SIDNEY — Three Shelby County teachers have been named the inaugural Excellence in Education award-winners.
Sara Olding, an English teacher at Sidney High School, Ernestine Daugherty, a first-grade teacher at Fort Loramie Elementary School, and Alanna Lotz, a fourth- and fifth-grade math teacher at Jackson Center Elementary School, were surprised, Friday, April 27, with the news.
The program, designed to honor and recognize three teachers of Shelby County students, is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Sidney in partnership with the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center. The winners were announced during school assemblies at Jackson Center and Fort Loramie schools, while a classroom ceremony took place at Sidney High School.
According to award founder Thomas Clark, there were 26 nominations, and they came from all public school systems in Shelby County, Lehman Catholic High School, Christian Academy Schools and Upper Valley Career Center. Students, parents, fellow teachers, administrators, colleagues and community members were eligible to make nominations for the awards. Nominees had to be state-certified teachers and lead pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade classes. Spouses and children of current Rotary Club officers, board members or members of the award committee were not eligible for consideration.
Olding was surprised in her classroom by her husband, mom, dad, sister and niece and was presented with a spring bouquet by nominator Marissa Clark.
“Sara Olding works in innovative and creative ways to support high-quality teaching and learning by always finding ways to help students learn in ways they find most interesting. This allows them to interact with one another and think outside of the box,” Clark, a former Olding student, wrote in her nomination letter.
Daugherty was stunned upon entering the gym to a standing ovation from the entire student body. She will be completing her 51st year of teaching this month. She was nominated by Fort Loramie Superintendent Dan Holland, who wrote, “Her ability to truly love her students as if they were one of her own is humbling. If you were to spend one minute with her in the classroom, you would instantly know that she was made to teach.”
Lotz was surprised by her family and greeted with a banner of congratulations from her colleagues. The Jackson Center administration provided a celebration cake for all students and staff.
“She possesses the skills, aptitude, and passion to transform an ordinary math classroom into a dynamic and relevant environment where math is fun and the opportunities to learn are limitless,” said teacher’s aide Susan Elmore in nominating Lotz.
These three professionals were selected through a two-part screening system. The initial step included a review of all 26 applications by a panel of Rotarians, retired educators, and MRESC employees. Six were selected to be interviewed by three judges from Logan County. The three winners will be honored again at the annual Service above Self Rotary meeting, May 14.