The Pirates and Pirates Charities teamed up with Chevron and The Grable Foundation to recognize outstanding teachers in our region and give the thanks and acknowledgement that they deserve for their contributions to our community.
Congratulations to the winning teachers!
Check back as new winners will be announced throughout the season.
JOHN KOPP - INTERMEDIATE UNIT 1 EDUCATIONAL CAMPUS AT WAYNESBURG
Mr. Kopp currently serves as the Fab Lab teacher at the Intermediate Unit 1 Educational Campus at Waynesburg. Mr. Kopp is an innovative educator. He is in continual pursuit of professional development to further enhance his teaching skills and provide more learning opportunities for his students. Mr. Kopp connects his Fab Lab lessons to other curricular areas, including mathematics and science, and the real world.
Mr. Kopp affords students learning opportunities they would not otherwise receive. He encourages his students to be independent learners and thinkers. He provides the framework for the lesson, but his students determine the path to reach the learning objectives. Mr. Kopp promotes higher level thinking skills by fostering a growth mindset within students and gives them a voice in the learning process, which promotes student engagement.
KEVIN WILLIS - CARMICHAELS HIGH SCHOOL
Mr. Willis does an outstanding job of preparing students for college level chemistry. Graduates always contact him to say how well prepared they were for their college classes. He also a huge asset to his school's vision of having students career ready. He works directly with the school greenhouse to grow native species. He also works with local schools to expose students to gas and oil training.
Mr. Willis has impacted Carmichaels' Envirothon Team members every year. He uses the competition structure to create students that are not only knowledgeable about environmental issues but also grow skills that will follow them through life. The students are given oral communication and public speaking skills that are outstanding. The skills they obtain from study/prep for the competition will benefit them for life.
While his driving passion is in chemistry and environmental science his true calling is mentoring students. He looks for opportunities within the local communities and university to expose students to all aspects of science. He is a mentor to younger science staff which results in them being involved in a lot of outside of the classroom activity.
MATTHEW CHERAN - PETERS TOWNSHIP MIDDLE SCHOOL
Mr. Cheran is an amazingly unique teacher and displays many different leadership attributes. As a Social Studies teacher, he is extremely worldly and encourages his middle school students to be productive/giving members of society. He organizes events through the food bank, the local library, and surrounding historic sites. He is innovative in how he brings history to life and utilizes technology on a daily basis to motivate and engage students.
When studying World War II with his students, Mr. Cheran brought faces and names, and stories to life for his students. Instead of just teaching about D-Day, Mr. Cheran worked with a local organization to bring three World War II veterans tor our school to share their personal experience.
Mr. Cheran is someone whose legacy will live on long after he retires. It is not uncommon for a former student to either stop by the school or to make contact via phone call/email discussing the impact that he had on their life (whether academically, socially, or emotionally).
KRYSTAL ROBERTS, MANCHESTER PreK-8
Ms. Roberts teaches Manchester's autism support class, and is known for her patience and her supportive attitude with students, some of whom struggle with difficult behavioral problems and learning delays. She works with each student to set up a plan, ensuring the students in her classroom receive personalized learning and most importantly, are happy at school.
She finds ways to encourage students, learning their interests and creating custom lessons and enrichment activities, as well as providing unique recognition such as Student of the Month awards, Pittsburgh Public School art exhibitions, and Outstanding Academic Achievement awards.
Ms. Roberts helps students learn that they can be successful and share their love and caring with others. She is supportive of students and their parents as they find the best ways to learn as individuals in the classroom.
COLLEEN HINRICHSEN, MARS AREA CENTENNIAL SCHOOL
Colleen teaches for 850 students in grades 2-6 in two building locations. In addition to her daily instructional responsibilities, she also offers individualized training for teachers to learn how to effectively integrate technology tools into their classrooms. She is determined to empower girls to be involved in the STEM field, and created a before school club called Project LITE: Ladies Innovating with Technology and Engineering."
Colleen shares the work of her students when presenting in many conferences and workshops with other STEAM integrators in our area and across the nation. There is never a shortage of celebrating the students she is so proud of every day.
Colleen's passion for innovative teaching and learning doesn't stop at 4:00 or in the summer when she gets a "break." No matter where she goes, she becomes a spark for learning that she brings back ideas to incorporate with her students.
KRISTEN TRACY, DONALDSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Mrs. Tracy puts the needs of students, families, and other Donaldson staff before herself. She is a collaborative professional who finds ways to make things happen or to work out problems that a student or family may be experiencing. She is a problem solver, often thinking outside the box to help with students or their families.
Mrs. Tracy often attends evening events or out-of-school-time events to show interest in things students are doing such as participation in Arts Alive or other events such as band and choral programs. Mrs. Tracy coordinates a program that makes certain that any needy family or student has gifts for Christmas and food to have a holiday meal. Mrs. Tracy is conscientious and careful to lift those around her. She is a collaborative problem solver who is a tremendous asset to any staff.
SCOTT DONNELLY, CARNEGIE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
At the root of Mr. Donnelly's teaching philosophy is making 21st century skills the core of his lessons. Skills such as communication, collaboration, and creative problem-solving permeate in real-world connective lessons. Allowing students to fail without punishment is also vital to his philosophy. Mr. Donnelly creates a culture of inclusiveness because his population is composed of students with learning disabilities, students with autism, gifted students, regular ed students, and an exploding population of English language learners from all over the world that are finding refuge in Carnegie. Mr. Donnelly is active outside the school, and has taken it on himself to find opportunities in the local region and even outside the country.
STEVEN LARGE, STEEL VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL
Mr. Large is constantly thinking outside the box for ways to make learning interactive and fun. He uses his knowledge and love for STEM to create opportunities for students to learn how to apply the information they are learning to real-life situations. Mr. Large makes learning fun! From assigning the students projects such as building Leprechaun traps when learning about pulley systems to playing board games with the students to keep them engaged, his classroom is never dull or monotonous. Mr. Large played an integral role in helping Steel Valley Middle School become an Apple Distinguished school. This title showcases that SVMS is on the forefront of teaching technology, science and math and Mr. Large played a great part in making this happen for the district.
RYAN SCOTT, HAMPTON HIGH SCHOOL
In the educational field it is not often that a teacher is willing to open the doors to their classroom wide and allow students, other teachers and the community to enter and witness the intentional work of a technology education center. Everything that Mr. Scott implements in his class is real-world, hands-on and project-based. Students get to experience a wealth of opportunities that they can transfer from the classroom to their everyday lives. He has gone as far as working with individual students to find them apprenticeships and jobs in their area of expertise. Countless students have praised Ryan for his impact on their life.