2 CUSD educators named teachers of the month - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

2 CUSD educators named teachers of the month

December 23rd, 2022 SanTan Sun News
2 CUSD educators named teachers of the month

By SanTan Sun News Staff

The Rotary Club of Sun Lakes congratulated and presented its Chandler Unified School District Teachers of the Month awards for the last two months of 2022.

The November winner was Lisa Krietstein, a third grade teacher at Elite Performance Academy in Chandler, and the December winner was Connie Cooperrider, specialized teacher at CTA Freedom.

The award is based on a teacher’s total years in education, examples of how they go above the normal requirements and enhance student education, the respect by peers, students, and parents; and the teacher’s involvement in extracurricular activities and service in the community.

A $500 check for the honored teacher – includes $200 from the Rotary Club of Sun Lakes, $200 from Earnhardt Automotive Center and $100 from Trust Bank.

Krietstein has been with CUSD since 1989. She graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelors in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational counseling.

Lisa’s nominating colleague, Shayleigh Smith, said, “Mrs. K. is an extraordinary educator, but not only that, she’s an extraordinary colleague, person, and friend to all. There isn’t a day that Mrs. K. doesn’t go above and beyond by nurturing and educating students with care, love, and making them feel important.

“Mrs. K. has been serving as an informal mentor for me as I am a new teacher and has provided me with a wealth of knowledge, but also an example of how I wish to teach and how I wish to be with my students. I have never witnessed such high levels of creativity to keep her students not only engaged but loving school.

“Everything Mrs. K. does has an element of creativity whether it’s a craftivity (craft + activity), a writing activity with a purpose, or her own ideas with manipulatives in math. Mrs. K. is a leader of 3 clubs, one in which we co-operate, which requires her to be to school earlier than all and add multiple levels to her already busy plate just to ensure students have the chance to be a part of a community with a creative outlet.

“All students from her current 3rd graders to the junior high kiddos who are still in our building speak so, so highly of Mrs. K. I, too, as her colleague, feel so lucky to have her in my life for many reasons.”

Cooperrider graduated Summa Cum Laude from Grand Canyon University with a dual major and bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education.

She has worked in CUSD since 2013 and has taught in a specialized classroom since January 2020.

Christina Lucas-Sheffield, principal at CUSD CTA Freedom, said, “What’s best for kids? Quite simply, this is Mrs. Cooperrider’s guiding question, and it’s the focal point for every decision she makes as a special education teacher on our campus.

“Mrs. Cooperrider brings so much to her classroom, the school’s special education team. Mrs. Cooperrider has amazing ambition, impeccable organization and, most importantly, the kindest heart.

“She has created a definite sense of family within her classroom because she has spent the time needed to facilitate joy and meaningful relationships with her students, their families, as well as all her co-teaching professionals. Mrs. Cooperrider’s classroom vision of creating a culture of compassionate teaching and learning is delivered to students in more ways than one.

“You will see her in her classroom singing and dancing with her students with special needs and bringing so much joy to their school day. You will also see Mrs. Cooperrider working with students during times of frustration in the most compassionate way because especially in those difficult times, she wants them to know how much she loves being their teacher.

“Our school community greatly benefits from having Mrs. Cooperrider on our team. She is the most supportive colleague who is willing to help whenever asked.

“She has gone above and beyond to support new teachers on our campus as well as contributing to school-wide events to help increase staff morale and a sense of community amongst our teaching team. Mrs. Cooperrider is a bright light in the field of special education and at our school.”