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Westside Community Schools

Schrager Distinguished Teachers

The Phillip and Terri Schrager Foundation graciously presents the Schrager Distinguished Teaching Awards and $10,000 to two Westside Community Schools educators, Carla Ohm and Leah Markley. Congratulations to these incredible teachers who, through exemplary teaching and devoted service, have positively influenced the lives of countless young people.

CARLA OHM, Paddock Road Elementary School

For 37 years, Carla Ohm has made a powerful impact on countless Westside Community Schools students. A Special Education teacher for 24 years and a 2nd-grade teacher at Paddock Road Elementary School for the last 11, Carla establishes high expectations of learning for her students while inspiring curiosity, energy, and pride in one’s work. Learners in Mrs. Ohm’s classroom are constantly encouraged to challenge each other’s thinking through discussion, debate, and questioning. She has created a positive culture allowing students to push the envelope and dig deeper when they do not have the answers. Learners some would describe as challenging are embraced by and thrive under Carla Ohm’s teaching. Her classroom is one of respect and genuine care and appreciation for every, single student. That personalization has helped countless students fulfill their potential and feel successful at school.

Carla is also well known amongst her colleagues as an educator who offers constant leadership to other teachers. Through a strong work ethic and efforts to stay up to date on current curriculum and standards, Carla consistently works to master her discipline through continued education and experiences. She is open to feedback to grow personally and professionally and then offers that incomparable advice and guidance through multiple committees at District 66 and beyond. Carla also networks with other professionals to ensure each student is offered optimum resources and educational opportunities. She truly bodies the passion, dedication, and knowledge of a master educator and is profoundly deserving of the 2017 Schrager Distinguished Teaching Award.

LEAH MARKLEY, Westside High School

Leah Markley, a Math teacher at Westside High School for the past 8 years, is an unforgettable educator with a distinct talent and passion for teaching and for every student she encounters. One of Westside’s lead administrators describes Leah’s classroom as the most innovative and energetic she has ever seen. Her curriculum includes a variety of subjects spanning all grade and difficulty levels, yet her teaching philosophy is uniform: to personalize and differentiate instruction to best motivate students. Leah’s students, whether working individually or in small groups, are engaged, challenged, and prepared to move into the future. Students past and present note Leah’s patience and creativity to constantly encourage her students and inspire their success. Most recently, Leah worked with other teachers to create an interdepartmental STEM course combining Algebra, Engineering, and Physics. Students involved in the course, including several high-risk students, scored higher than those in the traditional course. In her own life and career, she adheres to the same philosophy she shares with her students: just as mathematics was invented to solve problems and help people understand the world, her goal is to help students realize math is about learning new, powerful ways to think.

That optimism has earned Leah a reputation of respect and admiration from parents and her fellow educators. She presented at the PDK Showcase of Teaching, has co-taught with colleagues, and is now working with other teachers to develop, implement and problem solve the interdepartmental STEM curriculum she helped create.  Leah Markley embodies the standards of this iconic award, creating a better tomorrow by furthering the development of young people today, and is undoubtedly worthy of the 2017 Schrager Distinguished Teaching Award.

Previous Years’ Winners

ELEMENTARY | Start 8:40 - Dismiss 3:30 ( Wednesdays | Dismiss 3:00 )
MIDDLE SCHOOL | Start 8:00 - Dismiss 3:15 ( Wednesdays | Dismiss 2:45 )
HIGHSCHOOL | Start 8:00 - Dismiss 3:10 ( Wednesdays | Dismiss 2:50 )