elementary School: Sierra Verni, paraprofessional.
Raymore Elementary School: Konni Noyes, custodian.
Stonegate Elementary School: Stacie Barber, nurse.
Timber Creek Elementary School: Julie Sinclair, paraprofessional.
Ray-Pec East Middle School: Christi Feagins, building substitute.
Ray-Pec South Middle School: Katherine Floyd, secretary; Sandi McCann, nurse; and Wendy Williams, secretary.
Ray-Pec High School: Christa Fish, secretary; Adam Miller, custodian; and Karen Moore, secretary.
Panther Pride Child Care: Jake Rewald.
Sponsors and contributors
Mr. Handyman - John and Allison Bruflat
JE Dunn Construction
Dr. Kristel Barr
Outdoor Solutions - Kurt and Dr. Mary Shatford
Matt Davidson - State Farm Insurance
Karen Blankenship, Realtor
Love to Smile Dentistry
Bob Huston, Presiding Commissioner
Blue Rain Roofing