Pattonville names district Teacher, Support Staff of the Year honorees
Pattonville names district Teacher, Support Staff of the Year honorees
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Congratulations to Jeremiah Simmons, computer science teacher at Pattonville High School, on being named Pattonville Teacher of the Year, and Ida Cothrine, secretary in the human resources department at the Pattonville Learning Center, on being named Pattonville Support Staff of the Year. Both were surprised with the news during District Appreciation Night on May 6. Find out more about Teacher and Support Staff of the Year honorees.

IMG_1695.jpgPattonville Teacher of the Year
Jeremiah Simmons, computer science teacher, Pattonville High School
Jeremiah Simmons is a model for what learning looks like for his students. Simmons originally viewed his role as being the one responsible for delivering content to his students. He had a strong gasp of the content and could make connections for the students to why they were learning that content and how it could be used in future learning. When they had questions, he could lead students to answers by asking questions and connecting to previous knowledge. As he began teaching computer science classes, that changed.

“I realized that not knowing the answer to every question was one of the best things to ever happen to my teaching,” he said. “I realized that it provides the best opportunities for authentic learning. Students need to be able to learn new information on their own and know how to go through the learning process. I now view myself as a facilitator of learning rather than merely being a content expert. I try to provide more authentic learning experiences to my students by having them work on problems that do not have one set answer.”

Because the area of computer science is constantly changing, Simmons learned that he must teach his students more than just content - he has to teach them how to learn and process new information effectively and efficiently.

Simmons came to Pattonville as a math teacher in 2010. Since then, he created the computer science program and implemented six new course offerings at the high school. His capstone computer science course created the district’s mobile app for both Apple and Android phones. Simmons is the cross country and track coach and computer science competition coach. He is also a Project Lead the Way master teacher and a professional development coach with the Mass STEM Hub. Simmons earned a bachelor’s in math from Western Illinois University and a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Arizona State University.


IMG_1685.jpgPattonville Support Staff of the Year
Ida Cothrine, secretary, human resources, Pattonville Learning Center
Ida Cothrine sees the value in every person at Pattonville - students and staff members alike - and works to instill in them their value so they can always carry it with them. “When you are around someone who feels valued, I believe you will experience the best from that person,” she said.

During her 17 years in Pattonville, Cothrine has performed her responsibilities as a personal contribution to students and staff. She is there to help take care of situations over the phone or in person at work or even at an event. Cothrine takes pride in ensuring that all employees are set up properly to be compensated for what they do throughout their Pattonville career. She makes sure that everyone is entered properly into the system and is available to help when questions arise or when explanation is needed.

Cothrine compares her work to a healthy plant potted in well-cared for soil. “When an employee can experience being compensated fairly without worry or concern, their focus can be on the product being produced - our children - and be free in their work environment - with all staff,” she said.

When Cothrine interviewed for a job, she remembers thinking about how much she’d like to work at Pattonville. She has not been disappointed. She sees the efforts made toward contributing to diversity, equipping staff with knowledge and the commitment everyone has to students. “I appreciate and enjoy contributing to this ongoing mission,” she said. “The journey has been, and I expect will continue to be, fulfilling and nurturing.”


Finalists for Pattonville Teacher of the Year
  • Laura Lancaster, counselor, Pattonville Heights Middle School School Teacher of the Year
  • Ed Stevens, social studies teacher, Holman Middle School Teacher of the Year
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Finalists for Support Staff of the Year
  • Tracy Cook, library clerk, Drummond Elementary School Support Staff of the Year
  • Rungsee Suvansri, science paraprofessional, Rose Acres Elementary School Support Staff of the Year
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Other Building Teachers of the Year
  • Meredith Keough, early childhood teacher, Early Childhood Teacher of the Year
  • Mollie Ahlers, art teacher, Bridgeway Elementary School Teacher of the Year
  • Amanda Starwalt, first-grade teacher, Drummond Elementary School Teacher of the Year
  • Kristen Buescher, fifth-grade teacher, Parkwood Elementary School Teacher of the Year
  • Nicole Mikel, kindergarten teacher, Rose Acres Elementary School Teacher of the Year
  • Barb Klepner, reading specialist, Willow Brook Elementary School Teacher of the Year
  • Allison Grigone, first-grade teacher, Remington Traditional School Teacher of the Year

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Other Building Support Staff of the Year
  • Cindy Brooks, paraprofessional, Early Childhood Support Staff of the Year
  • Susan Peroutka, Special School District speech-language pathologist, Bridgeway Elementary School Support Staff of the Year
  • Kim Sims, English learner paraprofessional, Parkwood Elementary School Support Staff of the Year
  • Roxanne Comens, nurse, Willow Brook Elementary School Support Staff of the Year
  • Florida Jenkins, secretary, Remington Traditional School Support Staff of the Year
  • Bertha Doyle Sneed, secretary, Holman Middle School Support Staff of the Year
  • Kim Upson, secretary, Pattonville Heights Middle School Support Staff of the Year
  • Donna Sellers, secretary, Pattonville High School Support Staff of the Year

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Find out more.