Dr. Glenn Maleyko

Press Release #39 – Five honored at Alberta Muirhead Teacher of the Year ceremony

A group of dignitaries and winners pose after the 2024 Teacher of the Year ceremony

Press Release #39/April 19, 2024

Five teachers were honored on Thursday, April 18, during an event to announce the 2024 Alberta Muirhead Teacher of the Year Students’ Choice Awards.

Those receiving the awards include:

  • Jorie Watts from Geer Park Elementary for preschool to second grade teachers,
  • Angela Zagar from River Oaks Elementary for third to fifth grade,
  • Maria McCarthy from Lowrey School for middle school,
  • Angelo Aquino from Michael Berry Career Center for high school, and
  • Elizabeth Bouladian for adult education.

The Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce organizes the event, now in its 27th year. LaFontaine Automotive Group was the presenting sponsor. A full list of sponsors can be found on the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce website.

This year, students and parents submitted more than 2,500 nominations for more than 600 Dearborn Public Schools teachers. (See the event program for a list of nominated teachers.)

“As the chairperson of the Education Committee of the Dearborn Area Chamber, I was deeply honored to celebrate the Teacher of the Year ceremony,” said Philipp Emma.  “This event not only recognized the remarkable dedication and passion of our educators but also highlighted the profound impact they have on shaping the future leaders of our community. I was pleased that we were able to hold this program now in its 27th year. Congratulations to all of our nominees and to our winners.”

The awards were presented during a special event at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center. Teachers selected to receive the Teacher of Year Awards are recognized as positive role models who consistently provide unique, productive, positive classroom experiences. Winning teachers receive a $1,000 cash prize and a glass award commemorating their achievement. They also will join a select group of Dearborn teachers who have been recognized by the community for their dedication and passion for teaching. 

The students who nominated Ms. Watts praised her for creating a warm, encouraging and fun classroom. She uses a variety of methods to keep students engaged in their learning, the nominations said.

“She pushed us to be our greatest selves,” wrote one student.

Ms. Zagar also made learning fun with different teaching methods, for example encouraging students to move around the room to solve problems.

“She welcomes everyone into our classroom and school with so much love; she makes everyone feel special and loved,” wrote one student.  

Ms. McCarthy was praised for making middle school math fun by creating interactive and hands-on lessons and helping students understand how math skills apply to everyday life, including figuring taxes or discounts while shopping.

“My math skills have improved significantly since I started this class, and I attribute this to my teacher’s exceptional teaching style,” wrote one student.  

Mr. Aquino teaches graphic design.  His student nominators praised him for teaching students to “crash and burn” as a way to boldly try new things, learn from mistakes, and look for improvements, not perfection, in their creative endeavors.

“I am ready for college, partly because art is my favorite thing in the world, but mostly because my teacher has encouraged me to explore new mediums, skills, and processes,” one student wrote.

 Ms. Bouladian teaches English as a second language through the district’s Adult and Community Education Department. Students praised her for encouraging their success in everything from planning to attend college or a career program to being able to read recipes and medicine labels.

“She breaks the fear and dread of speaking English as a second language and builds up our confidence daily,” wrote a student.  “I feel lucky that I have her as my teacher.”

Superintendent Dr. Glenn Maleyko again thanked the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce and all the sponsors who helped provide the Alberta Muirhead Teacher of the Year Students’ Choice Awards.

“We have so many great teachers in Dearborn Public Schools who are deserving of this type of recognition,” Dr. Maleyko said. “Thank you to the students for taking time to nominate their favorite teachers, and thank you to all of those who continue to help make this annual recognition possible.”