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Celebrating the Amazing Educators of Michigan’s Copper Country


It takes a village to raise a child, and in Michigan’s Copper Country we’re lucky to have amazing educators at all of our schools. Superior Educators was born to celebrate those amazing teachers, cooks, janitors, coaches, bus drivers and volunteers who are shaping the next generation of Yoopers. Educators must be at a public school in Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw or Ontonagon counties. 

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Todd Waurio - Featured Image

Todd Waurio

May 2024 - Public Schools of Calumet Laurium & Keweenaw

He makes his job top priority and goes out of his way for others. He makes sure everyone is treated equally with respect and encourages us to believe in our potential.
Hillary Arundel - Featured Image

Hillary Arundel

April 2024 - Houghton-Portage Township Schools

Hillary is an inspiration because she deeply believes in making the world a better place through music education. She enriches the lives of students K-12 by empowering them and giving them a voice.
Don Hill - Featured Image

Don Hill

April 2024 - Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium & Keweenaw

He always made class fun and I was always excited for his class. I was able to ask as many questions as needed without any consequences or embarrassment.
Lara Skoog - Featured Image

Lara Skoog

March 2024 - Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium & Keweenaw

Students not only admire her knowledge but also love how she makes learning fun and engaging. Her classes aren't just lessons; they're experiences that spark curiosity and make students excited to come to class every day.
Karmen Markham - Featured Image

Karmen Markham

March 2024 - Washington Middle School

Karmen is universally admired among the staff. It is impossible to overstate her crucial role at WMS. She is extremely experienced and knowledgeable, and we are just plain lucky to have her.
Tiffany Scullion - Featured Image

Tiffany Scullion

February 2024 - Houghton-Portage Township Schools

Tiffany works well with all departments, from the student body to the resource officer, the staff and the coaches involved with the school.
Julianne Tuoriniemi - Featured Image

Julianne Tuoriniemi

February 2024 - CLK Elementary School

Julianne quietly goes above and beyond in all that she does, continuously brightening our school with her smile. She learns about each student and understands what they need to succeed.
Brett Gervais - Featured Image

Brett Gervais

January 2024 - Lake Linden-Hubbell School District

His dedication and time commitment to the programs inspire our students to be their best, as athletes and as young adults. Lake Linden-Hubbell could not ask for a better role model.
Jessica Kelly - Featured Image

Jessica Kelly

December 2023 - Ewen-Trout Creek School District

She's always available for the students if they have a problem or questions. I know of at least one former student who was so inspired by Mrs. Kelly that she went on to college to become a teacher "just like Mrs. Kelly!"
Boni Ashburn - Featured Image

Boni Ashburn

December 2023 - Hancock Public Schools

It is apparent through every interaction that she loves our students, loves books and positively impacts everyone she interacts with.
Paige Lewandowski - Featured Image

Paige Lewandowski

November 2023 - Adams Township School District

Paige has a quiet kindness that is felt by all students. She also has a huge heart and is always giving students extra time during recess and outside of class to become great artists.
Sara Moilanen - Featured Image

Sara Moilanen

November 2023 - Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools

Sara is a top notch educator. She teaches science and biology and has brought her expertise, empathy and love of youth to Dollar Bay for many years. She has enriched those around her with her kindness and willingness to go the extra mile. She was able to procure a grant so that her science class could get 2 hydroponic stations to grow flowers and vegetables. She also wears many hats at Dollar Bay and is also the athletic director. She is the epitome of a superior educator.
Jeremy Sandrik - Featured Image

Jeremy Sandrik

October 2023 - Copper Country Intermediate School District

Jeremy leads with compassion and supports the students' needs. He's very dependable, always steps up to help and doesn't think twice about doing something if it benefits the kids.
Alana Nolan - Featured Image

Alana Nolan

October 2023 - Houghton Elementary School

Starting school can be very challenging for some kids and Mrs. Nolan's approach made our child feel comfortable and confident in their first year of school! Read the full nomination here.
Terra Parks - Featured Image

Terra Parks

September 2023 - CLK Elementary School

Terra Parks brings a level of energy that is contagious! She models greatness in and out of her classroom. When she enters the building, there is a ray of sunshine that follows her in. Read the full nomination here.
Nikki Lishinski - Featured Image

Nikki Lishinski

June 2023 - Adams Township School District

She really makes it a priority to connect with students. She is a safe and trusted adult. When students are having a hard time, she is a trusted place that students can go to with their problems.
Deirdre Erbisch - Featured Image

Deirdre Erbisch

May 2023 - Stanton Township Public Schools

Deirdre looks out for the interests of her students and colleagues. She is a leader, a team player, and a positive role model! Overall, Deirdre is a tremendous asset to Stanton school and the larger community. Read Deirdre’s full nomination.
Brad Besonen - Featured Image

Brad Besonen

May 2023 - Copper Country Intermediate School District

Mr. Besonen is just incredible. He is able to teach a whole classful of elementary kids instruments, music and they put on concerts throughout the school year and they are always SO good! Read Brad’s full nomination.
Bob Hiltunen - Featured Image

Bob Hiltunen

April 2023 - Copper Country Intermediate School District

Bob has a gift for defusing escalating emotions and bringing calm to crisis situations. He is always willing to teach any student, follow any lesson plan, or do literally anything else asked of him. Any opportunity to work with Bob is always a peaceful, fun, and enlightening experience for students and staff alike. Read Bob’s full nomination.
Lisa Pyykkonen - Featured Image

Lisa Pyykkonen

April 2023 - South Range Elementary School

Lisa is always learning the newest methods and finding ways to improve her teaching to reach each and every student! Throughout her entire career, Mrs. Pyykkonen has always advocated for her students, and they are the most important part of her classroom. Read Lisa’s full nomination.
Jamie Pelli - Featured Image

Jamie Pelli

March 2023 - CLK Elementary School

Jamie's heart is larger than the size of Texas! She comes in to volunteer for projects in the summer and will go the extra mile for students and staff. Her positivity is infectious and she captures the hearts of everyone she works with. Read Jamie’s Full Nomination.
Kristen Kariainen - Featured Image

Kristen Kariainen

March 2023 - Copper Country Intermediate School District

Kristen has a selfless dedication to the craft of education. She is often seen before, during and after school hours collaborating with others, all while respecting each person as an individual. Kristen is the epitome of a leader. Read Kristen’s Full Nomination.
Linda Scholl - Featured Image

Linda Scholl

February 2023 - Ewen-Trout Creek School

Linda came in and brought so much structure and organization to the curriculum. In addition, she is above and beyond kind, a great teacher, and a great coworker. She is the type of person who always says hi to staff and kids in the hallway with a big smile. She always has something positive to say. Read Linda’s Full Nomination.
Shari Tapani - Featured Image

Shari Tapani

January 2023 - Houghton Elementary School

Shari is truly one-of-a-kind. She always puts the kids at Houghton Elementary School first. No matter what needs to be done, Shari handles it. From busing to injuries to sickness to a kiddo just needing a hug, they'll get it from Shari! Read Shari’s Full Nomination.
Kristin Wanhala - Featured Image

Kristin Wanhala

January 2023 - CLK Elementary School

Kristin finds a way for every child to have a book in their hand and a smile on their face. She makes connections with her students that allow their hearts to be opened and their minds to be filled! She works miracles with these kids, both emotionally and academically. Read Kristin’s Full Nomination.
Pam Bostwick - Featured Image

Pam Bostwick

December 2022 - Houghton Elementary School

Ms. Bostwick is such a kind caring teacher. The kids gravitate towards her and she is motherly and friendly. Having the patience to work with children of all abilities. As well as working her class of students to work together and help each other out like a true team! Read Pam’s Full Nomination.
Sierra Bishop - Featured Image

Sierra Bishop

December 2022 - Copper Country Intermediate School District

Sierra is an extremely positive and humble individual, who will do whatever it takes to move the mark forward in supporting students, teachers and district teams. Copper Country Schools are grateful to have Sierra Bishop as a part of our school community. Read Sierra’s Full Nomination.
Lisa Wilson - Featured Image

Lisa Wilson

November 2022 - Baraga Area Schools

Sierra is an extremely positive and humble individual, who will do whatever it takes to move the mark forward in supporting students, teachers and district teams. Copper Country Schools are grateful to have Sierra Bishop as a part of our school community. Read Sierra’s Full Nomination.
Jenifer Mattila - Featured Image

Jenifer Mattila

November 2022 - Houghton Elementary School

Jenifer Mattila takes extra time to work with ALL her students. She is a trusted adult for students to talk to and ask for help. Any child that has had, or will have, Mrs. Mattila as a teacher, will have confidence, assistance, and all of the encouragement to succeed.
Tristan Baranowski - Featured Image

Tristan Baranowski

October 2022 - CLK Elementary School

Ms. Baranowski is an educator who completely understands that teachers who show their students that they care about them have students that perform to the best of their abilities. Students of all abilities are celebrated and encouraged to reach for the stars.
Jessica Poirier - Featured Image

Jessica Poirier

October 2022 - Lake Linden-Hubbell Schools

Jessica is a superstar substitute teacher. She knows every student in the building. She has endless patience and jumps into any position she is thrown into and does it with a smile. You can even tell when she answers the phone that she has a big smile on her face! She is always kind and empathetic in a job that is truly thankless.
Christina Gallup - Featured Image

Christina Gallup

September 2022 - Baraga Area Schools

If you ever need help or have a question, she is right there by your side to help you understand. This is greatly appreciated by her students. In the years I have spent in her classroom, I have learned a lot of math, and have appreciated her patience and understanding.
John Croze - Featured Image

John Croze

September 2022 - Public Schools of Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw

Mr. Croze is by far my favorite teacher I have ever had. He is very helpful and understands that not everyone thinks the same way. His door is always open 30 minutes before school starts and he is willing to assist on homework every day. His lessons make sense and he really takes time to introduce topics and make certain we understand them fully. He is not only great at his job, educating us, but he always has a contagious positive attitude and is always motivating us to keep on going and to never give up.
Karyn Juntunen - Featured Image

Karyn Juntunen

June 2022 - Copper Country Intermediate School District

Karyn has worked tirelessly to help students with disabilities transition to adulthood. She makes sure they have the life skills to make them as independent as they can be. Her lessons go well beyond the classroom. Karyn's work ethic is to be admired, and her sense of humor makes it even more enjoyable to work with her.
Dominique Crowley - Featured Image

Dominique Crowley

June 2022 - Chassell Township Schools

Mrs. Crowley's positive outlook continues to spark creativity and kindness in the classroom. She excels at making education fun and exciting for students. Mrs. Crowley's infectious smile brightens the days. Her dedication to education is clear to see in the students' progress as they learn and grow. She gives time to connect with students and staff, showing that each student and her coworkers are important.
Carrie Meneguzzo - Featured Image

Carrie Meneguzzo

May 2022 - Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools

Carrie Meneguzzo is willing to go above and beyond communicating with teachers, administration, and parents to ensure that children are getting their needs met both academically and socially. She brings energy to the classroom, while instilling a need for personal responsibility and accountability.
Nina Fiorucci - Featured Image

Nina Fiorucci

May 2022 - Ewen-Trout Creek School District

Nina is an outstanding educator who is truly a caring teacher and is very dedicated not only to her students, but the Ewen-Trout Creek School community. Nina has done so much to promote Art in the school. Through this hard work and dedication, Nina has developed a very positive relationships with her students, colleagues, parents and the community at large.
Sister Carolee Vanness - Featured Image

Sister Carolee Vanness

April 2022 - Sacred Heart Catholic School - L’Anse

Sister Carolee is a warm and generous person with 46 years of teaching experience. She is always the first person at school in the morning and many times the last to leave at night. Her hands are always ready to help if there is a need and many times she helps before a need is known. She pours her life and love into her vocation and work and is a true example of selfless devotion to others.
Jill Protzel - Featured Image

Jill Protzel

April 2022 - Copper Harbor School

Jill is an amazing educator. She teaches children from pre-K to 7th grade all in one building. This is not an easy task. She is the principal, teacher, counselor, friend, and a mother to her own first grader. These kids have so many different learning opportunities that it is unbelievable. Not only are all the children successfully taught above their grade levels, she makes sure that they learn life skills needed to become productive young adults.
Monica Markham - Featured Image

Monica Markham

March 2022 - Baraga Area Schools

Her leadership among her colleagues and peers makes her very well respected and a "go-to" person when seeking advice. The relationships that Monica creates, both with students and adults, are curated with thoughtfulness and positive-intentions. Monica's ability to seek out the best possibility in each person sets forth an example that others admire and aim to achieve. She deserves a standing ovation for being a Superior Educator.
Jessica Hendrickson - Featured Image

Jessica Hendrickson

March 2022 - Stanton Township Public Schools

Jessica is the glue that keeps our school together! Her cheerful energy can be felt through emails and heard over the phone and in person. She is quick to respond to questions or concerns from parents. She is very welcoming to all, and especially to new students who benefit from seeing her friendly face.
Shelby Turnquist - Featured Image

Shelby Turnquist

February 2022 - Houghton-Portage Township Schools

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Shelby has worked endlessly to provide food for all of the students. She has fought shortages and a high demand for food and still has managed to have food on every plate every day. She deserves far more recognition and reward for her efforts than we could reasonably offer.
Sara Nordstrom - Featured Image

Sara Nordstrom

February 2022 - South Range Elementary

Sara sets high expectations for her students that greatly affect their achievement as she strives to "close the reading gap." You will often see her fast walking down the hallway with her students so she can utilize every minute of her instructional time wisely. Sara is always willing to lend a hand and help students, other staff members, and anyone who she crosses paths with in the hallway. I could not say enough positive things about her. Our school is truly so grateful to have Sara on our team!
Brooke Peterson - Featured Image

Brooke Peterson

January 2022 - Calumet Elementary School

Brooke had a special something that cannot be taught in college. The students love and respect her, and she learns the best ways for each student to learn. My child went into 1st grade slightly lower than expected in areas of math and reading. Brooke was able to mold my daughter and teach her so much that by the end of the year; she was above expectations.
Mike Moore - Featured Image

Mike Moore

January 2022 - Public Schools of CLK

"Mr. Mike" (as the kids call him) truly goes above and beyond his job description! He does so much more than provide a safe ride to and from school. Any child who gets to ride Mike's bus will tell you, he's the BEST! Always armed with treats and extra smiles, Mike continuously brings joy to the kids who are lucky enough to ride with him.
Valerie Dobson - Featured Image

Valerie Dobson

December 2021 - South Range Elementary School

The students all love Mrs. Dobson. She is always kind and makes them feel so special. Val has made connections with the students and they know this. At our sporting events, Val is always surrounded by the kids. They love to sit by her and help her cheer on the Jets. I don't know what our school would do without Valerie Dobson. She is a really special person!
Amy Pellizzaro - Featured Image

Amy Pellizzaro

December 2021 - Washington Middle School

The students are always engaged and actively learning the writing lessons, reading, figurative language, grammar... Amy knows the curriculum like no other. She is a strong, educated woman who speaks her mind and heart. She loves teaching, and doesn’t just think of it as a job. Even after 30+ years of teaching, the passion and creativity still shows through.
Janet Gerzetich - Featured Image

Janet Gerzetich

November 2021 - L’Anse Elementary School

“I have seen the countless hours she spends at school on weekends, holidays, and even summer vacation!”

“She is more than dedicated to the students. She is so thoughtful about her interactions with each individual, whether it’s with students or other teachers. She goes beyond her role supporting the entire school with her literacy knowledge and supports.”
Ben Johnston - Featured Image

Ben Johnston

November 2021 - Baraga High School

“Mr. Johnston always knew how to making learning fun! He made all science lab fun and a great experience. Without his anatomy class I would not be going to college and following my dreams!”

“He has been an amazing teacher and a wonderful role model for not only my kids, but all the kids at school. He takes his time to make sure the kids have what they need to excel. He's serious about learning, but also jokes with them and makes their days more fun. He's always willing to help and to put in the extra time. I am so thankful that he teaches at our school.”
Colleen Lajimodiere - Featured Image

Colleen Lajimodiere

October 2021 - Lake Linden-Hubbell Elementary

“Mrs. Lajimodiere has been working at Lake Linden Hubbell Elementary school for 19 years. In those years, she has dedicated herself not only to the entire Elementary staff but most importantly, to the children. She is the first smiling face they see when they enter the school building, the one who offers hugs and Band-Aids when they have an ouchie from the playground, or the one who has the extra pair of mittens or snow pants when yours are too wet. Mrs. Lajimodiere tirelessly works to make sure the school runs smoothly. If that means staying late or coming in early, it is no problem. Hands down, the school would not run as smoothly without her.”
Jacky Besonen - Featured Image

Jacky Besonen

October 2021 - Ewen-Trout Creek Elementary

“It is Jacky’s passion to teach students in the same school district she grew up attending. She will do anything she can to not only help students meet their fullest potential but drop everything to help in the community. She is an active member serving the community. Jacky coaches Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Junior High Girls basketball along with our elementary basketball teams. She wears so many hats to help ensure our school is able to provide the best for our students. I feel the list could go and on as I am sure I am missing a couple more hats within committees she is involved in.”
Theresa Amos - Featured Image

Theresa Amos

September 2021 - Ontonagon Area Schools

“Theresa Amos is unequivocally the embodiment of an exemplary educator. Through a classroom that combines a love of learning with a culture of caring and support, she provides students with an experience that they will carry with them not only for the rest of their academic careers, but the rest of their lives. For everyone who has had a tough day - not just students but staff as well - Theresa is always there with a word of encouragement and the hope of a brighter tomorrow.”
J.R. Repp - Featured Image

J.R. Repp

September 2021 - Houghton Elementary

“Houghton Elementary School is excited to celebrate the great work of J.R. Repp. Mrs. Repp brings great energy, passion and care to her students and our school. She is a leader among her peers and serves on the school's MTSS team. Mrs. Repp consistently makes a difference in students’ lives, and we are proud to have her on our team!”