On Saturday, RePublic hosted our first Teacher Awards Night in the newly constructed Thomas H. Cato Computer Science Center at RePublic High School. The event celebrated staff and supporters alike for momentous accomplishments in the first quarter of the school year.
The evening opened with words from RePublic CEO Ravi Gupta: "The work you do every single day," he said to a crowd of teachers, staff, families, and community members from across the network (including the Mississippi team, who joined remotely via video conference), "is changing the lives of students who need it most, in the part of the country where this work is most critical."
After a performance from RePublic High School's Advanced Choir, RePublic Chief Academic Officer Kevin Heffel announced the nominations and winners for each of the seven school-based awards.
Kate Ankumah, Dean of Student Supports at Nashville Prep, was awarded the Mission Driven Award, presented to the educator in the network who goes above and beyond to ensure their students are set up for success. This teacher consistently calls parents, rehearses lessons, holds students to high expectations, and epitomizes the values of RePublic Schools.
Kira Walmer, 5th Grade Literacy Teacher & Grade Level Team Leader at Nashville Prep was awarded the Leading Through Literacy Award, given to the teacher in the network who shows fanatical persistence in working to elevate student Lexile levels and reading comprehension. This passion is exemplified through hallway conversations, extra student conferences, parent phone calls, and other forms of student motivation.
Becca Shmoys, 6th Grade Math Teacher at NACS won the Continuous Improvement Award, which was presented to the teacher in the network who has demonstrated exceptional growth in instruction and content. This teacher continually seeks feedback and constantly strives to improve their practice, showing exceptional ownership over his or her development.
Ryan York, the Principal of NACS, spoke on Becca's drive, tenacity, and humility:
"At the start of the year, Becca quickly agreed to step up and take on an extra double block of teaching when her school needed it. She did not use this as an excuse to plan, prepare, or reflect less on her practice - rather, Shmoys took it upon herself to use this as an opportunity to get more 'at-bats' with delivery of rigorous material. Often the first in and last out of the building, Shmoys has not only committed to developing in the areas that are apparent to her, but she eagerly invites anyone and everyone into her room to illuminate her blind spots. She views every day as an experiment, as an opportunity to make another tweak, take risks, and then grow from what she learns."
Alex Ball, Assistant Principal at Liberty Collegiate Academy, was awarded the Student Culture Award, presented to the Dean of Students or Dean of Culture in the network who has consistently improved student culture both within their own building and across the network. Ms. Ball is always thinking creatively about student and parent engagement, building systems to ensure learning time is maximized, and continuously making school an exciting place to be.
Michael Blauw, 9th Grade Literacy Teacher at RePublic High School was presented the Student Growth Award, given to the teacher in the network whose students showed the most growth from the first Unit Assessment of Quarter 1 to the last Unit Assessment of Quarter 1.
The Student Achievement Awards were presented to the teacher(s) in the network whose students demonstrated the highest achievement in Common Core and non-Common Core subjects in Quarter 1. Lindsey Morgan, 7th Grade Math Teacher at Liberty Collegiate was presented the award for her work in a Common Core subject, and Blair Bingham & Lynzie Jackson were named winners for their work in 5th Grade Computer Science at Reimagine Prep.
Finally, the Operations Trailblazer Award was presented to Amber Green, Director of Operations at Liberty Collegiate. The award honored the operations associate/director in the network who demonstrates exceptional leadership. Ms. Green is consistently refining systems, assisting other operators, and problem-solving around any operations-related obstacles in her school and across the network.
In addition to school-based awards, three awards were presented to CMO, family, and community leaders.
Ryan York, Chief Information Officer and Principal of NACS, was presented the CMO Leader Award, given to a CMO staff member who goes above and beyond to ensure that our schools are delivering on our promise to kids and families. An extremely competitive award chosen by the awardee’s peers, Mr. York exemplifies what it means to create and drive towards a vision of excellence, and is constantly brainstorming ways to make our schools more effective.
The Parent All-Star Award was presented to a parent who is an activist for our schools and our students - and who is always willing to volunteer on any project, big or small. Sheri Patterson, a founding Nashville Prep parent and now a proud parent of scholars at both RePublic High School and Liberty Collegiate Academy, claimed the award for her dedication and commitment to advocating for a high-quality education - not just for her kids, and not even just for RePublic scholars - but for all kids in Nashville.
Liz Friedland, RePublic's Chief of Staff, spoke to Sheri's impact: "You are never afraid to take risks, and to use your voice to stand up for the voiceless, in places where their interests are least likely to be heard. You are a constant inspiration and reminder to all of us that we should be fearless in fighting for educational equity. We are so lucky to have the privilege of doing this work alongside you."
Last, but certainly not least, Ravi presented the Community Advocate Award to Ron Corbin, who served as a founding Board Member for Nashville Prep before transitioning to serve on RePublic's Board of Directors. The award was given to an outside advocate who is a champion for RePublic - a person who defines what it means to have our back. On Ron's leadership, Ravi said:
"Ron is a person who has overcome all sorts of adversity in his ascent as a leader. He is a veteran, who rose through the ranks of corporate America at a time when there was even more discrimination than there is now - and he did this in the South. He has become a prominent civic figure in Nashville, and his reach extends far beyond this city. When we go to Jackson, there are people all over the place who know and owe a lot to Ron Corbin. He has a strong reputation that he has put on the line, and which he has not been afraid to deploy in the service of our kids. Ron is the opposite of a Sunshine Patriot. When things get hard, he is particularly dedicated to putting himself out there to advocate on the behalf of our schools, and it is in the most difficult moments that he is the most readily apparent."
We were thrilled to be able to honor our teammates and family in this work, and we look forward to the many more celebrations to come in months ahead.