Four Westerville Educators in the Running for 2019 Teacher of the Year

Back to School News      Print News Article

Left to right:  Abby DeChant, Scott Delligatti, Jim Ledford and Caitlyn Maloy. 




Voting is now open for the 2019 Teachers of the Year awards from Columbus Parent and ThisWeek Community News.  Four Westerville educators are among the nominees – Abby DeChant, kindergarten teacher at Annehurst Elementary School; Jim Ledford, a first grade teacher at Alcott Elementary School; Eric (Scott) Delligatti, science teacher at Genoa Middle School, and Caitlyn Maloy, science teacher, Westerville North High School. 

One ballot per person can be cast by visiting  The voting deadline is March 27.  Winners will be recognized with award ceremonies at their buildings before the school year ends.  They also will be featured in the June issue of Columbus Parent and in ThisWeek Community News.  Nominations follow.

“Abby DeChant is a committed and resourceful kindergarten teacher at Annehurst Elementary School who finds innovative solutions to support the “whole child” in her classroom.  She had several classes with difficult behaviors, but she rolled up her sleeves and worked to find solutions that created an atmosphere conducive to learning for all students.  She introduced yoga and meditation to her classes as a way to meet the physical, emotional, and academic needs of her students while calming their behavior.  Her work is so well regarded, and her ability to maintain a cool demeanor is so appreciated, that parents and colleagues consider her a ‘Zen Master.’  She models how to resolve problems and walks through these steps with her students daily, all while exhibiting endless patience.  Mrs. DeChant worked closely with the Westerville City School District’s behavior specialist and reached out to the special needs preschool to create multiple behavior plans for her students.  She regularly involves her students in community efforts, such as organizing the Caring and Sharing holiday drive at school; volunteering for the Westerville Area Resource Ministry’s Summer Lunch Program; and supporting student authors by attending each of the Barnes and Noble Author's Nights, complete with goody bags, stationery, and a personalized note encouraging students to continue writing.  Mrs. DeChant is more than worthy of being named your Teacher of the Year and would serve as an exceptional ambassador for this award.”  She was nominated by the Westerville Education Foundation (WEF).

“Jim Ledford is a teacher first and a musician second.  As a first-grade teacher at Alcott Elementary in the Westerville City School District, ‘Mr. L’ not only helps students to excel academically, but also to develop lifelong skills of leadership, problem solving, teamwork, and responsibility.  Mr. Ledford models for students what it means to live a life of moral character and be a good citizen.  He proactively addresses any early social issues that may arise in students and encourages children to stand up against bullying wherever they may encounter it.  Mr. Ledford also has an amazing ability to help students believe in themselves.  In one instance, he took a particularly shy student who loved music and singing, but would never take part in performances, and transformed her into a confident child who suddenly was willing to perform for their school winter concert and CD release party.  His positive nature, words of affirmation, and recognition of students who do the right thing help reinforce and encourage positive behavior in his classroom.  He also teaches his students the importance of responsibility and ownership by giving them specific classroom chores, such as feeding their school pets.  In addition to holding events such as the Christmas concert and CD release party to grow each child’s performance skills, he arranges for his students to ‘open’ a Mexican restaurant in which each child plays a crucial role in running the business.  Families are invited to eat at the restaurant.”  He was nominated by the WEF.

“Eric (Scott) Delligatti is an absolute student and parent favorite!  He teaches 6th and 8th grade science and many students will challenge them to take the more demanding 8th grade Science course in order to have him as a teacher.  His classroom is a safe learning space where students feel comfortable taking risks and learning.  Earlier this year I was walking in the halls and heard quite the commotion coming from a room in the hall.  I discovered it was Mr. Delligatti’s class and when I went in the students were running around the room taking on the roles of parts of a cell.  He had turned it into a game and the students were highly engaged.  I pulled a student aside to ask him what was going on and he was able to tell me every role and purpose.  This shows the powerful and engaging lessons that Mr. Delligatti creates.  Mr. Delligatti is an extremely caring teacher who works tirelessly to help get his students to achieve their fullest potential.  Former students are always coming back to check in and let him know how they are doing.  This shows how strong of a relationship he builds with the students he teaches and their families.  For these reasons, I highly recommend Mr. Delligatti for this award.”  He was nominated by an Administrator. 

“Caitlyn Maloy is one of several outstanding science teachers at Westerville North High School. In addition to being an incredible role model to her students, she has made an indelible impact on the community.  As an extension of her popular Advanced Placement Environmental Science course, Ms. Maloy leads the school’s overall efforts to put eco-friendly practices in action.  She spearheads the school’s Recycling Club that collects paper and plastic materials each week from throughout the entire school building.  She also runs a composting program that draws upon local resources such as the City of Westerville, Otterbein University, Java Central, and the Westerville Area Resource Ministry.  Because of her efforts to develop partnerships with these and other local entities, Ms. Maloy has created a community-based composting program that has processed over 20 tons of food waste in approximately the past year and a half.  Some of the community donations received for her composting efforts include truckloads of tree leaves and woodchips, spoiled food waste, horse manure, and used coffee grounds.  Ms. Maloy and her students have invested countless hours beyond the school day to ensure the success of these large-scale endeavors, which have attracted attention from teachers outside of the state.  Her work ethic, enthusiasm and passion inspire her students and coworkers alike.  She has been successful teaching a broad range of science classes, from inclusion courses to Advanced Placement, and her students have thrived under her innovative instructional practices. She finds a way to connect to each student.”  She was nominated by the WEF.