Monday , 15 October 2018

Veteran Avon Educator Earns Hall of Fame Honors

‘Never let the candlelight of a child’s soul go out.’

Veteran educator and Avon Heritage Elementary School reading specialist,  Mary Lou Gamellia, was recently enshrined into the 2017-18 Ohio Educator Hall of Fame from the Ohio Council of the International Reading Association (OCIRA). Only two educators in the state of Ohio are enshrined each year. The Ohio Council of the International Reading Association supports and promotes literacy to help all Ohioans reach their full potential and develop a life-long love of reading. She is a member of the Westshore Council of the International Reading Association.

Gamellia worked in the Avon Local School District for 20 years (special education teacher – 15 years) and has served as a reading specialist since 2005.  For the past five years, Gamellia was placed in the Title 1 role as not only a resource for students, but as a literacy expert for teachers. In this role, she has served almost 60 students per year that are below their grade level in reading. The district also uses her skills to provide summer intervention for third-grade students who still need to pass the third-grade state assessment to avoid retention.  Gamellia has also served on the district’s endowment chair for several years.

Westshore IRA (Westshore Council of the International Reading Association) supports and promotes literacy to help all Ohioans reach their full potential and develop a life-long love of reading.

“I share this with every student I have ever worked with,” said Gamellia. “I love it when my students go on to be successful adults. My students have touched my life. One of my quotes is, ‘Never let the candlelight of a child’s soul go out.’”

Gamellia was nominated by Moira Erwine, Director of Professional Development and Curriculum & Instruction at the Educational Service Center of Lorain County and fellow  Westshore IRA member.

“Mary Lou came from the business world into education with a passion to help students who were struggling learners,” wrote Erwine in her nomination letter.

Avon Facts on Gamellia from Erwine’s nomination form

Gamellia worked in Avon Local School District for 20 years (special education teacher – 15 years) and has served as a reading specialist since 2005.  For the past five years, Gamellia was placed in the Title 1 role as not only a resource for students but as a literacy expert for teachers. In this role, she has served almost 60 students per year that are below their grade level in reading. The district also uses her skills to provide summer intervention for third-grade students who still need to pass the third-grade state assessment to avoid retention.  Gamellia has also served on the district’s endowment chair for several years.

  • 2000-2001- Member of the Lorain County Literacy Team

  • 2001- Became a Certified Wilson Reading Instructor

  • 2001- Became a Certified Senior Irlen Screener

  • 2002- Recipient of the State Teacher of the Year Award by OCTELA –(Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts) I was the first elementary special education teacher in the state to receive this award

  • 2003-2004- Organized, designed, and facilitated a “Young Authors” Conference at Heritage North Elementary School for 25 school districts

  • 2006- Selected to represent the State of Ohio as a Reading Specialist Delegate to the International Education Symposium in Beijing, China.  November 9th – November 21st

  • 2009- Completed the Wilson Program Advanced Strategies for MSL Instruction

  • 2011-  Completed Level 2 Wilson Fundations Workshop

  • 2012 – Completed Just Words Workshop

  • 2013- Completed Level 3 Wilson Fundations Workshop

State Level and Local Council Facts

Gamellia held the OCIRA Treasurer role from 2005-2008 and serves as the Field Rep since 2005 for Westshore Council IRA.  Notably, Gamellia was the first elementary special ed teacher to receive the State Teacher of the Year Award by OCTELA-(Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts  She planned and orchestrated one of the last Westshore Council IRA Young Author’s Conference at Heritage North Elementary School involving 25 school districts in the 2003-2004 school year. Gamellia has served Westshore Council for 23 years and has held Board, President, Vice President and Treasurer roles for Westshore Council IRA and presently serves as our Treasurer.

  •  2001- Presented at NESTELA workshop (North Erie Shores Teachers of English Language Arts)

  • Represented the State of Ohio as a Reading Specialist Delegate for the International Education Symposium in Beijing, China November 9- 21, 2006

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