Foundation Honors Educators
Hamilton Community Foundation Honors Educators
A total of 17 educators were recognized at the 15th annual Harry T. Wilks “Hamilton Celebrates Education” event Thursday, October 19, at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Hamilton.
“Harry T. Wilks left a great legacy of honoring education, and the Hamilton Community Foundation is proud to be carrying on the tradition,” said Betsy Hope, vice president for communications for the Hamilton Community Foundation. “Mr. Wilks passed away in March 2014, but his tremendous generosity toward the community he loved lives on.”
Wilks’ generosity took center stage as all 17 educators being honored received a $1,000 classroom grant.
“It’s a new format this year, and we’re very excited about it,” Hope said. “Each school in Hamilton was invited to choose an Educator of Excellence; an outstanding educator at their school.
“When making their selection,” Hope added, “the schools were asked to consider the daily impact their educator had on students and the community, examples of innovation and going above and beyond the call of duty, and the educator’s overall leadership.”
Each educator also received a piece of custom glass art made by InsideOut Studio.
The 2017 “Hamilton Celebrates Education” Educators of Excellence are:
Rachel Ahonen, Intervention Specialist/Teacher, Bridgeport Elementary
- Sharon Berger, Fifth Grade Math/Science Teacher, Linden Elementary
- Kristie Bunger, Speech and Language Pathologist, Brookwood Elementary
- Mindee Callahan, Student and Family Support Specialist, Ridgeway Elementary
- Elizabeth Carlson, Science Teacher, Hamilton High School
- Sue Ernst, Sixth Grade Language Arts Teacher, Crawford Woods Elementary
- Laura Francisco, First Grade Teacher, Immanuel Lutheran School
- Stephanie Geiger, Eighth Grade Math Teacher, Wilson Middle School
- Heather Hart, Kindergarten Teacher, St. Peter in Chains
- Emily Howard, Art Teacher, Highland Elementary
- Susan Lindsey, Kindergarten Teacher, St. Ann Catholic School
- Joseph Muhlberg, Eighth Grade English Language Arts Teacher, Garfield Middle School
- Allison Perkins, Kindergarten to First Grade Transition Teacher, Riverview Elementary
- Rhonda Shepherd, Intervention Teacher, St. Joseph Consolidated School
- Robin Szary, English Language Arts Teacher/Intermediate Literacy Coach, Fairwood Elementary
- Sara Thompson, English Teacher, Stephen T. Badin High School
- Karlen Topping, Library Media Specialist, Hamilton Freshman School
The event included student musical entertainment by Ryan Madden and Kateri Wielgos of Stephen T. Badin High School, Louyia Anthony of Brookwood Elementary School, and Holli Keillor and Willy Philhower of Hamilton High School.
“This is a great way to continue the legacy of Harry T. Wilks,” Hope said. “His support of teacher recognition and program grants demonstrated his lifelong belief in the value of education and the opportunity to celebrate success in the schools.”
Harry T. Wilks, a local attorney and benefactor, passed away in March 2014 at the age of 89. A 1943 graduate of Hamilton High School, Mr. Wilks was a longtime donor and supporter of charitable causes in the community. Having a lifelong belief in the importance of education, Mr. Wilks established a fund at the Foundation to provide program grants and honor dedicated educators. A tireless supporter of the arts, Mr. Wilks brought international recognition to the community by establishing Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park.