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Gala honors teachers for excellence (video)


Ten CMSD teachers were recognized Nov. 10 for something they do every day -- teaching students in a way that that sets an example for their peers and makes a difference in the lives of students.

The teachers, winners of the first Excellence in Teaching Awards, were honored that night during an invitation-only gala at the Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown. 

CMSD, the Cleveland Teachers Union and the Cleveland and George Gund foundations jointly launched the program to reward teachers who demonstrate instructional expertise, creativity and innovation, make learning engaging, vibrant and relevant and set a standard for excellence. The goal is to showcase and spread exemplary teaching practices.

“While we have celebrated many gains under The Cleveland Plan, this partnership enables us to recognize and celebrate the most important factor in student success — excellent teaching,” District Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon said.

Cleveland Teachers Union President David Quolke said: “We have so many hardworking and dedicated teachers in CMSD. It is wonderful to have this opportunity to recognize, congratulate, share and celebrate these teachers and their impact on the kids of Cleveland.”

The winners include:

• Dora Bechtel, second and third grade, Campus International
• Stephanie Chiariello, 10th-grade social studies, John Marshall School of Civic and Business Leadership
• Molly Gus, sixth- to eighth-grade English language arts, Scranton
• Laura Masloski, preschool, Nathan Hale
• Holly Morell, third grade, Joseph M. Gallagher
• Christine Richard, 10th- and 11th-grade social studies, New Tech East High School
• Christine Sims, 11th-grade English, Cleveland School of Science and Medicine
• Spencer Small, 10th-grade computer science, John Marshall School of Information Technology
• Bonnie Whitmer, kindergarten special education, Robinson G. Jones
• Stephanie Wojtowicz, fourth- and fifth-grade math and science, Mary B. Martin

The video that accompanies this story shows the teachers in the classroom and reflecting on their jobs.
The teachers each received $5,000. They will share their practices through various means, such as posting lessons online, allowing peers to observe them and conducting workshops.

Learn more about the awards and the winners at