Excellence in Education is a partnership between Rio Salado College and KEZ 99.9 FM, which recognizes Valley teachers. Students and parents of students are encouraged to nominate K-12 teachers who are excellent at their profession and have gone above-and-beyond the call of duty to make a difference in their community.
Each month, a Valley K-12 teacher will be selected from all the entries to be recognized for their outstanding contribution to education. KEZ's Marty Manning will visit the teacher's school to surprise them with their "Excellence in Education" Award. The surprise visit will be broadcast during the Beth and Friends Show. All winning teachers are rewarded with $99, an Excellence in Education Award, and a Rio Salado College gift bag.
To nominate a special teacher, please visit KEZ 99.9 keyword excellence.
Shari Anton - February 2012
Congratulations to Shari Anton, world history teacher at Shadow Mountain High School for receiving February’s Excellence in Education Award! She was nominated by student Bryce Hustad who said that she is the teacher that you will always remember and has high expectations of her students.
“She takes a personal interest in my success and builds my confidence,” Hustad said. “She makes learning a wonderful and entertaining experience for all of us. At the end of the day I know she cares about me and how well I do, and knows if I am successful so is she.”
Laurie White - December 2011
Congratulations to Laurie White of Xavier College Prep in Phoenix, for receiving December's Excellence in Education Award. Former student, Michelle Cantelme, nominated Mrs. White because of her dedication to each individual student.
"Mrs. White is a teacher who truly makes a difference with her students. She wants all of her students to be successful. You can always count on her to be there from the beginning to the end," said Cantelme.
Leslie Buffkin - Nov 2011
Congratulations to Leslie Buffkin of Porter Elementary School in Mesa for earning November's Excellence in Education Award. Parent Angela Krc nominated Buffkin after recognizing her dedication to helping each individual student. "I have never seen a teacher more devoted to each student's success than Leslie. She takes every child's education and progress personally and is an example that all education professionals should follow."
Gwen Struble- Oct 2011
Gwen Struble I am nominating Gwen Struble because of her tremendous gifts & abilities as a teacher. The students in her class learn what it means to care for others with special needs as they spend one morning a week for about an hour in the special needs room interacting with the kids. Her passion is in children\'s literacy. She exposes these little children to some magical books (all with a deep meaning and many life connections) and turns them into lifelong readers & critical thinkers. Every year her classroom has a theme. When my daughter was in her class, the theme was HOPE.
Dan Phan - Sep 2011
Mr. Phan is truly passionate about mathematics. From the first moment we met him at open house 4 years ago, WE became excited about math! He teaches with such a zeal that he inspires his students to do their best and strive to learn more. As the coach for Academic Decathlon, he continues to inspire and to motivate his students to constantly improve their skills. He has taught 2 of my children who are Sophmore\'s at Barrett the Honor\'s College at ASU. Both joined Academic Decathlon because of Mr. Phan and my son was so inspired by Mr. Phan that he chose to major in Math at ASU. He is now a TA for 2 Calculus classes at ASU. My daughter was also inspired by Mr. Phan and, combined with her love for science and math, is now majoring in Chemical Engineering at ASU. We are proud to have had Mr. Phan teach our children and know that their lives were profoundly impacted by him.
2010 - 2011 Excellence in Education Winners
Jeremy Rose - May 2011
Jeremy Rose, of Melvin E. Sine Elementary, was named May's Excellence in Education Award winner during a surprise visit from Rio Salado College and KEZ.
Rose was nominated by Blanca Fuentes-mesquita who said "Mr. Rose has instilled good educational values in students and respect for others. Mr. Rose has a portion of gifted students in his class and treats all the children the same, regardless of race, economic, and education background."
Katie Gerrich - April 2011
Katie Gerrich, of McClintock High School, was named April's Excellence in Education Award winner during a surprise visit from Rio Salado College and KEZ. Gerrich was nominated by Brian Garcia who said "Mrs. Gerrich is an excellent teacher who is viewed as a role model by her students.
Not only does she bring success to those around her during the school day but she also advances them at an extracurricular level."
Tammy Wilkening - March 2011
Tammy Wilkening, of Cochise Elementary School, was named March's Excellence in Education Award winner during a surprise visit from Rio Salado College and KEZ.
Wilkening was nominated by John Fahey who said "The sign of a great teacher is one who can engage the students at this young age and get them to enjoy learning."
Arlen Sykes - February 2011
Arlen Sykes, of Kyrene De La Colina, was named February's Excellence in Education Award winner during a surprise visit from Rio Salado College and KEZ.
Sykes was nominated by Teresa Rogan who said "His teaching style sets a standard in the classroom for personal responsibility and appreciation for each
Jeremy Dittrich - January 2011
Jeremy Dittrich, of Centennial Middle School, was named January's Excellence in Education Award winner during a surprise visit from Rio Salado College and KEZ.
Dittrich was nominated by Laurie Jake who said "Jeremy is an exciting teacher; his enthusiasm for physical education is inspiring. Jeremy adds a new dimension to physical education, going far and above the standard PE classes at other schools."
Carolyn Cain - December 2011
Carolyn Cain, of Harris Elementary, was named December's Excellence in Education Award winner during a surprise visit from Rio Salado College and KEZ.
Cain was nominated by January Austin who said "Mrs. Cain is a great teacher; she is one of those teachers that truly cares about her students and wants to see them succeed."
Carole Cardenas – November 2011
Carole Cardenas, of Career Success High School, was named November's Excellence in Education Award winner during a surprise visit from Rio Salado College and KEZ.
Cardenas was nominated by student Sandra Guevara-Terraza who said "Mrs. Cardenas is a teacher who makes a huge impact on the lives of her students."
Angela Scafaru – October 2011
Angela Scafaru of St. Matthews Catholic School in Phoenix was named October's Excellence in Education winner during a surprise visit from Rio Salado College and KEZ 99.9.
Scafaru was nominated by parent Frank Ramirez.
Peggy Shupp– September 2011
Peggy Shupp of Desert Garden Montessori School in Phoenix was named September's Excellence in Education winner during a surprise visit from Rio Salado College and KEZ 99.9.
Shupp was nominated by Richard Campbell, who is the parent of student Jonathon Campbell.