Pattonville names district Teacher of Year, Support Staff of Year
Pattonville names district Teacher of Year, Support Staff of Year
Monday, May 8, 2017
The Pattonville School District announced the honorees for Pattonville Teacher of the Year and Pattonville Support Staff Employee of the Year during its annual District Appreciation Night on May 1.

IMG_1582.jpgDr. Dana Burns, a science teacher and department chairperson at Pattonville High School, was named Pattonville Teacher of the Year after being named Pattonville High School Teacher of the Year. Joe Gutierrez, tech support center specialist at the Pattonville Learning Center, was named Support Staff Employee of the Year.

As an educator, Burns hopes to promote a dynamic learning environment that engages all students and prepares them with the skills needed to be successful in a global society. As students enter school on a spectrum of physical, emotional and academic readiness, Burns believes educators must help prepare them for a world that is continually becoming more culturally, socially and economically diverse.

“It is a monumental task that is more difficult because we must recognize that learning is individual,” she said. “We must be the advocate for all children and provide them the tools to assist them in discovering their own pathways to knowledge and personal growth.”

In addition to her work as a teacher, Burns is also the science department leader, which includes responsibilities like developing and planning professional development and maintaining the department budget and schedules. She also facilitated the implementation of the Project Lead the Way biomedical science program, redesigned the Biology II curriculum to promote student-first learning and co-designed curriculum for a new science course to engage at-risk students. In addition, Burns is a member of the biology data team, member of the school improvement team (SIT) and Comprehensive School Improvement Program (CSIP) team and a teacher representative on the district Curriculum Coordinating Council. She is also a soccer coach for the St. Charles Borromeo boys and SCCYSA girls soccer teams and assistant of the Academy of the Sacred Heart boys soccer team. Burns earned her doctorate in educational leadership from Lindenwood University this year. She also received administration certification in 2012 and a master's degree in teaching in 2008, both from Lindenwood University. She earned her bachelor's degree in marketing with a minor in biological sciences and economics from Illinois State University in 2003.

Gutierrez believes his role in technology support is integral because it's an everyday part of life and a vital piece in facilitating learning and in work efficiency.

“Technology is a wonderful tool to utilize in the classroom as well as in all departments throughout the district,” he said. “But let's be honest. Technology is anything but foolproof. Having someone in my role to quickly diagnose and fix any hiccups that occur and impact classroom instruction or productivity in the office is vital to the overall goal of creating an optimal learning and work experience for everyone. Not only is it important for people to use the tools available to them in the classroom and workplace, but also to know that there is someone they can turn to when things don't work as they expected or as they should.”

Gutierrez hopes that his friendly and positive personality makes staff and students feel comfortable reaching out to him when they need help. This environment he helps to create in technology is the biggest impact he feels his job has at Pattonville. Gutierrez started in Pattonville working as a paraprofessional at Willow Brook Elementary School. When the library technology aide position was created, Gutierrez was excited to learn a new skill, which grew into his work at Pattonville High School and in the technology help desk role he currently holds.

“Working in technology is quite exciting for me because I know I will continue learning things on a daily basis, as technology is ever growing and ever changing,” he said. “At Pattonville, we say 'That All Will Learn' ... I love that I am a small part of that.”

Finalists for Teacher of the Year were Mary Florence Goding, kindergarten teacher at Willow Brook Elementary School, who was also named Elementary Teacher of the Year; and Emily Weber, sixth-grade English language arts teacher at Pattonville Heights Middle, who was also named Middle School Teacher of the Year. This year's semi-finalists for Teacher of the Year were Elizabeth Brisch, ALPHA teacher at the gifted center at Holman Middle School; Jaimyn Fairchild, fifth-grade teacher at Parkwood Elementary School; Julie Harder, librarian at Pattonville Heights; Tara Rice, seventh-grade English language arts teacher at Pattonville Heights; Michael Boulanger, counselor at the POSITIVE School at Pattonville High School; and Robin Woodrome, art and music teacher at the POSITIVE School.

Finalists for Pattonville Support Staff of the Year were Michael R. Voegelie, lead printer at the print shop; and Tron Williams, custodian at the Pattonville Learning Center. Semi-finalists for Support Staff of the Year were Kathy Albers, parent educator at the Learning Center; and Stephanie Kellner, kindergarten paraprofessional at Drummond Elementary School.

View more online
Photo gallery:
District Appreciation Night booklet: