Teacher of the Year Nominees

Teacher of the Year Nominees
Posted on 04/08/2019

Every year in the Akron Public Schools, teachers are honored for their outstanding service to their students and the district with the Teacher of the Year Award. There are 9 high schools, 9 middle schools, and 28 elementary schools in APS with over 2000 teachers. To be chosen from a building is a great honor. Once these teachers are chosen from a building they have an opportunity to apply for a division TOY award.  In this first round of judging, teachers will be interviewed by elementary and secondary administrators who will choose the top four in each division. From these 8 winners, a committee of previous winners chooses district Teacher of the Year.

At Miller South, there have been several teachers who have made it to the APS District finalist level of competition in recent years. There are five current teachers who have also made it to the final level, Marcia Skidmore, Doug Bayda, Karen Hazlett, Malia Tschantz and in addition, Marissa Hughes, who is among the finalists announced for the 2018-2019 school year.

Marcia Skidmore, social studies and ELA teacher, was nominated in 2005 as a district finalist and has been here at Miller South since 2000. She has a BFA and BS in Education from the University of Akron and her MAT from Marygrove University. She is also a Master Teacher in the state of Ohio and has her National Board Certification in Language Arts Middle Child. She led Student Council for 10 years and currently sponsors the Youngstown English Festival along with the WICK Poetry program. She has served in nearly every staff committee here at Miller South over the years, and has been active at the district level on book adoption committees, pacing guides, assessment writing and classroom coaching.

Doug Bayda has a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education from Bowling Green State University and a Master’s of Music in Wind Instrument Performance from the University of Michigan. He has been the orchestra director at Miller South since 2009 and earned his district-wide nomination for TOY in 2013. Bayda is a professional clarinetist and also serves on the conducting staff of the Akron Symphony Orchestra where he has been the director of the Akron Youth Philharmonic since 2012. He has also chaired the 2015 All-State Orchestra and has taken the Miller South String Orchestra to perform at the Ohio Music Education Association Conference in 2011. He has also served on many school-wide committees and recently performed the Reed 1 book for Miller South’s production of The Wind in the Willows, which includes playing the flute, clarinet, tenor sax, and piccolo parts. Go here to see numerous videos of Mr. Bayda’s students’ performances.

Karen Hazlett, another former finalist, nominated in 2014, has her BS in education from the University of Akron for grades 1-8. She began teaching in Akron Public Schools in 1985 and has worked at Miller South for 8 years. She also has written curriculum for Camp Invention and has published four units in the SCESC/Backward Design. She has been a trainer in Training for Multiple Intelligences in Chicago and a presenter at the e-Tech Conference in Columbus on Distance Learning. She is a Jennings Scholar in math and has won numerous grants for her students. Not only has she served on numerous school staff committees, but she has also been active in the Akron Education Association as a building representative when she taught at Seiberling CLC where she was also a TOY.

Another recent winner, Malia Tschantz, has taught Visual Art for 13 years, 11 of those years here at Miller South. She is a graduate of the University of Akron, with a BFA in art education and a Master’s in secondary education with a specialization in art education. She ran track and field for four years at Akron U., and went on to become a cross country coach for 14 years. In 2007, she led Firestone CLC to its first City Series Track and Field championship. She is a co-creator of the 7th/8th grade visual art curriculum that established an 8 semester course to provide students with the opportunity to explore multiple art disciplines within the visual art spectrum. Her students have participated in the Scholastic Art Competition with some receiving high honors, even winning a silver key at the national level for their skill and technique. Tschantz has served on a variety of school-wide committees and has always been instrumental in planning and staging our community open house and the school’s yearbook, until recently.

This year’s nominee from Miller South to the final four secondary TOY for APS, is Marissa Hughes, the band director at Miller South. Hughes is a graduate of APS and attended Miller South and Firestone High School. She has a Bachelor’s of Music Education from the University of Akron and a Master’s of Music Education from the VanderCook College of Music in Chicago. She makes sure her students have valuable performing opportunities and not only directs the band, but also the jazz band. This includes school performances, collaborative concerts, APS festivals, Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) events, and community performances. In addition to directing the bands, she is the founder and adviser of the Tri-M Music Honor Society at Miller South. She has worked with other teachers to integrate music into the academic curriculum as well as technology into her music classes.

Miller South is truly blessed with an outstanding faculty where students will flourish in the academics and the arts! We wish Marissa Hughes the best of luck at this year’s TOY Banquet to be held at Guy’s Party Center on May 9th, 2019. 


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