Upper Arlington City Schools News Article

Staff members honored for excellence and service to UA Schools

Upper Arlington Schools kicked off the school year with a ceremony welcoming and celebrating staff members that kept students at the heart of it all. The Upper Arlington High School Marching Band performed selections from the fall season, and special guest vocalist Allie G., a senior at Upper Arlington High School, surprised staff with a performance of Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked.

More than 50 staff members were called on stage as they celebrated milestones in their careers with the Upper Arlington Schools through years of service awards and special recognitions.

The five recipients of classified and support staff awards posing for a photo on stage with three administrators and gold banners in the background

Receiving district-level employee of the year awards were:

  • District Teacher of the Year: Katie O’Keefe, school counselor, Windermere Elementary School

  • Classified Employees of the Year: Lori Johnson, Transportation; Scot Hunter, Operations; Denise Mora, Nutritional Services; and Pam Thompson, Secretarial/Bookkeeping Division 

  • Support Staff Employee of the Year: Jennifer Barron, educational aide, Tremont Elementary School

  • Dr. Homer Mincy Administrator of the Year: M. Denise Lutz, Chief Excellence and Engagement Officer

All of the teacher of the year recipients posing on stage with three administrators with gold banners in the background and an American flag off to the left side of the photo

Receiving building-level teacher of the year awards were:

  • Nicolette Tangi, speech language pathologist, Barrington Elementary School

  • Lily Blackburn, preschool teacher, Burbank Early Childhood School

  • Jana Holland, art, Greensview Elementary School

  • Jenny Hamilton, speech language pathologist, Tremont Elementary School

  • Abby Blake, grade 1, Wickliffe Progressive Elementary School

  • Paul Crabtree, 6th grade social studies, Hastings Middle School

  • Lindsay Michalkiewicz, intervention specialist, Jones Middle School

  • Diane Kahle, computer science, Upper Arlington High School

The three recipients of the Joanie Dugger Educator of the Year Awards posing for a photo with administrators and representatives from the Upper Arlington Education Foundation

In its third year, the Joanie Dugger Educators of the Year Fund through the Upper Arlington Education Foundation honors three educators - one from each level - who receive funding for projects of their choice. The fund was created in loving memory of Joanie Dugger, who retired as executive director of the Upper Arlington Education Foundation in 2018 after 17 years of dedication to “Enhancing What Matters Most.”  The 2023 Joanie Dugger Educators of the Year recipients are: Nicolette Tangi, Barrington Elementary School; Paul Crabtree, Hastings Middle School; and Diane Kahle, Upper Arlington High School. 

The four recipients of the Nancy Losekamp awards posing for a photo with two school representatives

The Nancy Losekamp Career Development Leadership Award is also awarded to three teachers each year - one from each level - in recognition of their work to engage students in service learning. This year’s recipients are: Nicole Staker and Lydia Shivers, grade 4, Barrington Elementary School; Janice Daubenmier, grade 6, Hastings Middle School; and Dana Schoenleb, industrial technology, Upper Arlington High School. 

A large group of staff members celebrating 20 years of service with the Upper Arlington Schools posing for a photo on stage with an American flag to the left and gold banners in the background

Additionally, 31 staff members were recognized for 20 years of service to Upper Arlington Schools; one staff member, Upper Arlington High School teacher Michael Donelson, was honored for 30 years of service to the district; and Burbank Early Childhood School health aide Betty Giammar was honored for 40 years of service.

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