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December Excellence in Education Award



Jerome School District and Jiffy Lube/Burton Group announce the Excellence in Education recipients for December 2022: Summit Elementary School Teacher Jodi Ostler; Jerome Middle School Teacher Valerie Chappell; and Horizon Elementary School Long Term Sub Christy Keys.



The Excellence in Education award recognizes the outstanding work by the staff in the district and schools. The Jerome School District Superintendent, along with a committee of representatives from each building, reviews nominations received by staff, parents, students and community members, and then each month selects 1 elementary certified, 1 secondary certified, and 1 classified staff member consisting of para-professionals, maintenance, food service, secretaries, to receive the award.


Guidelines for selection are: 

  • Recipients must be a current employee of the Jerome School District; for Certified Nominations: recipient must hold a valid Idaho teacher or pupil personnel certificate; for Classified Nominations: recipient must be employed in any non-certified position; 

  • Administrators are not eligible for this recognition; 

  • Students, parents, administrators, or fellow staff members may nominate the individual here;

  •  The recognition is for those who go above and beyond in making difference in the life of anindividual student or lives of a group of students.

The Excellence in Education Award recipients for December, 2022 are:

1. Elementary certified recipient: Jodi Ostler. With classroom experience of 28 years, Jodi is

currently teaching in the district’s Dual Language Immersion Program at Summit

Elementary School. She was nominated by a student: Mrs. Ostler should be the Excellence

of Education Award Teacher because she helps her students, and is a great role model.

When I say she is a great role model I mean she is so nice, smart, organized, and cares for

all of her students and coworkers. Mrs. Ostler is the best teacher I could ever ask for in the

5th grade.


2. Secondary certified recipient: Valerie Chappell. As a Jerome Middle School Teacher,

Valerie has taught for 24 years with 5 years in Jerome. She was nominated by a middle

school teacher, with these comments: Valerie Chappell does teaching the right way for the

vast middle ground of students, eager high achievers, and those struggling alike. However,

the main reason for this nomination is how much work she puts in for those struggling. We

put a lot of thought into creating modified work or creating intervention classes, and Mrs.

Chappell does it the old fashioned way, with no complaint or second thought, and I believe

helps her struggling students achieve better for that reason. Hardly a week goes by when

she is not alerting other staff members to a student she believes needs extra help, and

provides her reasons for believing, and those reasons are always solid, based not only on

observation, but on consistent patterns of work and achievement in class. She then makes

a plan and specifically makes contact with other teachers to help her help said student.

Case in point, she has made time for at least 5 students over the last two weeks to come in

early, during lunch, and after school along with their parents to get extra help with math.

Mrs. Chappell also takes the lead or helps take the lead on any project she is a part of.

Good teaching is about far more than simply having good lessons waiting. Valerie Chappell

is simply a strong leader, either by official capacity or in practice, among her fellow

teachers. Her students respect and respond to her. Her no-nonsense approach to problems

and solutions makes everything about working with her easier and more effective, which is

something every school (every workplace!) needs.


3. Classified staff recipient: Christy Keys. As a long-term substitute para professional at

Horizon Elementary School, Francisca has been employed with the district since 2020.

Francisca received the nomination from a district staff member: Christy Keys is an

invaluable, authentic, driven part of the Horizon Behavior Team. Often you'll find Mrs.

Christy reading Spot of Emotions social stories to our kiddos with Big Feelings in the

hallways or in the break rooms. Christy's willingness to go beyond the classroom to help

some of our most vulnerable and challenging students is beyond measure. Christy is

always willing to "tap-in" anytime a teacher or Mrs. Emily needs a break, a moment, or just

a second to sit down to process the day. Christy has been an intricate part in the building of

Horizon’s legendary Sensory Room! Additionally, she has created Zones of Regulation

Bulletin Boards and student hands on tools to help our littles feel connected, heard, and

validated. Christy has supported countless behavior plans through our Rabbit and Turtle

break rooms, as well as helped students work through their fight, flight, and freeze

responses when they are triggered. Today, I nominate Christy, because she always finds a

way to build the relationship for those students we often think of as unteachable.


The Excellence in Education Award program began in 2016 and continues through the 2022-23 school year and has recognized the district’s outstanding teachers and classified staff each month, for a full list of award recipients contact the district office. The Jerome School District presents each recipient a plaque with a $50 gift card provided by Jiffy Lube/Burton Group at the monthly school board meetings.

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