Mishler, Phillips honored by East Holmes Schools

Mishler, Phillips honored by East Holmes Schools

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Being a staff member in education can often be a thankless job, but East Holmes Local Schools makes sure its staff members realize they are valued and appreciated at the end of each year.

On Friday, June 3, East Holmes Schools recognized some of its staff members at the annual staff recognition program. Staff were recognized for years of service, retirements and staff members of the year.

Each year teachers and staff nominate their peers for the honors, and a committee takes those nominations and whittles them down to one staff member for Teacher of the Year and Classified Staff of the Year. The nominations include a point system that aids in the selection process.

Tabbed as this year’s Teacher of the Year was Michelle Mishler, intervention specialist and head of the multiple handicap classroom.

Hiland High and Middle School Vice Principal Mark Schlabach served on the committee that sifts through the nominations, and he said what makes this honor so special is the nominations come from peers who view the daily progress and successes on a regular basis.

“I think it’s an honor to be recognized from the people you work alongside every day,” Schlabach said. “It’s not some group. It’s your peers who are recognizing the hard work and effort being put in each day that benefits the kids.”

Schlabach said the job Mishler does with her students is inspiring and critical to their growth and development, noting the multiple handicap room takes a great deal of patience and a passion for working with students.

“Michelle plays such a valuable role in what she does,” Schlabach said. “She is incredibly caring and kind and loves what she does.”

He said it takes a special person to do what Mishler does and said while she received the award, Mishler would be the first person to say her aide Pam Yoder is every bit as important to the process.

“This one really could be a team award,” Schlabach said. “Every day they are working with the students, doing an exceptional job at giving them real-life skills that can impact their futures in becoming a positive part of our community. Michelle would be the first person to give Pam loads of credit. They work together so well. They love those kids, and those kids love them, and it shows because the kids come to school every day happy and ready to learn.”

The MH room has long been known for its Coffee Fridays, in which the students collect morning coffee orders, prepare the coffee and then go room to room making deliveries. They also do volunteer work at local thrift shops and perform plenty of other duties each week.

“Michelle has them busy,” Schlabach said.

The Classified Staff of the Year honor went to Troy Phillips, head custodian at Flat Ridge and Wise elementary schools.

Casey Travis, principal at the two schools known lovingly as The Valley, said there is no better team player than Phillips, whom he said plays many more roles than one might think a custodian would handle.

“Troy is the ultimate team player,” Travis said. “He does anything and everything asked of him and does it cheerfully. He helps teachers make sure they have what they need in their classrooms. He comes in early, and there isn’t a task he won’t take on if someone asks him.”

Travis said while many people might view custodians as behind-the-scenes people in the school setting, that isn’t the case. He said Phillips is big on interacting with the students and continually makes a positive impact on their lives.

He said Phillips can often be found picking up a glove or bat to play softball, stepping into games of dodgeball and interacting with students daily.

Travis said that kind of commitment and interaction can make a big impact on the students.

“There’s a lot of things people might not consider in the job description of a custodian, but he is so much more than that,” Travis said. “He’s amazingly conscientious and makes my job and all our jobs much easier. It’s comforting knowing we’re in good hands.”