The Mirror Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week


The faculty and staff during opening faculty meetings in August, 2017.

This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, and the staff of The Mirror used this occasion to ask our fellow students to reflect on their teachers and offer brief appreciations. What follows is the result of that exercise.

Our assignment was to interview a collection of Northwood students about their teachers. Every teacher is recognized here. By happy accident, some teachers were appreciated more than once. That’s not because those teachers are better or more appreciated than the others. We considered offering only one appreciation per teacher but decided to share them all because each of these appreciations is a gift, and every teacher deserves more gifts.

To all of our teachers: THANK YOU!


“I am thankful that Ms. Carmichael came to Northwood this year,” said Haley Donatello ‘21. “She taught me so much, and I can’t imagine having another teacher. At the beginning of the year I was really iffy about poetry,” said Haley. “She has taught me to believe in myself and to go into it with an open mind.”


“Ms. Cotton is one-of-a-kind,” said senior Alec Herman, “and I was lucky enough to have her as a mentor. She is eager to help me out with things I’m confused with, even in subjects that she’s less knowledgeable in,” said Alec. “She still puts in the extra effort to learn something new to help out, even if it means going online and learning it from Khan Academy,” Alec said. “Plus, she makes killer brownies and those are always appreciated when I have a bad day in school.”


“I really appreciate Mr. Dingle, because he really cares about the school and environment and his students a lot,” said junior Alex Ray. “Always a fun time to be around and spend time with,” added Alex.


“Ms. Doan is an excellent music teacher who helped me find my voice and use it to my best,” said junior Morgan Broderick.


“I met Donny the first day of school because I was injured coming into the school year,” said PG Ashley Davis. “I never thought that 3 years later I would be billeting at his house and basically be part of the Donatello family. He and his family took me in and made me feel at home in a time that I needed it most,” Ashley said. “I can’t thank him enough for everything that he’s done for me in the last 4 years. I’ll definitely miss being apart of the Donatello family next year.”


“Mr. Eaton has a made a very big impact on me. I look at things differently now because I took his class,” said Daniel Lambert ‘18.


“I appreciate Ms. Fagan’s teaching method and how she always makes sure that we actually learn something in her classes,” said junior Jerkko Ramo. “Ms. Fagan cares about her students and I think that’s a great part of her nature.”




“It’s been great being in AP Econ with Dr. Paul this year,” said senior Sidney Williams. “I have had a great time and have grown a greater appreciation of economics from that class. Now I want to study business a little bit in college,” added Sid.


“I appreciate Ms. Getz because she knows when I’m struggling and she always offers extra help during flex,” said ninth-grader Angie Castillo, who added, “she also doesn’t let me take the easy way out; she makes me work hard.” There is no other faculty member that has had more of an influence on me,.” said PG Ashley Davis. “I have to thank Coach Getz for putting up with all of my antics throughout the season and always being there on the bench to pull me back together,” added Ashley. Ninth grader Amelia Brady said, “I appreciate Ms. Getz for always keeping us engaged and being creative with the projects she assigns. She is also very approachable and easy to relate to.” “I’m a big fan of Ms. Getz,” added sophomore Nate Boak. “She’s a really good teacher, and class is very interesting. She never fails to have an amusing or interesting class.” “Ms. Getz is a great coach, and this year she has been like a sister to me,” said junior Aimee Headland. “She always makes time for me. She’s so easy to talk to and has been so important to me during this difficult year,” added Aimee. “I appreciate Ms. Getz because she is very helpful and will go the extra mile to help me understand something when I don’t get it,” said Ava Day ‘21.


“Ms. Locke is a great advisor, she always looks out for her students and is always there to help,” said ninth-grader Marina Alvarez. “She always patiently listens to all of our boy problems and bakes us some good cookies!! She is one of the nicest people you will ever meet!” added Marina.



“Mr. Martin is really into robotics, and he is always looking for ways to make it fun,” said junior Chelsea Smith. “In every project, he incorporates his students’ ideas, so that everyone is involved hands-on and is a part of our success.”


“I like Mr. Loud because when we can’t figure out the answers to math problems in class, he makes up funny puns and teaches us step-by-step to help us understand concepts,” said Lisa Chu ’18.


“I appreciate Mr. Mellor because of his dedication to his class, and his ability to make a class entertaining and educating,” said Charlie Purcell ‘21. “His personal motivation and love for the subject make me want to work harder and to do my best on every assignment,” added Charlie. Sophomore Cisco DelliQuadri said, “I appreciate Mr. Mellor. He takes us rock climbing and has a very good sense of humor. He also tries to improve my English skills.”


“Ms. Miller is someone who is always there for her students,” said senior Sam DiBitetto. “There are many times in class where I struggle,” Sam said, “but she never gives up on me and she keeps pushing me to believe I can make something.”


“I appreciate Mr. Nemec because he’s really funny in class and he’s making the class a lot more interesting,” said junior Sutton Allard. “This has a huge impact.” Elias Fleischman ‘20 added, “Mr. Nemec’s just a great guy. He makes class interesting and fun.”


“Ms. Odell is a really nice person, said senior Martin Simanek ‘18. “She helped me a lot this school year since I am an international student. She engaged me in the International Student Council, which was very powerful. We gave a presentation to elementary school students in Saranac Lake,” Martin said, and “I was happy to share something about my country with young students. That was really awesome.” Martin also said that “Ms. Odell also used me to help understand the needs of international students. She trusted me and that meant a lot to me.”


“I’d like to thank Mr. Pierce,” said sophomore Jessica Jang. “He always listens to what we have to say in class and makes sure that we all understand new topics that are introduced. He helps us challenge ourselves and encourages us by telling us that we can do it even when we don’t believe in ourselves. I’ve always been anxious about making mistakes in math,” Jang said, “and I have always doubted what I can do, but his classes are always interactive and fun, and I look forward to his classes every day. Mr. Pierce has helped me trust myself and my abilities.”


“Every time I wanted to learn something new on the guitar, Mr. Portal was there to help me figure it out, even outside of class and after school,” said sophomore Courtney Fairchild. “His skill on the instrument and passion for teaching has made my learning experience monumentally better, and I want to thank him for that and for encouraging me to keep at it,” she added. “Mr. Portal is always open to new students taking his guitar class,” said senior Mathieu Cote. “It was nice that he allowed us to learn new songs that we chose, rather than having to learn music that he chose. He inspired me to try a new instrument,” said Mathieu, “which was challenging for me, but I still play today.” “When I came to Northwood, Mr. Portal got me right into one of the first music performances of the year,” said junior Isaac Newcomb. “Even though I wasn’t in a class with him, he made me feel welcome on the stage. This year, I’m taking a second term of his new Music Recording class, and I’m so glad I did. Everyone in the class makes music, plays around with it, and then develops it into a piece worth being proud of. I’ve learned a lot about the songwriting process with his help.”


“Mr. Reed is a great teacher all around,” said junior Barrett Ott. “Aside from his hilariously bright personality, his classes are always interesting. He has extensive knowledge on all of the materials that he teaches. His rich experience in education really contributes to his successful teaching style,” added Barrett. “He is a great guy and always seems to make everyone’s day a little funnier and better.”


“Mr. Riffle is a good teacher who got me over my fear of public speaking,” said senior Sam DiBitetto. “I’ll always be thankful to him for that.”


“I appreciate Mr. Roy because he has pushed me to participate more in class and has taught me to not be embarrassed to ask questions,” said Jazzy Valenzuela ‘21. “I really appreciate Mr. Roy because he makes learning Biology fun,” said ninth-grader Ella Fesette. “He is funny and is so easy to talk to.”


“I appreciate B. Runyon because he’s an amazing teacher,” said Addie Castillo ‘21. “He explains things very well. I originally struggled with geometry,” she said. “Math is one of the subjects that I didn’t really get and he helped me believe in myself. He encouraged me to keep trying and not to give up,” said Addie. “I appreciate Mr. B Runyon because he always shared the notes with me when I was traveling for ski races,” said junior Sarah Bennett. “I know that might seem like a small thing, but that did a lot to help me be successful in his class. He was always looking out for me.” “I appreciate Mr. B. Runyon because he explains everything very thoroughly and takes the time to teach the material very well and he is always available for flex if you need it,” said Madison Novotny ‘21.


“H. Runyon has helped me grow as an athlete, a student, and most importantly, as an individual,” said Jessica Jang ‘20. “In crew trainings, he always gives me his honest feedback and advice so that I know what I can improve on. At the same time, he never forgets to support me, which helps me have an optimistic, open mindset about what I am capable of. Without his encouragement, I wouldn’t have been able to properly see or appreciate my strengths in both crew and life in general,” said Jessica. ​”I appreciate the effort Mr. H Runyon puts into reading and commenting on his students’ writing,” said Matt Gerst ’18. “I’ve never had a teacher read my writing so closely and give me such thoughtful feedback. I’m a better writer because of Mr. Runyon.”


“Ms. Sanford gave me lots of encouragement and helped me become a better singer,” said Angie Castillo ‘21. “It’s because of her that my sister and I are going to an amazing 3-week voice training program this summer. She told us about the program and helped us with the application and audition. She’s been an important part of my 9th-grade year.”


“Ms. Schachenmayr, since I’ve come here you have been a loving teacher,” said sophomore Fallou Sylla. “You go out of your way to make your students happy. I love you a lot. We’ve had some tough times, and I hated fighting with you because you’re such a good person. I appreciate everything you’ve done for me,” added Fallou. “Thank you.”


“I really appreciate Mr. Silengo,” said Jordan Harris ’21. “He’s been with me through this year and has inspired me to push myself in Algebra I.”


“Mr Spear is always excited about AP Psych,” said senior Hanna Rose. “He enjoys teaching, always has a smile on his face and makes class fun with different experiments and videos. He is a great teacher and a great college counselor!”


“I’m really lucky to have a teacher like Ms. Treska because no matter what, I’ll know she’ll always be there for me,” said sophomore Miranda Bookman. “Even if it’s something not academic-related, I know that I can always go to her for help and for that I’m entirely grateful. I will miss having her as my English teacher next year!” “Ms. Treska has a way of turning usually boring themes into compelling and captivating life experiences,” said Lexi Hooper ‘20. “I appreciate Ms. Treska because she is always available for help during flex time and she always takes the time to look over my essays before I submit them,” said senior Jan Magnus Larsen. “She makes learning English fun.”


“Ms. Van Slyke helps me be the best student I can be,” said Braelyn Tebo ‘20. “She helps me do things I’ve never done before, like getting my art into art shows. And she believes in me.” “I appreciate Ms. Van Slyke because she encourages me to step out of my comfort zone,” said Andrew Gilbert ‘19, “and she is always happy to help me get better at my artwork.”


“Mr. Vitale loves math, and it shows,” said junior Isaac Newcomb. “It’s easy to love something you’re good at, but it’s harder to convey that excitement and expertise to a student without getting frustrated. This is what makes Vitale great: he teaches with compassion and respect. Don’t understand a concept you really should know by now?” Isaac asked. “He doesn’t sigh and suggest more studying; he just helps you figure it out.” “I appreciate Mr. Vitale for inspiring me, and the rest of our class, to love math and have fun doing it,” said Sidney Williams ‘18. “Also, all the inside jokes this year this have been amazing!” “Mr. Vitale engages the students and makes sure they understand what they are doing,” said Morgan Broderick ‘19.” When you’re a math teacher, that isn’t always easy, but he keeps us interested.”


Ms. Walker is amazing and it makes my day a lot better just walking into her class and getting to learn from her,” said senior Alec Herman. “She is always available to assist me when I’m in doubt about something, and she makes sure that I know the hints and tricks for upcoming tests and quizzes during flex,” said Alec. “She definitely makes learning science fun and interesting,” he added. “I appreciate Ms. Walker because she is one of the BEST teachers I’ve ever had,” said Martin Šimanek ‘18. “She helps me to prepare for class, and she always answers my questions thoroughly, which I truly appreciate. She knows that I’m an international student, so she likes to explain things to me so that I understand,” Marty continued, adding “She’s a really awesome person.” “Ms. Walker is one of the busiest teachers I know, yet anytime I need help studying for a test or if I missed class she always makes times for me,” said senior Hanna Rose. “I appreciate her and all she does.” “Ms. Walker always makes class fun,” said junior Will Arquiett. “There is never a dull moment in class.” Matthew Shanklin ‘19 said, “Ms. Walker has been there for me countless times. She is so eager to help me in areas that I struggle with. You can tell how much she cares for each of her students and it is contagious.” He added, “I never thought I’d say this, but I truly look forward to AP Bio class because of Ms. Walker.”


“I think Mr. Weaver is a great teacher and really wants the best for his students,” said Alex Ray ‘19. He is a good teacher but also a great guy and comes to class with a motivational attitude for his students.” “I appreciate Mr. Weaver because even when I doubt myself, he always makes me believe in myself and tells me I can do it,” said Angie Castillo ’21. “He’s really encouraging. I like how he always makes the problem seem so little, even when it’s actually hard, so that we don’t get scared to try,” Angie added. “He’s always there for flex when I need help. He wants the students to do well. He wants us to succeed.”


“I appreciate Mr. Welsh because he believed in my skills in history,” said the Jojo Rosenbluth ‘19. “He taught us history by having conversations with the class rather than lecturing us, which I really liked.” “I think that Mr. Welsh is a great teacher because, in U.S. History, he introduces topics very comprehensively so that we can all understand,” said Julia Liu ’19. “Also, he’s a great person in general because he always helps us learn new ideas.” “I appreciate Mr. Welsh because he was really nice and always there for us when preparing, not only for the AP test but for everything else,” said junior Chelsea Smith. “He didn’t just care about us being good in school, but also being good in general.”


“I first met Ms. Wint as a sophomore when she was my Spanish teacher, and we really hit it off,” said senior Nikki Kendrick. “She helped me with many of my classes, in addition to Spanish. That following year, I asked her to be my advisor, and since then she has acted as my mom away from home,” said Nikki. “She has fixed my dress for Christmas formal. She helps me study. She gives me tips and pointers on lots of things. She’s really there for me all the time, and I appreciate that so much,” she said.


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