2020 Teachers of the Year: Making the Grade

Julanne Hohbach
jhohbach@columbusparent.com

Teaching can be a challenging profession in the best of times. Throw in a global pandemic that changes lesson plans from in-person to online with less than a week’s notice, and the stakes get even higher. Educators who made that switch seamlessly suddenly earned a lot of extra respect from appreciative parents everywhere. 

Columbus Parent has long been proud to shine a spotlight on outstanding Central Ohio educators. To recognize some of those who go above and beyond in the classroom, we are pleased to again partner with ThisWeek Community News on the 2020 Teachers of the Year awards. The project, in its seventh year, recognizes 15 finalists and three winners—one each at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

As we do each year, we launched the program by mailing letters to principals and school district communications staffers, explaining the awards and urging them to nominate worthy teachers. The project was also promoted in print and on the websites and social media pages of Parent and ThisWeek.

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Nominations, which were taken online from Dec. 5 to Jan. 16, came from school districts across Central Ohio. They were submitted by parents, current and former students, administrators, colleagues and family members. Our editorial staffs reviewed them all, did some independent research and chose 15 finalists. Readers voted online from Feb. 22 to March 25 to determine the winners.

Normally, we would have surprised these three teachers with the news during awards assemblies at their schools, where students, fellow teachers and administrators would have clapped and cheered. While we did not get the pleasure of celebrating with them in person this spring, we hope to be able to honor them at their schools when state guidelines permit us to do so. 

Stories about the winners appear in ThisWeek and in the Summer issue of Columbus Parent

Congratulations to all of our 2020 Teachers of the Year honorees.

Click on each winner for stories, photos and videos.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Mindy Martin, Taylor Road Elementary School

MIDDLE SCHOOL

Julie Biswas, Columbus School for Girls

HIGH SCHOOL

Jim Coley, Reynoldsburg High School - eSTEM Academy

Teachers of the Year Past Winners

2019

2018

  • Rita Crego, first grade, Taylor Road Elementary School (Reynoldsburg City School District)
  • Rob Niedermeyer, seventh-grade science, STEM Middle at Baldwin Road Junior High School (Reynoldsburg City School District)
  • Michael Kunselman,engineering teacher and FabLab adviser, Gahanna Lincoln High School (Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District)

2017

  • Amy Anderson, third grade, Buckeye Woods Elementary School (South-Western City School District)
  • Mary Potter, fifth-grade language arts, The Wellington School
  • Kristy Halleck, math, Central Crossing High School (South-Western City School District)

2016

  • Buffy Burroughs, first grade, Avondale Elementary School (Columbus City Schools)
  • Julie Mizer, eighth-grade math, Hilliard Memorial Middle School (Hilliard City School District)
  • Marcella Cua, visual arts, Briggs High School (Columbus City Schools)

2015

  • Krista Hyme, kindergarten, Johnnycake Corners Elementary School (Olentangy Local School District)
  • Lisa Picou, fifth-grade math, Buckeye Valley Middle School (Buckeye Valley Local School District)
  • Cynthia Macioce, drama, Gahanna Lincoln High School (Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District)

2013 

Judges’ Choice Winners:

  • Sequoia Temple, kindergarten, Maize Elementary School (Columbus City Schools) 
  • Pamela Reed, sixth-grade English and language arts, Buckeye Middle School (Columbus City Schools) 
  • Susan Burnett, grades 9-12 intervention specialist, Cruiser Academy (Groveport Madison School District)

People’s Choice Winner:

  • Abby Farris, second grade, Glacier Ridge Elementary School (Dublin City School District)

This story is from the Summer 2020 issue of Columbus Parent.

Our 2020 Finalists

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Jane Butler, Colerain Elementary School, Columbus City Schools

Cameron Carter, Evening Street Elementary School, Worthington City School District

Kathleen Cermak, Worthington Park Elementary School, Worthington City School District

Martin Flood, Indian Springs Elementary School, Columbus City Schools

Mindy Martin, Taylor Road Elementary School, Reynoldsburg City School District

Nami Stager, The Wellington School 

MIDDLE SCHOOL

Julie Biswas, Columbus School for Girls

Eric Hoogeveen, Genoa Middle School, Westerville City School District

Becky Murphy, Toll Gate Middle School, Pickerington Local School District

Heather Turner, Gahanna Middle School West, Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District

HIGH SCHOOL

Steven Buck, Worthington Kilbourne High School, Worthington City School District

Jim Coley, Reynoldsburg High School – eSTEM Academy, Reynoldsburg City School District

Julie Fix, Bishop Hartley High School

Erin Henschen, Franklin Heights High School, South-Western City School District

Kevin Hunt, Hilliard Darby High School, Hilliard City School District

This year's winners (clockwise from top) are Mindy Martin, Jim Coley and Julie Biswas.