Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools announced its Teacher and Staff Employee of the Year at its opening staff meeting on August 18th. This year’s outstanding teacher is Chagrin Falls Intermediate School Speech Language Pathologist Tracie Guggenheim. The outstanding staff member is Chagrin Falls Middle School Educational Aide Laura Berg.
Staff Employee of the Year Laura Berg was described by Chagrin Falls Middle School Principal Laila Discenza with one word: relationships. Discenza explained that Berg makes connections on a daily basis with a smile, greeting, sympathetic ear and a helpful hand. Data has found that relationships must exist to improve student achievement and Berg fosters relationships through respect of the students.
Research also shows that having one or more caring adults in a child’s life increases the chance that they become productive adults themselves. “The presence of a caring adult is pivotal, especially around adolescent middle schoolers who are just beginning to learn who they are and how they fit in this world. Because of this staff member, every child at CFMS has an advocate,” said Discenza.
Nominations for Berg stated that, “This person is happy and ready to start the day,” and “This person makes school fun.”
All staff members alike enjoy working with Berg due to her passion for Chagrin Falls and commitment to completing tasks that are beneficial for all. Discenza said, “Congratulations to the ever-so- deserving champion for students, Mrs. Laura Berg.”
Teacher of the Year Tracie Guggenheim has been an educator for 20 years and 16 of them were spent in the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District. She has taught students ranging from preschool to high-school age and has been recognized as an expert in her field on both state and national levels. Principal of Chagrin Falls Intermediate School Sarah Read said she is a teacher who is not afraid to speak her mind. “But what’s special about her is that she does so thoughtfully and with the utmost respect for the thoughts and feelings of others,” said Read.
One parent shared his appreciation for Guggenheim’s approach to working with his child. “She identifies all of his needs when developing programming; considers strategies that will provide both short and long term benefit; and draws upon her professional experience to put him and all
of her students in the best position to be successful. As a parent, this means everything to me and I can confidently say that my child is better off because of her,” he said.
Another parent expressed their gratitude for Guggenheim by writing, “While our special needs son has been at CFIS, she has been our ‘go to’ person for questions and concerns. Whenever our son was distressed or needed help, she was there, every single time. She has been our family’s anchor in turbulent seas for three years and we don’t know what we’re going to do without her!”
Read emphasized that Guggenheim is an advocate for students. One student’s nomination supported that notion. It read, “She has stood up for me so many times I can’t even count. She is an amazing teacher!”
Both Berg and Guggenheim were surprised by the announcement, especially when their families walked on staff to congratulate them.
Pictured In Cover Photo: From Left to Right: Laura Berg and Tracie Guggenheim