By Megan Kelley
Lake Orion Community Schools often boasts about the outstanding staff in the district and for good reason.
It isn’t often that you find a LOCS student who hasn’t been positively impacted by a teacher they have had in their years in Lake Orion, and district wide M-STEP scores show that Lake Orion teachers care deeply about their students’ successes.
Recently, LOCS recognized their Teachers of the Year at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
Lake Orion High School — Alexa Stone
Alexa Stone was named Lake Orion High School’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. Stone is a Special Education Teacher at the high school.
“One faculty member in particular had a strong campaign of students, staff and parents pushing for this teacher’s nomination,” said Associate Principal Kyle Meteyer in announcing the award. “It was a unified effort recognizing the hard work, advocacy and the empathy that this teacher shows day in and day out.”
Several staff members spoke to a packed KIVA as to why Stone was deserving of this honor.
Teacher Heather Rutledge explained that the support for Stone was largely from students, past students and parents.
“From the moment I walked into Mrs. Stone’s room I felt it was going to be different, maybe it was smile,” said LOHS student Elyse K. “Shortly after, I realized it was more than a smile, it was who she was.”
“In my 12 years of school, I have never had a teacher who has impacted me the way that Mrs. Stone has,” said LOHS student Jacob L. “She has made such an impact on me because I know that she cares.”
Stone gave an emotional thank you to her colleagues for the support they have given her throughout the years.
“I work with so many amazing people. I couldn’t do this job without my department, without my team teachers, without everyone,” Stone said. “There’s not a single day that I go through that I’m on my own. I’m working with dozens of people every single day…all of the love that I feel right now, I just appreciate it so much, thank you.”
Middle School — Stephanie Harris, Oakview Middle School
Oakview Middle School art teacher Stephanie Harris was named the LOCS 2020 Middle School Teacher of the Year.
“Her desire to impact every child allows students to be active and engaged participants in her class,” said Oakview Principal Sarah Manzo. “She models the work the students are doing and gives them a physical representation of project expectations. Every time I’m in there — it’s amazing what Stephanie models for these students.”
Manzo also credits Harris for incorporating “Mindful Fridays” with the students, as well as “Mindful Wednesdays” for the staff. Both of which she has gone around the district and spoke about with other principals about how to bring mindfulness to their schools.
“I feel like this is just a part of who I am and what I do,” Harris said. “This is a bonus. This is great. This is wonderful. But I would do it no matter what.”
Elementary School — Kristen Broth, Carpenter Elementary School
Fourth grade teacher Kristen Broth was named the 2020 Elementary level Teacher of the Year.
“She truly embodies everything that we stand for at Carpenter and Lake Orion as an educator, not as an educator, as a teacher,” said Principal Adam Weldon. “She makes sure that her students know that she is their number one fan and wants nothing more than for them to succeed. She calls her students ‘all-stars’… her classroom neighbors say that she is the closest thing to a real life Disney Princess.”
A shocked Broth addressed her colleagues to thank them for their ongoing support every day.
“I’m just in shock. I’m humbled,” Broth said. “I’m able to do what I do because of who I work with and the kids that I work with and parent support and you know this is just almost a little overwhelming that this is happening…I’m very grateful.”