Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools announced the Teacher and Staff Member of the Year at the convocation meeting of all staff on Tuesday, August 14th in the Performing Arts Center. The Teacher of the Year is Chagrin Falls High School teacher Josh Maas. This year’s Staff Member of the Year is district bus driver, Alan Zdolshek.
Alan Zdolshek was described as someone who makes every student feel welcome when they board the bus. One nominator said, “He always makes sure to stop and look to see if each child is there in the afternoon. It is almost as if he is taking a roll in his head of when each one gets on the afternoon bus. He knows all the children by name and this adds so much to the comfort level of a kindergartner.”
Teachers also described him as dedicated, genuine and caring with the students. They said, “He tries to make a connection with each child.” He was noted as having a huge smile on his face every day. Teachers and parents alike feel that the children are in great hands when they are on his bus. It is not only his concern for the passengers that stands out but his organization and professionalism when planning field trips. A teacher said, “As a teacher, I love the structure that Mr. Z provides on the bus. It is super clear what the expectations are and very rarely is there any ‘bus drama.’ I once was on a field trip with a substitute bus driver for Mr. Z and he commented on how well-organized Mr. Z’s plans were and how he leaves such exact directions and routes. The sub commented that most drivers do not.”
A parent said, “I saw Mr. Z every morning for about 7 years and he always looked out for my kids, especially when they needed it the most. He goes above and beyond to make children comfortable each day as they head off to school.” Students love riding the bus because they know that Mr. Z cares for them. Parents and teachers know that when kids are on bus 13, they will always travel safely.
Teacher of the Year Josh Maas’ passion for teaching coupled with his friendly nature makes for an environment where students want to learn. One of his nominations stated, “Students care about doing well in his class for reasons that extend past grades, as many students aim to do well simply to avoid disappointing such a kind-hearted man.”
Maas teaches calculus and one senior student explained how lucky he is to have Maas as his teacher. “I have had the pleasure of calling Mr. Maas my calculus teacher for the past two years, and over that time he has proved himself to be one of the most effective teachers I have seen in my entire academic career.” He continued by saying that Maas can connect and inspire his students. He has the ability to serve simultaneously as a teacher and friend, which sets him apart from the pack. “As a result, students no longer see the class as a faceless obligation, but rather as an exciting environment to come to every day. His dedication and enthusiasm make AP Calculus one of the most successful classes in the high school.”
When covering difficult topics, Maas always makes himself readily available and gives opportunities for extra help and practice. He wants to make sure students can deepen their knowledge and master the subject at hand.
Maas’ dedication and passion for educating the students that come through his class have earned him this year’s award. “He has had such a great impact on my life in so many ways,” concluded a former student.
Pictured In Cover Photo: From left to right: Alan Zdolshek and Josh Maas