Nine alumni among area teachers of the year

Nine Eastern Mennonite University alumni teaching in Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County Public Schools have been named their schools’ teachers of the year.

“I’m thrilled to see EMU graduates named as teachers of the year,” said Professor Cathy Smeltzer Erb, education department chair and professor of undergraduate teacher education. “These teachers are excelling in their professional lives just as they did in college. It’s rewarding to see teachers at all stages of the career cycle honored for their impact on students, school communities, and the teaching profession.”

In Harrisonburg, they include:

  • Mary Jo Heckman MA ’05, Thomas Harrison Middle School, sixth-grade history
  • Rachel Henschel ’15, Spotswood Elementary School, third grade
  • Katrina Yoder ’07, Waterman Elementary School, fourth grade

In the surrounding Rockingham County, the following were recognized:

  • Jerry Arbogast ’90, Massanutten Technical Center, building management instructor
  • Tom Baker ’81, Lacey Spring Elementary School, physical education
  • Seth Crissman ’09, Elkton Elementary School, special education K-5
  • Tara Cupp ’00, Plains Elementary School, kindergarten
  • Cary Schulte ’77, Fulks Run Elementary School, special education K-5
  • Angela Strite ’02, Linville-Edom Elementary School, school counselor

Other alumni educators, too, have received recent accolades:

Lisa Zendt Shelly ’89, Collinsville, Mississippi, who serves as the principal at Northeast Elementary School, was named Lauderdale County School District’s 2018-19 administrator of the year.

Katie Horst ’12, an educational technologist at Stuart Hall School, an Episcopal day and boarding school with campuses in Staunton and Verona, was nominated for the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council’s Innovation in Education K-12 Award.

Also nominated was Harrisonburg High School teacher and computer science department chair Perry Shank ’99, who holds a PhD in curriculum and instruction from the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver.

The award will be presented at the TechNite19 celebration later this month.

EMU’s education program has been NCATE-accredited for more than 45 years. In the program, students begin spending time in a K-12 classroom in the fifth week of class, gaining real-world perspectives and experiences in local school divisions that are richly diverse in culture, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.