Special Education Teacher Selected

APS Selects Teacher of the Year
Posted on 06/06/2020
Image of Maggie OliverAt its 29th annual Teacher of the Year awards ceremony, Akron Public Schools selected its top teacher from a field of eight finalists. Four represent elementary schools in APS, and four come from secondary schools.

This year's program was produced and streamed online by the district. Every previous year, the ceremony is offered at a local banquet hall as part of an entire evening's celebration.

"This year, we have had to do just about everything differently than we have ever done it," said Superintendent David W. James, Ed.D.

The selection process for Teacher of the Year begins during the winter as the district begins selecting school-building-level teachers of the year. That list is then reduced to the top eight in the entire district.

This year, the district selected Maggie Oliver, a special education teacher at Helen Arnold CLC in west Akron. Maggie teaches kindergarten and first grade and has been with APS for 13 years.

"In practice, I prepare as a teacher and deliver as a dance partner," Oliver said in her Q&A for teacher of the year candidacy. "In order for my students to learn, children and adults alike, I need to allow the dance to flow as we change the lead often throughout the lesson by questioning, clarifying and wondering."

Oliver has been recognized with: 
  •  APS Ambassador Award from 2009-2017
  •  APS Division Teacher of the Year 2012-13 
She is a member of: 
  • The Council of Exceptional Children 
  •  National Autism Society
  • Greater Akron Autism Society, volunteer and presenter
  • Milestones Autism Resources, volunteer and presenter 
The other finalists for APS Teacher of the Year:
  •  Aubrey Luther, special education teacher at Case CLC 
  • Amanda Brown, third-grade teacher at Findley CLC
  • Kelsey Kent, fourth-grade teacher at I PROMISE School
  • Rebecca Butler, science teacher at Buchtel CLC
  • Eric Frantz, auto technology teacher at Ellet CLC
  • Sheneeka Rodgers, counselor at NIHF STEM Middle School
  • Dana Starvaggi, physical science teacher at North High School 
Akron Public Schools Chief Academic Officer, Ellen McWilliams-Woods, Ph.D., had a final thought following the ceremony. "All of us at APS want to congratulate Maggie Oliver and each of the candidates for Teacher of the Year. This is an incredible honor to be chosen by one's peers in a highly selective competition. We also congratulate ALL of our teachers for continuing to do excellent work in some of the most difficult of circumstances."
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