Samuel Leopold, Columbus Gifted Academy, Columbus.

I wish to nominate Mr. Samuel Leopold for the Teacher of the Year in Central Ohio award.

When I reached out to the families of his other students about this award, I received "yes," "great idea," and "he is amazing, best teacher ever" responses within minutes. This told me that his students and families eagerly support his nomination and recognize his qualities as an educator.

Mr. Leopold has developed positive relationships with his students. He greets them with a smile as they enter his classroom, they know the routine, and they get started on the work of the day. When Mr. Leopold asks questions, all the children enthusiastically raise their hands, well prepared with answers and eager to be the one called upon. The only way he can handle all these waving hands is to reach for a name among the strips of paper he keeps within easy reach.

Mr. Leopold always has a smile and a "can do" attitude. He makes decisions based on what is best for his students. He prepares lessons that are highly engaging, and build not only new knowledge, but a sense of achievement and pride. Mr. Leopold always makes learning exciting. He also stresses the need to always be kind to each other in his classroom which creates a wonderful climate for learning.

He provides additional incentives for work well done with stickers that are used towards auction prizes. The children are so excited and delighted to take home their treasures.

Mr. Leopold provides information to the families by sending group text messages and pictures, phone calls, and e-mails to share what is going on during the day. He also encourages everyone to reach out to the other families if they have questions about a project. Their responses are always helpful and most welcomed as is the bond formed among the families.

Mr. Leopold has a passion for teaching and gives a lot of his personal time above and beyond classroom responsibilities. He plans wonderful events outside the classroom, like a visit to the local bookstore that included a coupon for each child so they could all take home a book. And when you arrive at the activity, he makes a point to greet each person.

It is with great pleasure that I nominate Mr. Leopold for this award.

--Grandparent of fourth grade student in Mr. Leopold's class

-Multiple nominations were submitted for Mr. Leopold