Staff Honors and Awards

2015-2016 School Year

Tamara Earl
Tamara Earl, Mason City Schools Child Nutrition Supervisor, is a national leader when it comes to serving healthy, delicious meals to school children. Her efforts to improve nutrition and enhance communication with students and families are paying off in a big recognition from her peers. On January 17, Earl received the Silver Rising Star Award at the National Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence (FAME) award ceremony in San Diego during the School Nutrition Association’s 2016 School Nutrition Industry Conference.

TO Auditor Award
A recent financial audit of the Mason City School District by Auditor of State Dave Yost’s office returned a clean audit report. The district’s excellent record keeping qualified it for the Auditor of State Award with Distinction. Mason City Schools Treasurer
Ronda Johnson credits the entire district for its diligence in protecting the community's investment in our schools.

Mason High School Orchestra Director Stephanie Jones had a big surprise waiting for her at the Ohio Music Education Association 2016 state convention. The founder of Mason City Schools orchestra program was named the 2015-16 Public School Teacher of the Year by the Ohio String Teachers Association during the convention held in Cincinnati on January 28.

Taking students out of their classrooms - and out of their comfort zones - is a key way that Mason City Schools challenge students to grapple with real-world problems and get prepared for life after high school. During the 2015-2016 school year, Mason launched a new experiential learning program: eMpowering You. The program was the dream of Debbie Gentene - an influential MHS business teacher with experience in the corporate world who also manages the Comet Zone, Mason High School’s student-run store whose $150,000 a school year profits are all donated to charity. 

On February 25, 300 top band and orchestra students from Mason High School traveled north to perform in Cleveland’s renowned Severance Hall. MHS Orchestra Director Stephanie Jones and Band Directors Robert Bass and Avious Jackson collaborated to showcase both of their nationally recognized programs in what is widely regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful concert halls.

Kurt Dinan
The art of the great prank is at the heart of Mason High School English teacher Kurt Dinan's new book, Don't Get Caught. Dinan's young adult fiction tale combines two of his favorite things: The Breakfast Club and Ocean 11. The book is told in a series of "heist rules," and doesn't take itself too serious - which he credits with the book's appeal to students who don't think of themselves as readers.

Mason Middle School Social Studies teacher Jennifer Page was selected to attend the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Landmarks workshop titled “Demon Times: Temperance, Immigration, and Progressivism in an American City” held in Columbus from July 24-29.

Mason Early Childhood Center kindergarten teacher Michelle Hastings and Mason High School AP Chemistry teacher Aimee Hansen were honored at the Area Progress Council's 29th annual Project Excellence dinner at the Warren County Career Center.

Dan Little
Mason Middle School science teacher Dan Little was chosen as the recipient of the Celebrate Excellence Award sponsored by the Hamilton County Education Foundation. The award recognizes excellent professionals in public education.

The Mason Schools Foundation recently recognized Mason educators for going “above and beyond!” During the Mason City Schools’ annual staff recognition breakfast, Mason Early Childhood Center first grade teacher BJ Smallwood, the Western Row team of Kristen Lazuta and Diana Hillenmeyer, Mason Middle School Spanish teacher Lauren Richardson, and Mason High School AP science teachers Aimee Hansen and DeeDee Messer were surprised with $200 mini-grants and recognition in front of their peers.

Mason Middle School paraprofessional Amy Emmert was awarded the “Spirit of the Comet” honor - a district award that recognizes Mason staffers who appreciate the synergy of being on a team.

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