We are in complete awe of the teachers who were nominated in Alamo City’s Amazing Teacher contest! We asked our readers to nominate teachers who have made an impact in their and their children’s lives. With over 7,000 teachers in one San Antonio school district alone, there are thousands of wonderful educators in the San Antonio community, and we are honored to be featuring some of them today.
We will be introducing you to our finalists through a series of posts throughout the day. We want our readers to help us determine who will receive the title of Alamo City’s Amazing Teacher!
Voting will open Monday, May 4 and continue through Thursday, May 7 at noon. To cast your vote, simply scroll down to the bottom of this post. Our winner will be announced on Friday, May 8.
Without further ado and in alphabetical order (because teachers love order, right?), here is our third group of Amazing Teachers!
North East ISD, Huebner Elementary; Kindergarten
Nominated by Lenzie Davis
Kinder was fast approaching and even as our son, Jaxon’s, cancer spread, he was determined he was going to go to “the big school.” After being told by doctors that he had limited time left with us on earth, you can imagine my hesitance of wanting to share this time or trusting him to be in someone else’s care. The first time we met Sarah Jernigan, I was comforted by how quickly Jaxon warmed up to her and how well she adjusted to our situation. Brain cancer had really impacted Jaxon physically, and I wasn’t sure how the kids would respond to his bald patches, swollen look from steroids, and his wheelchair. Mrs. Jernigan instilled such compassion in the class that the kids immediately accepted Jaxon without hesitation. When my son invited her to a special event at our house during the first week of school, she not only came but made us feel like it was the most important thing on her calendar, even staying late to help clean up. Sympathizing with the fact that my son hadn’t been away from his parents in months, she sent me pictures of him during her break at school to reassure me he was OK. Mrs. Jernigan makes school so fun that the kids don’t even realize they are learning. Her commitment to the kids doesn’t end when the school bell rings. When our son was put on hospice care, she came and visited in the evenings. Mrs. Jernigan shepherded the the other children through the loss of their friend, and she kept Jaxon’s spirit alive in the classroom that year even while he was in Heaven.
To continue Jaxon’s ministry of bringing joy to kids with cancer, we started a non-profit, Jaxon’s F.R.O.G. Foundation. Mrs. Jernigan has donated and volunteered with Jaxon’s F.R.O.G. Foundation on multiple occasions to help other families traveling the road of childhood cancer. She even brought her family to join us at a walk benefitting childhood cancer. She continues to instill compassion in her students by helping them make cards to encourage others, including our daughter’s first birthday without her brother.
Last summer as the countdown for Kinder began for our daughter, we all hoped she’d be in Mrs. Jernigan’s class. Some teachers that have a student pass away find it too difficult to later have the sibling. I’m beyond grateful that Mrs. Jernigan joyfully welcomed our daughter into her class! As homeroom parent, I have spent lots of time in the classroom, and seeing Mrs. Jernigan in action it’s no wonder everyone loves her. Her patience to cheerfully keep that many five- and six-year-olds on task and excelling in their work is a gift, and she takes it to the next level by still finding ways to get some one-on-one moments with kids who are struggling. Sarah Jernigan, for the countless hours you invest in our children in and out of the classroom, THANK YOU![hr]
North East ISD, Redland Oaks Elementary; 3rd Grade
Nominated by Durquia Guille
My son’s teacher, Michelle Loerwald, is passionate about teaching. She believes all students can learn and sets high expectations for her class. She is always willing to give extra help and find ways to make schoolwork fun, interesting, and exciting. She loves all of her students, and she has a special gift for nurturing their individual talents. She has a wonderful classroom environment that is based on mutual respect. She has been teaching for 10 years and has made a difference in the life of every child taught since her first day.
Mrs. Loerwald is an innovative educator because she anticipates her students needs and finds creative ways to teach. This fall she is teaching the inclusion classroom for third grade. The inclusion classroom is a highly energetic classroom with students who need movement throughout the day to help them learn. She always wants to make her classroom better, and she knew that traditional seating would not allow her students the movement they need to stay engaged in the lesson. They tried to move in traditional chairs, which was found to be unsafe for themselves and their peers. On her own, she fundraised through DonorChoose. In less than a week, she raised over $600 to purchase 8 stools for her classroom. The stools allow her students to move without distracting other learners. I believe Mrs. Loerwald closes the gap between traditional and innovative ways of teaching to determine the best method for each student. In addition, because she is a life-long learner, she knows what changes are occurring in the field of education and how to best apply these new changes to her classroom.
Mrs. Loerwald is actively involved in our school community. She serves on our PTA. She has a close connection with her school children’s parents. She works well with everyone. When teachers work together to solve problems and share successes, our students perform much better in the classroom. Mrs. Loerwald drives education to the top because she is always exploring topics with other educators and sharing what they know with us. Mrs. Loerwald knows if you want to go far, go together.
Mrs. Loerwald is a role model to the students she serves and looks for opportunities to show how much she cares by her actions, not just with her words. She stands up for her student’s beliefs. She drives education forward because she focuses on what she can do instead of what she can’t and keeps following her heart and doing her best. Mrs. Loerwald loves her job, and we love her! Her “full speed ahead” attitude impacts all her students every day.[hr]
Oak Hills Church Preschool; Pre-K
Nominated by Katie Fiegel
I’d like to nominate my son’s current teacher. Julie is so sweet, always caring about all her current and past students. She takes the time to remember what each one has going on, asking about how things outside of school are going. She goes out of her way to make sure each child is loved and introduces learning in a way they love so they want to go to school each day. Julie is always so excited to see her students each day, even when we run into her outside of school, stopping to ask about what’s going on or sharing a preview of what they’ll do the next day at school. I think it’s a requirement for all preschool teachers to be fun, but seriously Julie is the best and does so many fun things with the kids. My son has speech one morning a week, so we always arrive about 15 minutes late to school. On one of these days, she delayed the wedding of “Q” and “U” by a few minutes to give us time to get there for it. The wedding wasn’t just a little thing: it was a full-blown, well-decorated ceremony and a reception with cake! Julie and her assistant went out of their way for the students during Fiesta lunch. My son didn’t like the bean and cheese taco, so they made a cheese only one for him instead. It’s the little things like this that make our preschool so special and make me wish I could nominate them all (like our favorite assistant Mrs. Miriam or my son’s teacher from last year, Mrs. Ham), but especially Julie Lynch![hr]
The Acorn; Kindergarten
Nominated by Taylor Henderson
Although I honestly wish I could nominate more than one of my child’s teachers, because they are ALL amazing in different ways, I write today to nominate Mrs. Cindy Metzroth for ACMB’s Amazing Teacher Contest.
Cindy—“Cindy Small,” as the kids call her—teaches Kindergarten at The Acorn, a private preschool and Kindergarten on Broadway, and having her as my daughter’s teacher this year has been both a blessing and a gift. Cindy is one of the most patient, kindest souls I’ve ever met, and she embodies my idea of the perfect teacher for young children: She never raises her voice (it’s impossible for me to even picture her angry or frustrated), welcomes all of the kids’ ideas—no matter how random, recognizes each child’s uniqueness, and offers positive reinforcement and encouragement even when dealing with a total lack of cooperation from stubborn five- and six-year-olds.
She stands out in the rain with a smile on her face loading kids in and out of their cars. She pushes kids on the swing and digs in the sand on the playground. She dances and sings alongside the kids and isn’t afraid to show them that it’s OK to be silly. To help the Kindergartners embrace their beginning writing skills, she came up with the concept of “Brave Writing”—that kids should write based on how words sound to them, without worrying about “correctness,” which takes tremendous courage. She tells our Kindergartners that they are ALL authors; I’ve seen first-hand how much this recognition means to them.
Cindy is the kind of teacher who doesn’t just show up to work; she gives 110% every single day. She doesn’t teach because it’s a job; she teaches because it is her calling. (In fact, when she and her husband, both with education backgrounds, moved to SA from Minnesota, they had intended to retire. I consider it destiny that her path crossed with The Acorn’s and she felt compelled to put her retirement plans on hold for the sake of her passion.) She is nothing if not completely dedicated. She recently missed the birth of her third grandchild just so she could be present for the Kindergartners’ special annual train ride to San Marcos. When she traveled to meet her new grandbaby a few weeks later and had to miss a few days of school, she sent each of the children in her class his/her own postcard, just to let every child know she was thinking about him/her.
Her enthusiasm is infectious, and her passion is evident in everything she does with her Kindergartners. When I have to drop off my little girl at school every morning, I drive away knowing she’s in absolutely the most capable, caring hands, thanks to Cindy Small.[hr]
Stone Oak Therapy Services & Learning Institute; Applied Behavior Analysis Tutor
Nominated by Amy Ferraro-Rodriguez
Alyssa is not a teacher in the traditional sense of the word—she’s an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) tutor for our six-year-old son on the autism spectrum. But just like a Kindergarten teacher, she is responsible for planning lessons, coordinating activities, and engaging children in play and learning opportunities. Alyssa is much more than a teacher or tutor in our eyes; she’s more like a part of our family. She has seen our son grow and has invested hundreds of hours into his academic and social development. She is so much more than a teacher or tutor; she’s a partner. She rejoices in our son’s successes and cries tears of joy with every milestone. When my son has challenges, she investigates to see how she can help. She communicates with us as parents as well as my son’s school teachers. Alyssa isn’t just a tutor; she’s a huge part of our lives. Her love and dedication to her job and our son are invaluable to us.[hr]
Nominated by Juan Morales
Mrs. Ivelisse Morales has made an impact and continues to have an impact on the lives of our children with her commitment and positive attitude through daily life and education. She is a role model for all. She is always caring and real, not only with our children but to everyone around her. She always creates a positive atmosphere and makes children feel important. This is key for engaging them and building the self confidence that they need to face the present and future. I know my kids are motivated to learn and have the self assurance to know that no matter what lies ahead, they are prepared to conquer anything. As a military family, having a caring teacher is comforting and helps make any transition smoother. These are just a few examples of how amazing she is for all us.[hr]
One lucky teacher will be voted to be Alamo City’s Amazing Teacher and will receive a two-night stay and spa package for two at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa!
Built on the historic Rogers-Wiseman Ranch, the rich history of the ranch is honored throughout the property, with pictures and names honoring the family and the ranch’s history located throughout the resort. Charlie’s Long Bar is named after Dr. Charles Wiseman, part of the original Rogers-Wiseman family, while Papa Ed’s Pool Bar & Grill and Vince’s Watering Hole are named for rancher Ed Wiseman and his great-grandson Vince. The trails in the resort once led to a family ranch house, and the driving range was the site of the original homestead.
Alamo City’s Amazing Teacher will also receive a complimentary family photo session with the fabulous Amanda Gentis of ARG Photographs!
Her talent is obvious through her gorgeous photographs, but what you don’t see is how kind, fun, and wonderful the lady behind the camera is. She makes taking pictures a wonderful experience. Amanda’s work is fantastic and she truly captures the beauty in each of her clients, as seen in our Motherhood: More Than Skin Deep series.
Vote for Alamo City’s Amazing Teacher below!