Westlake Schools: Staff Excellence Awards

Two Westlake Schools’ staff members were honored by their peers with staff excellence awards at the Nov. 27 Board of Education meeting.

The Excellence in Teaching award went to LaVonne Szafranski, a sixth-grade science teacher at Dover Intermediate School. The Excellence in Classified Service awards went to Judi Spitzer, a teacher assistant at Dover Elementary School.

Szafranski is described by her colleagues as a dedicated educator who always goes above and beyond for her students and teammates. She meets challenges or change with determination and the desire to be the best. She builds relationships with her students and is always communicating with families.

“I have always admired her ability to communicate and get along with others,” one colleague wrote in her recommendation. “She is enthusiastic about her job – the kind of teacher that is thinking about students and grading papers/planning lessons at home. She is a colleague that demonstrates what educating for excellence looks like.”

Spitzer is credited with contributing professional to Dover, but also creates a welcoming environment through her caring demeanor and actions.

“Judi is kind, empathetic, responsible and hard working,” a coworker wrote in her nomination. “She takes an interest in our students and what’s going on in their lives.

Spitzer noted that Szafranski taught both of her boys and remains one of their favorite teachers. Years later, Spitzer was hired as an aide and worked with Szafranski at the former Parkside Intermediate School.

Award winners will have their names inscribed on a plaque to be permanently displayed at the Administration Building.

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