Pay inequity unresolved, but teachers get next best: A sincere thanks

Ninos teacher Peg Griffin, from left to right: John Kloc, Principal Tonja Yalung, teacher Peg Griffin, Superintendent Dr. Vesely.

A simple thanks goes a long way in letting someone know you appreciate their work.

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That’s the concept behind a new Kyrene Values Teachers recognition program, which celebrates the contributions of one teacher, every quarter, from each of the district’s 25 schools.

The program celebrates the top teachers in the district by honoring those who display remarkable traits in their individual and classroom efforts, according to Dr. Jan Vesely, superintendent of the Kyrene district.

“Recent polling suggests that the majority of Arizonans recognize the importance of education,” said Vesely.

Although the program doesn’t help solve the problem of pay inequity, Vesely said it at least recognizes the teachers’ hard work.

“While Kyrene will continue our long-term commitment to address teacher compensation within the limits of the funding we receive from the state, a program like this acknowledges, in some small way, that we appreciate all that our teachers do each and every day.”

This quarter, school leaders submitted nominations for teachers who demonstrate commitment to student success in areas of academics, advocacy and leadership.

The district received support of several business partners in their recognition efforts, including John Kloc, corporate real estate benefits director from HomeBenefitIQ, and, Dale Fedewa of Urban Air Adventure Park.

Vesely and Kloc visited teachers in their classrooms to celebrate their success and present them with $25 gift cards.

Dan Crawford, a Language Arts teacher at Kyrene Middle School, was pleasantly surprised by the recognition, and was quick to offer kudos to fellow teachers who have helped him along the way.

“I am relatively new to teaching and have been mentored by several of the finest teachers and people I could ask for,” said Crawford.

“These individuals have spent their time in developing my skills to the point that I have been effective for my students.

“After a life in another career, I try to bring a practical approach to the students,” said Crawford.

They need to understand the value of the skills we are trying to impart. If they believe we are trying to prepare them for a better future, I believe we get more buy-in and effort. Each of these students deserves our best effort, and I see a group of teachers and administrators doing just that.”

Peg Griffin, a fifth-grade teacher at Kyrene de los Niños, also said she was pleased to be recognized.

“(This) is a tremendous honor, and also an incredible opportunity for me to represent teachers and draw positive attention to public education.”

Patricia Gale, a first-grade teacher at Kyrene de la Mariposa, shared similar sentiments.

“Teaching is an honor in itself—to be part of shaping and making a difference in a child’s life is so rewarding. Working with students and seeing their growth and progress is a joy.

But to be recognized for this role by the district is both encouraging and rewarding. It is wonderful to be valued by my school district.”

Pueblo student Jaryd Exparza receives recognition from Dr. Vesely.

This quarter, two students from each of the 25 schools also were recognized for working hard to meet individual goals and move up in their academic achievements, Vesely noted.

Fedewa, from Urban Air Adventure Park, donated 50 “jump” passes for students, which will provide a year’s worth of one-hour jump time per week at the site.



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