About the Foundation


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    To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow - Audrey Hepburn

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2016 Leaders for Learning Awards Honor Outstanding Teachers

Some of the area’s very best educators were recognized this week with the Licking County Foundation’s Leaders for Learning Award. Fourteen area teachers were surprised in their classrooms by representatives of the Licking County Foundation who presented them with an art-glass apple symbolizing the knowledge and inspiration they impart to their students and the community’s appreciation for their efforts.

The Leaders for Learning Award was created by the Licking County Foundation in 1993 to honor school teachers who exemplify excellence in their fields. Each year, teachers from every public school district in Licking County are selected by their principals and superintendents for their belief that all students can and want to learn; for their desire to make a significant difference in students’ lives; for their commitment to professional development; and for their outstanding classroom skills and leadership.

Leaders for Learning Award recipients can apply annually for grants of up to $500 to further their professional development or purchase materials for their classrooms. This award is made possible through generous support by the Lindorf-Warner Memorial Fund of the Licking County Foundation.

This year’s Leaders for Learning Award honorees are as follows:

Julie Ulery, C-TEC, Costmetology
Number of Years Teaching: 15

Julie Ulery takes a very active role in student life at C-TEC, serving in a variety of capacities above and beyond her classroom and lab responsibilities, including being an advisor for SkillsUSA, coordinating various fundraising activities for breast cancer awareness, and making community involvement a cornerstone of her program as students work with clients from numerous community organizations. She has great success with her students as she sets very high expectations and takes her role as a teacher quite seriously, though she does her best to keep the learning environment both real and cheerful. As Julie describes her appreciation of teaching, “I have been a successful teacher, because I work hard at it every day…I am excited to never stop learning myself. I love coming to work every day…the students make me laugh and put a smile on my face. What a gift!”

Granville Exempted Village School District
Renee Runyan, Granville High School, Math (Advanced Algebra 2, Geometry)
Number of Years Teaching: 23

Renee Runyon embodies the role of a professional educator. As a mathematics teacher at Granville High School for more than a decade, she has established herself as a nurturing person who cares deeply for her students. At the same time, she has clear curricular goals that she challenges her students to achieve. Renee has shown her adaptabilitly as an educator in her time at GHS, having taught a numbr of various courses. She is a principal’s dream. The Advanced Algebra 2 course is one that she pioneered this year, and she has even gone so far as to collaborate with Denison University faculty to enrich the content of the course. In the spirit of the Leaders for Learning Award, Renee Runyan exemplifies excellence in education. She is a deeply committed individual who challenges each of her students to the same level of excellence.

Heath City Schools
Carolyn Jones, Heath High School, Art
Number Years Teaching: 18

Carolyn Jones is a passionate educator who cares deeply for her students. She has added numerous opportunities for Heath Art students since joining the team at Heath High School. Her drive and passion shine each day.

Johnstown-Monroe Local School District
Hope Link, Oregon Elementary School, 1st Grade
Number Years Teaching: 27

Hope Link has a passion for working with children and cares about each individual learner. Her teaching reflects her belief that all students can learn, and regularly can be seen throughout the day working with various groups of children to extend their learning or to accelerate growth. She has created a nurturing environment with high expectations for learning. She is a participant on the Local Professional Development Committee; assists colleagues by serving as a coach on the Intervention Assistance Team; and supports teachers through her work as a building mentor for the Resident Educator program. Mrs. Link makes a difference in the lives of her students by providing support and enrichment and by demonstrating value and respect for each child. Her dedication to the school, district, and the field of education makes her an outstanding candidate for ths award.

Lakewood Local School District
Jennifer Fowler, Lakewood High School, AP CHEM, Anatomy and Physiology, Bio Techniques
Number of Years Teaching: 13

Jennifer Fowler does an amazing job for the school’s Science learners. Understanding the close relationship between rigor and support in successful learning, she enables students to attain her lofty academic and collaborative expectations, which creates meaningful and engaging experiences for students at Lakewood High School. Jennifer stepped up when the school was without an instructor for our AP Chemistry students, and was in danger of not being able to offer it at all. Ms. Fowler participated in extra professional development in preparation for this challenge, in addition to her annual Physical Science summer courses through Marietta College. The result has been the highest quality programming for our students in recent memory for her courses. Ms. Fowler is the epitome of a Leader for Learning.

Licking County Educational Service Center
Margaret Abbott, Phoenix Central, Elementary (4th and 5th Grades), Team Leader
Number of Years Teaching: 15

Meg Abbott’s classroom management, organization and structure are evident on a daily basis. She has a classroom full of creative and energetic boys, yet her room runs efficiently, like a well-oiled machine. She has implemented many incentives, such as bi-weekly medals and Brownie Points. Meg uses the Good Behavior Game effectively, and her students respond beautifully. She often goes above and beyond, updating the Phoenix Central Facebook page and writing the monthly school newsletter. Meg is an integral part of the team at Phoenix Central.

Licking Heights Local School District
Amy Obhof, Licking Heights High School, Honors World Studies
Number of Years Teaching: 4

Amy Obhof is an excellent teacher who builds great relationships with her students. As a part of the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports program, she strives to help create a safe, respectful and welcoming school atmoshphere and encourage positive student behavior. Her projects with Ohio History Connection and the National Endowment for the Humanities have enabled Amy to expend her impact beyond the walls of her classroom.

Licking Valley Local School District
Jeff Wills, Licking Valley Middle School, 6th and 7th Grade Math
Number of Years Teaching: 34

Jeff has served the children of Licking Valley Middle School for over 30 years. Throughout this time, Jeff has been an extraordinary student-focused teacher who has always gone above and beyond in tailoring his instruction to meet the individual needs of each and every student. He has changed his practice throughout the years not because he was ineffective, but because he discovered a new way or a new tool to reach our students. Jeff Wills is the embodiment of our vision statement of “Every Adult Helping Every Child Learn and Grow Every Day”.

Newark City Schools
Laura Sluss, Administrative Service Center, Mentor Teacher
Number of Years Teaching: 11

Laura Sluss’s colleagues comment on how professional and conscientious Laura is in all that she does. “She is out of this world!” and “she is off the charts” best describes Laura and her passion for teaching and learning. Early in Laura’s teaching career, she became a Nationally Board Certified Teacher which is quite an honor that requires diligence, hard work, dedication and passion. As a mentor teacher, Laura works with our 1st through 4th year beginning teachers to help them as they begin their teaching careers. Laura is thoughtful in dealing with staff and works to build positive relationships with all of the staff members she works with.

Newark City Schools
Kathy Stoll, Liberty Middle School, 6th Grade Language Arts Teacher
Number of Years Teaching: 26

Kathy Stoll works to build personal relationships with each student who comes into her classroom. Mrs. Stoll works with a variety of students each day, holds high expectations for each of them, and challenges students with the differentiated lessons and activities she provides for them. She works to meet the academic needs and ability levels of her students and makes everyone in the classroom feel comfortable. Mrs. Stoll is a role model for her colleagues. She is flexible and is willing to do whatever she can to benefit the students and staff at Liberty Middle School.

Newark City Schools
Baron Smith, Newark High School, Social Studies
Number of Years Teaching: 5

Baron Smith is a graduate of Newark High School. He takes great pride in being a WILDCAT and shares his enthusiasm for teaching and learning with his students. Mr. Smith uses hands on activities in class that promote student learning. Mr. Smith fosters collaboration among his students and colleagues. He works with his students to build positive relatonships and holds high expectations for each student to be successful. Mr. Smith gives back to the Newark community in a variety of ways through service projects, such as organizing student athletes to clean up (mulching, raking, picking up trash) different areas of our community.

North Fork Local School District
Bobbi Maleszewski, Utica Elementary School, 5th Grade ELA and Social Studies
Number of Years Teaching: 15

Bobbi Maleszewski is loved by students, staff and parents. She is dedicated to her profession and the students. She is a true professional in every sense. She is continually striving to sharpen her skills, while planning and creating fun, interesting and educational lessons that keep students engaged and excited about learning. She is strict, firm and loving. She works with parents and students to develop students’ academic knowledge and their character. She is an example and role model for all students in the building. She is a reliable colleague and a leader in the building. North Fork Local schools is blessed to have such an inspiring leader and teacher in the district.

Northridge Local School District
Rebecca Stainbrook, Northridge Intermediate School, 5th Grade Social Studies
Number of Years Teaching: 16

Becky Stainbrook demonstrates an ever increasing passion for her content and is continuously striving to make her classroom an inclusive and engaging environment for her students. She seeks to find ways to support all learners and has also designed multiple behavioral systems to assist students. She talks individually to students about their choices, how to make better choices and helps students take ownership for their behavior. She respects her students and in turn they respect her. In the classroom, Mrs. Stainbrook uses many real-life examples while finding a variety of ways to reach students. Watching Mrs. Stainbrook interact with her students, you can tell she truly cares for each of them and wants to help them succeed.

Southwest Licking Local School District
Dean Bulmer, Watkins Middle School, 6th Grade Science
Number of Years Teaching: 25

Dean Bulmer has been an excellent example of exceptional teaching for many years. His lessons are designed to actively engage all students, and his questioning techniques challenge all students to think critically about the science content he is teaching. He prepares materials and chooses instructional strategies that enable him to connect to his students and help them relate to the content. Students participate in experiments and other labs enabling them to not just hear Mr. Bulmer talk about science concepts, but also experience those concepts for themselves. Mr. Bulmer demonstrates daily the skills and qualities needed to help all students reach their highest potential.

About the Lindorf-Warner Memorial Fund
The Lindorf-Warner Memorial Fund was established in 1966 by John and Christine Warner, and is the Licking County Foundation’s first permanent fund. It supports the Leaders for Learning Award recognition and grant program—which has changed the lives of the 322 teachers who have been honored for their excellence and received $100,000 in grants to support their classrooms or professional development. John died in 2002 and Chris died in 2010, but this important program will go on into perpetuity because of their love for this community and education, in particular. Partnerships with donors like the Warner family make it possible for the Licking County Foundation to continue changing the lives of many in the community we love.

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