2020 TORCH Honorees
The Teachers of Ohio Representing Character and Heart (TORCH) recognition celebrates teachers who model strong character and a heart for their students, colleagues and communities. The TORCH recognition selection committee was greatly impressed by the stories of teachers from across Ohio who are dedicated to educational equity and make strong personal commitments to their students. From these nominations, the five teachers listed below were recognized during spring 2020.
Etna Road Elementary School
Patrice Archer strives to provide her students with creative opportunities to learn, build life skills and be included with their peers at school. Ms. Archer teaches special education at Etna Road Elementary School where she makes every effort to show her special needs students that they are a valuable part of the community. She consistently seeks out opportunities for her students to be included in school and community activities.
Ms. Archer is a Special Olympics coach, coaching both bowling and track. She talks to her students’ families daily and makes home visits multiple times a year. She even visits some of her medically fragile students when they are in the hospital or sends them treats to lift their spirits. Her positivity and ability to serve as an uplifting force in her school helps to enrich the building climate and culture.
Ms. Archer also mentors new special education teachers and education aides who assist in special needs units. She educates and inspires regular education staff to seek out inclusion opportunities for students. Her students have been included in coding activities with their 5th grade peers, a musical with the 4th grade, combined classroom activities and much more.
Apollo Career Center
Jody Benda is an innovative, motivated and determined teacher who serves as a role model for her students. She is a natural leader who has changed the lives of many. Ms. Benda teaches Sports and Exercise Science at Apollo Career Center where she strives to include and empower her students. Each week her students practice "attitude of gratitude" where they thank a peer for something positive. She is dedicated to creating collaborative learning settings across the curriculum. This year, her students are working with firefighting students to provide physical training. Ms. Benda creates an environment where students understand the important role they serve in being part of a community.
Ms. Benda's positive outlook and admirable work ethic make her a phenomenal mentor and peer coach. She created a two-year formal mentoring program to help Apollo Career Center support new staff members as they grow into their profession.
Locust Corner Elementary School
New Richmond, Ohio
Carlie Fahrnbach nurtures at-risk pre-teen boys and educates them so they can be mainstreamed and attend classes with their peers. Ms. Fahrnbach is an elementary intervention specialist at Locust Corner Elementary School where she dedicates herself to providing a well-rounded education for her students. She strives above and beyond for her students and is always available to help them with schoolwork, even on the weekends.
Ms. Fahrnbach serves as an advocate for her students and never gives up on them. She truly changes and improves the lives of her students by guiding them to see their own potential and worth. Her role as a teacher/mentor has ultimately helped her students navigate their school day better and learn to enjoy school.
Ms. Fahrnbach thinks it is very important to make every student feel celebrated regardless of their ability levels. In her classroom, they celebrate the small things and the big things. She is so proud of each of her students and does not take lightly the responsibility of building a foundation of hope and positivity.
Eastern Elementary School
Cheryl Longnecker often goes the extra mile to create an uplifting atmosphere at her school. She greets her peers each and every morning with kindness, and even decorates the teacher's lounge with inspirational messages and decor. Ms. Longnecker teaches special education social studies, science, math and ELA at Eastern Elementary School.
Ms. Longnecker voluntarily begins her day two and a half hours earlier to accommodate students who are too old to qualify for before-school YMCA care. She spends her summers creating outdoor bonding activities for her students. Students fish and engage in many other summer camp activities to help ease their transition into the new school year.
She provides parents with daily pictures and videos to show the progress of their children. She is always in communication with the parents of her students, and her students stay in contact with her long after they leave her classroom. Ms. Longnecker has accompanied families to Nationwide Children's Hospital for diagnostic testing, and she purchases clothing and school supplies for students in need. She consistently puts the well being of others over her own.
Chillicothe High School
Amanda Mickey is a phenomenal teacher who not only has a heart for teaching, but also a heart for serving young people. Ms. Mickey teaches Algebra at Chillicothe High School and dedicates her lunch hour to tutor students. She also makes every effort to attend after-school functions to support her students. She exudes care and love to her students and strives to make learning Algebra fun.
Ms. Mickey serves as a mentor to first-year teachers and is always willing to help her peers. She advocated for learning walks at her school so teachers could observe one another and more openly share best practices. Ms. Mickey has a thirst for learning and evolving as a teacher. Next year she will be transitioning to project-based learning in her classroom.
Last Modified: 5/13/2021 6:05:21 AM