The following excerpts are from the nominations submitted to the Lindback Foundation for the winning Philadelphia School District high school teachers. These teachers will be honored Tuesday at the Prince Theater.
Science Leadership Academy
A special education teacher for 15 years, Ames believes that project-based learning is uniquely suited to meet the needs of all students.
Philadelphia Military Academy
Benditt, a social studies teacher and athletic director, is passionate about working with students in urban schools. He has taught for 11 years.
Overbrook High School
Birchett's work as a juvenile case manager inspired her to become an educator; she has been a special-education teacher since 2003. She believes in lifelong learning and feels all students deserve the opportunity to reach their highest potential.
Saul High School of Agricultural Science
Blum, who has worked at Saul for 12 years, teaches greenhouse management and floriculture. She works as a teacher mentor and helps students build the school's annual exhibit at the Philadelphia Flower Show.
Parkway Center City High School
Buxbaum, who has taught for six years, is one of the most ambitious members of Parkway Center City's school community. This year, he's produced and directed three student-written plays, managed a student-run library, and hosted a book club while juggling a full roster of English and drama classes.
Edison High School
Chicano has taught math for 11 years, three of them at Edison. Seeing students succeed despite their struggles outside the classroom motivates him.
Colvin has devoted her career to the improvement of urban schools. She has taught special education in a variety of settings, creating an environment of high expectations, individualized supports, and positive relationships.
Benjamin Franklin High School
Conlan is a team player who puts his students first. When Vaux High School closed, he followed his pupils to Ben Franklin, where as a history teacher he works to provide his students with meaningful experiences.
Swenson Arts and Technology High School
Cushner has shared his love of science with Philadelphia middle and high school students for 22 years. He is a member of Swenson's leadership team.
South Philadelphia High School
DeAngelo, a career and technical education teacher who leads Southern's Future Business Leaders of America chapter, relishes providing students with internship and summer residency opportunities. She set her sights on a career in education at a young age, and loves watching her students master high-tech skills and grow as people.
Philadelphia High School for Girls
DiTanna, who has taught English to adults in the Middle East and worked for the district since 1997, is committed to personal growth and the development of students and colleagues. At Girls High, she has served as English teacher, disciplinarian, department chair, class sponsor, and other roles.
Central High School
Dragomir, a math teacher, has taught for 23 years, 10 of them in the district and five at Central. Dragomir was a second-place finisher in the National Math Olympiad of Romania.
Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush
Feldman is a city native and product of district schools. He was inspired to become an English teacher after having "amazing, mind-expanding" English teachers himself.
High School for Creative and Performing Arts
Goebig has taught in the district since 1986; since 2003, she has been a theater teacher at CAPA. Long after the final bell rings - and often on weekends - she can be found working with students on scenes, painting sets, and creating costumes.
Penn Treaty High School
Hamilton is roster chair and teaches in the school's AVID program for college readiness. He has a tremendous passion for teaching and prides himself on being fully involved with students' education from the first day they enter Penn Treaty until the day they graduate.
Philadelphia Learning Academy-South
Hendrick-Emore, a 20 year veteran of the district, serves as special education liaison and learning support teacher. She works with students, staff, and families to meet young people's diverse needs.
Hill-Freedman World Academy
Ilgenfritz has distinguished himself early in his education career, which spans a year and a half. At Hill-Freedman, he teaches history, coaches JV girls' basketball, leads curriculum development, and manages the school's technology initiative.
Kensington Health Sciences Academy
A graduate of the district, English teacher Iovine began her teaching career at Temple University, but soon realized that she wanted to work with children. She strives to give them what she received as a student: a strong academic foundation and sense of community, as well as support and encouragement in the pursuit of goals.
George Washington High School
James teaches fashion and communications technology classes and is a dean of discipline. She has been teaching at Washington since 2000.
Fels High School
This 13-year math teacher's dedication to her school and students is described as "unmatched." Johnson's lessons demystify equations and enlighten students about the thrills and rewards of solving challenging problems.
Robeson High School
Johnson is a school-based teacher leader and science teacher. She has demonstrated tremendous leadership and taken on multiple responsibilities at Robeson, including testing coordinator, roster chair and class sponsor.
Martin Luther King High School
Johnson, a communication and information technology teacher, prides herself on creating engaging lessons to motivate students to get involved with their community. Under her directions, teens operate a tax-preparation center and work on projects to promote environmental awareness.
Lincoln High School
In her 35-year career, Jordan, a special education math teacher, has spent countless hours providing support for Lincoln students. Her passion is advocating for her students and coworkers.
Northeast High School
Kenney-Quinn, an English teacher, continually finds new ways to challenge her students and encourage them to sharpen their skills. She excels at preparing her students for the rigors of college while modeling professionalism, personal courage, and the power of tenacity and hard work.
Dobbins Technical High School
A master barber for the last 20 years, Kirton has taught barbering at Dobbins for the last 21/2 years. He is a military veteran and a student at Temple University.
Franklin Learning Center
Krakauskas, a history teacher, creates a classroom environment that stimulates curiosity, authenticity, and a search for knowledge. She is the coach of the mock trial team and dean of students.
Academy at Palumbo
Lawson-Thornton wears a number of hats at Palumbo: special education liaison, learning support case manager, class sponsor, student activities coordinator, homeless support sponsor, and assistant dean. She teaches yearbook and philosophy courses.
Lucy, a first-year teacher in Philadelphia, works with freshmen who "surprise me with their brilliance and willingness to tackle challenges, and who make me laugh."
Philadelphia Virtual Academy
Teaching is Lydon's second career. She worked in administration at her local community college, where interactions with staff and students encouraged her to work more directly with children. She is a special-education teacher.
Kensington International Business, Finance and Entrepreneurship High School
Magasich teaches sports marketing management and works tirelessly to secure internships, create hands-on learning experiences, and prepare students for real-world experiences. Community and parent involvement are key to her success.
Widener Memorial School
Malone works with students with a range of physical and cognitive challenges from kindergarten through high school. She assists in implementing various literacy programs, helping students to expand their love of reading and writing.
High School of the Future
Martin, a 32-year science teacher, has always had success connecting with her students, and has been at School of the Future since 2007. She prepares her students for the real world and takes pride in educating the whole child.
Parkway Northwest High School
An English teacher at Parkway Northwest for eight years, May offers advanced classes in AP English and comparative literature, serves as senior adviser, and coordinates the senior project.
Motivation High School
Mayers uses physical education to develop leadership skills, dedication, integrity, confidence, hard work, discipline, and mental toughness. He has been a district teacher for seven years.
Philadelphia Learning Academy-North
After switching careers a few times, McGowan realized her passion was math. She is most fulfilled when she's in the classroom and she strives to bring her love of her subject to every student she encounters.
Strawberry Mansion High School
McGraw, who has taught math and business during her 10-year career, has helped to build a business program, providing her students with internships and entry into certification programs. Her love of math, instructional leadership, and teacher coaching skills have contributed to student success.
Sayre High School
Minor, an autistic support teacher at Sayre, is a role model for students. She teaches summer programs and coaches cheerleading.
Kensington High School for Creative and Performing Arts
For 11 years, Moyers has created a positive school environment where students are held to high academic and behavioral standards. He is math department chair and dean of students, and has led social and environmental stewardship programs.
Frankford High School
Namnun is a masterful teacher and directs Frankford's peer-mentoring program. She has inspired many students to become successful citizens.
Kensington Urban Education Academy
Ndrecka does not accept no for an answer. She works to bring chemistry to life for her students, and challenges them to rise to the high expectations she holds for them.
Julia R. Masterman School
As a shy girl, district music teachers helped Neu find her voice through music; Neu's goal in life is to help each of her students find his or her voice. She serves as music teacher, conductor, and arts department head at Masterman.
Science Leadership Academy @ Beeber
Pilla left the corporate world and a job as an electrical engineer to become a teacher, engaging students in design thinking while showing them how to build their projects. He has led the drive to create a maker space at SLA@Beeber, and is so popular with students that his room is often more crowded at lunchtime than it is during class.
Bodine High School for International Affairs
Pointdexter left careers in law and IT to follow his passion for history. His storytelling and love of African American history create a highly engaging classroom model.
Mastbaum Technical High School
After securing two postdoctoral fellowships in chemistry, Rowe worked in private industry before becoming a teacher. He has taught at Mastbaum for three years.
The Workshop School
Rowe, a former social worker and community organizer, runs a ninth grade advisory at the Workshop School, where she is an English and social studies teacher. She is known for her thoughtful demeanor and commitment to students; their accomplishments are a tribute to her ability to form relationships, challenge teens, and foster student engagement.
Carver High School of Engineering and Science
A 39-year veteran of the district, Rowland has taught at Carver for 23 years. He is a faculty leader, an expert in American history, Advanced Placement U.S. history teacher, and dean of students.
Girard Academy Music Program
Rutland is an important resource at GAMP, providing students with a caring ear, knowledge, and guidance. His experiences as an educator, performer, arranger, and musical director instruct, motivate, and assist students in developing their talents to the fullest.
Parkway West High School
Santore is an English and social studies teacher and class sponsor. He also serves as an instructor in Overbrook High's evening school program.
Lankenau High School
Shander encourages healthy habits among youth as a physical education and health teacher and athletic director. He is dedicated to curriculum, but also is a mentor to students, helping them work through personal issues.
The U School
Stephan, an artist, has worked as an educator for more than three years. She is the founding special educator at the U School.
Roxborough High School
Stevenson garnered multiple awards, including Emmys, for his work as a television producer. He left the TV industry in 2010 to teach cinematography, and calls his current job "the most rewarding assignment I've ever had."
Furness High School
Thomas discovered the joy of teaching after a career working for IBM. She has been a Spanish teacher for 22 years, is respected by staff and students, and was instrumental in establishing Furness' Multicultural Fair, a celebration of the school's diversity.
Constitution High School
Todd, a Spanish teacher, engages his students using food, music, and cultural excursions, and is also an adviser to the mock trial team. He works tirelessly to develop the Spanish curriculum, offering tutoring, online instruction, and AP options.
Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center
Ward is a special-education teacher of 28 years and an advocate for at-risk youth. She joined the Juvenile Justice Services Center School staff four years ago.
Randolph Technical High School
Williams, who teaches welding, has a passion for teaching and a strong work ethic. He builds strong relationships with everyone he comes in contact with, and has helped every one of his graduating seniors secure postgraduate employment.
Pennypack House School
Williamson has served the students of Philadelphia for 20 years. She teaches social studies and Spanish, and believes that students' needs always come first.
Bartram High School
Wood began teaching at Bartram as a Teach for America corps member. As a learning support teacher and special education liaison, she works with students, parents, community agencies, and staff to ensure that all students have the support and opportunities they need to reach their full potential.
West Philadelphia High School