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Appreciating Educators: Nominations for Teachers of the Week

Each week we want to recognize awesome educators, especially during these tumultuous times.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — If there's a teacher in your life who you think deserves some recognition, here's your chance!

13 ON YOUR SIDE Mornings is launching Teacher of the Week. 

Here's how it works:

Send in your nominations to our email at news@13onyourside.com or text us at 616-559-1310. Make sure to include a short explanation of why the educator deserved to be recognized, as well as a photo. 

Then every Monday, a winner will be announced.

Teacher of the Week Winners

The first teacher to win Teacher of the Week was Mrs. Jane Miles at Pinewood Elementary in Jenison. Mrs. Miles has been an educator for more than 25 years and 13 ON YOUR SIDE surprised her via Zoom with the award.

The second teacher to win Teacher of the Week was Mr. Josh Duram, a social students teacher and assistant football coach at Coopersville High School. Mr. Duram was nominated by a parent who said their child had recently been in quarantine and Mr. Duram went about and beyond to make sure his student didn't fall behind. 

The third teacher to win Teacher of the Week was Erica Wetmore from Ross Park Elementary School in Norton Shores. Wetmore is a long-term substitute teacher at Ross Park and she's been teaching kids in the cognitively impaired class for the last four years. Her nominator said Wetmore makes every student feel loved, safe, and cared for -- something Wetmore says is her first priority.

The fourth teacher to win Teacher of the Week was Katie Eidson from Sheldon Woods Elementary in the West Ottawa school district. Eidson teachers first grade and her nominator said she goes the extra mile for her kids to make sure they have what they need.

The fifth winner of Teacher of the Week was Ashton Pranger, a third grade teacher at Montague Area Public Schools. The parent who nominated Pranger said she has been comforting, caring and reassuring during these uncertain times. 

The sixth teacher to win Teacher of the Week was Nicole Durso, a science teacher at Union High School in the Grand Rapids Public Schools District. Durso's nominator said she makes sure her students know how important they are and how successful they can be. 

The seventh winner is Kent City's Rachel Stelman. Rachel is in her second year as a fourth-grade teacher at the elementary school. A parent nominated Stelman, saying their child was really struggling last year but is doing much better in 2020 -- all because of the impact Stelman has had on their little girl. Stelman says with everything going on these days, one of her focuses has been just getting her students to relax and have fun.

The eighth teacher to win Teacher of the Week was Alyssa Westerman of Whitehall High School. Westerman is a biology teacher and a volleyball coach at the school. She was nominated by a viewer who says Westerman is incredibly caring and consistently goes above and beyond for her students.

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