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Westerville Education Foundation Names Teachers of the Month for October

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The Westerville Education Foundation (WEF) named three educators Teacher of the Month for October – Jim Ledford, Alcott Elementary School; Greg Mitchell, McVay Elementary School; and Timara Garner, Westerville Central High School. 

Jim Ledford is a first grade teacher at Alcott Elementary and was nominated by Suzanna Shieh, the parent of one of his past students.  She describes him as a teacher who helped her daughter to not only excel academically but to develop skills of leadership, problem solving, teamwork and responsibility.  “He models for students what it means to live a life of moral character and be a good citizen,” said Shieh.  She described him as being proactive in addressing early social issues and teaching children to stand against bullying in their school and classroom.  She also describes the personal effect Jim had on her own daughter.  She describes her daughter as a lover of music and singing who previously, due to her shy character, would never take part in performances.  With Jim's leadership and encouragement, however, she was willing to perform for their school winter concert and CD release party.  “Mr. Ledford goes above and beyond to provide additional experiences to grow their confidence and talents,” said Shieh.  

Greg Mitchell is a fourth grade teacher at McVay Elementary and was nominated by Heather Huth, the parent of one of his students.  Huth describes the way he engages his students in critical thinking and discussion through unique science experiments, independent math exploration and other creative methods.  “He encourages them to try new ways [of figuring out their assignments] and see what works for them while still practicing the tried and true methods,” she said.  She also commended the positive environment he creates for his students, stating, “He speaks of humility and kindness to the people around you and encourages the students to do the same.”   Greg’s efforts to plan exciting experiments and keep parents involved in their children’s education is a great value to his students.   Huth says, “His care and dedication is reflected in the enthusiasm from the kids.”

Timara Garner is a teacher at Westerville Central High School.  Her nominator, Lee Tanzillo, is the parent of a child whose treatment for a severe illness since middle school greatly impacted her education.  She describes the great care Timara took to accommodate her changing physical and emotional needs, noting this entailed modifications to things such as class schedules, lunch periods, early dismissals, fewer stairs, and “literally every aspect” of her child’s day.  Tanzillo said that it is her daughter’s goal to graduate from Westerville Central High School.  “She has a 10-20 percent chance of surviving long enough to receive her diploma,” said Tanzillo.  “Without Timara her chances would be zero.”  Tanzillo states that, “Timara Garner has shown us that the extraordinary caring of one amazing person can change your life!  We are forever grateful for Timara and her extraordinary caring for our daughter.”

The Westerville Education Foundation’s Teacher of the Month Program is sponsored by Education First Credit Union and ThisWeek Community News, with support from Otterbein University.  The Mission of the Westerville Education Foundation is to enrich the learning experience and broaden the minds of our students through the funding and support of innovative educational programs.  To nominate, give or join, please visit