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"Every Student, Every Day Champion" goes the extra mile

Connie Zhu was recognized for all that she does to help and support her students.

      A teacher who “stays late and comes in on weekends” to prepare to help students with disabilities is Mansfield City Schools’ first “Every Student, Every Day Champion.”

      Connie Zhu of Mansfield Senior High School was honored by the district’s Academic Service Leadership Team. She was selected from multiple nominations from around the district.

      Zhu was nominated by fellow teacher Margaret Gaverick, who described her as “very patient and caring.”

      “She helps all of the students academically every period every day,” Gaverick said of Zhu. “She will call parents and go to students’ homes. She has bought things that the students need for personal hygiene and school supplies with her own money.”

      Zhu has transported parents who did not have a ride to conferences about their children’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). She also has helped raise money so students can participate in field-trip activities by baking and selling cookies after school and assisting students with recycling.

“(Connie) has arranged for the special needs prom at our school for several years and it has had a great turnout and been very successful,” Gaverick said. “For graduation she makes each graduate a scrapbook with pictures and notes from all of the other students and staff. She then arranges a banquet to honor the graduates.”

Zhu supports Mansfield City Schools students who participate on the Richland County Bears, a Special Olympics basketball team. She transports them to practices and games and provides a snack before they go.

“Connie stays late and comes in on weekends to prepare for her students. She is the best co-worker and communicator and it is a pleasure to work beside her,” Gaverick wrote.

      Stephen Rizzo, the district’s chief academic officer, congratulated Zhu, adding, “Thank you for everything you do for the students of MCS.”

      As part of her recognition Zhu received a $20 Starbucks gift card donated by the district’s Academic Service Leadership Team. In addition to Rizzo, the team includes:

      Holly Christie, director of student support programs

      Jonathan Burras, director of special education

      Martin Linder, director of school improvement

      Winston Greene, district testing coordinator

      Fayette Adams, director of City Mills Technology

      Nominations for “Every Student, Every Day Champion” may be sent by email to Linder at linder.martin@mansfieldschools.org

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