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Nominate your 'Classroom Hero'

Each week a Classroom Hero will be spotlighted on Wake Up CBUS. You can nominate teachers, coaches or any staff member who is making an impact.

*Nominee has to be willing to be featured and interviewed on camera.

Teachers and educators make a huge impact on our children and, once again, this school year has been especially challenging in the face of the pandemic.

Join the Ohio Education Association, 97.1 The Fan and 10TV in honoring these heroes.

Each week a "Classroom Hero" will be spotlighted on 10TV News. You can nominate teachers, coaches, or any staff member who is making an impact.

Nominate your Classroom Hero today.

Classroom Heroes featured on 10TV: 

Credit: West Central School

Ask nearly anyone who works at West Central School why working there is so special, and the answer will almost always be the same. Assistant Principal Joe Becker did nominate the entire staff for the Classroom Hero honor. And he got a bit choked up while talking about it. More about West Central School.

Credit: Chris Turner/WBNS-10TV

Chris Turner admits he’s in a unique position in education. Unlike most teachers who only get to spend one school year with each student, he often spends four years with his. Turner has been with the Liberty Union since 2009. He’s not only a teacher but he’s also an FFA advisor. More about Chris.

Credit: Westerville City School District

Adam Rex wanted to be a doctor. He says he was pre-med until he ran into organic chemistry. It was then that his life turned onto a different path, one that would turn out to be the exact right path. More about Adam.

Credit: WBNS-10TV

Frank O’Grady has had a near half-century career in education. He said he got into teaching to coach, but fell in love with history. 

After 48 years in education, O’Grady is finally ready to close this chapter. He’ll be retiring at the end of this school year. But there is at least one person in his life who didn’t want him to get out of the way before getting some much-deserved recognition. O’Grady’s wife, Peg, nominated him to be a Classroom Hero.

More about Frank.

Credit: Dayatra Hales

When Dayatra “Coach” Hales was surprised with the news she was being recognized as a Classroom Hero, she was certainly surprised. But when she learned a student had nominated her, a few immediately came to mind for her. More about Dayatra.

Credit: Hilliard Horizon’s Denise Estep

For many teachers, the classroom is where it all happens, where students learn and grow. But, for Denise Estep, a single room is simply not enough. The Hilliard Horizon teacher takes pride in getting her students out of the classroom. More about Denise. More about Denise.

Credit: JoVone Houpe

On any given day, students will be on their feet and dancing in JoVone Houpe’s 2nd-grade classroom. The students themselves took time to tell 10TV how much they loved their teacher. And one scroll through Houpe’s Instagram page offers proof of that. She posts social media videos showcasing her musical lessons in class. More about JoVone.

Credit: WBNS-10TV

When Downtown Columbus High School Assistant Principal Daphne Derden heard that some of her students who are deaf and hard of hearing felt isolated, she knew she had to do something to help.

So she spearheaded a new ASL (American Sign Language) club at the school. More about Daphne.

Credit: WBNS 10TV

Lisa Oney has loved her job as a kindergarten teacher since she began teaching at South-Western City Schools 30 years ago.

Keeping 5-year-olds engaged while teaching virtually can be challenging, to say the least, but it's a challenge Oney has taken with a smile. More about Lisa. 

Credit: Lori Smith

Miss Lori is Lori Smith, a special education teleteacher with Vocovision. For years before that, however, she worked in Columbus City Schools. 

While Smith misses her classroom, Smith has found a way to thrive while teaching virtually. She’s been doing that since March 2020. And her focus is on children with special needs. More about Lori.

Credit: Shelley Molnar

Shelley Molnar has been employed at St. Mary for more than 20 years. She is in maintenance, but she fills all sorts of duties at the school, including morning drop-off and lunch duties.

“It’s the kids,” Shelley Molnar said. “I love all the kids. I mean, they make my day. When they come up and hug me and, Miss Shelley, you hear my name all through the school.”

More about Shelley.

Credit: Kimberly Wade

Kimberly Wade is in her third year of teaching at Weinland Park Elementary School in Columbus City Schools. She said she loves helping the kids and seeing them want to come into the classroom every day to learn. She said she loves the 'Aha' moments. More about Kimberly.

Credit: WBNS

Victoria Lacey is simply known as Miss Tori. She jokes that her students wouldn’t even know who she was if she used her full name.

Miss Tori has been a constant presence in the Linden community for years now. She works at the Linden Park Early Childhood Education Center and at the community rec center.

Miss Tori is getting a lot of recognition for her work these days. She recently won the Ruby Tate Award and her colleagues also decided to nominate her as a Classroom Hero. More about Miss Tori.

Credit: Kenton Elementary

Nikki Wallace had never heard her son Aydan say, "I love you." But, that was before he met Brandy Cox, Autumn Brown and Amy Brown. 

This trio of special education educators at Kenton Elementary School helped Aydan to blossom.

The 10-year-old went from communicating with picture cards to using sign language and now a special communication device. He can even verbally tell his mother that he loves her. More about Brandy, Autumn and Amy.

Credit: Jess Fry

Jess Fry is a principal who stays engaged with her students every day. Amy Wells, a friend and teacher at the school, nominated Jess for a number of reasons, including feeling that principals are often overlooked for the work that they do.

But that is certainly not the case with Fry, who is often seen throughout the school, connecting with students. She credits her staff and the families for making the school community so great. But it just goes back to the basics when it comes to her love for working in education. More about Jess.

Credit: WBNS-10TV

Amy Jo McLaughlin still keeps in touch with many of her students. And that holds true even years after they’ve left her classroom. The Clinton Elementary kindergarten teacher has made a huge impact on many of her students.

She said she's not nearly ready to walk away from a job she loves. In fact, she jokes that she’ll have to be wheeled out with a cane. More about Amy Jo.

Credit: Jamie Lyons

Jamie Lyons is the school secretary for Bucyrus Elementary School. She is going back to school to become a social worker for children because she says, "For me, it’s just touching youth in a way that hopefully will leave a positive impact as they grow and become adults and maybe stay in our own little community."

She said she loves being the face of the school, getting to meet parents and being a part of the kids' lives. More about Jamie.

Credit: Stephanie Packer/10TV

Stephanie teaches first grade at Grace Christian School and believes she has found her sweet spot with students that age. She donated her kidney to her best friend Lori, one of the many reasons her sister nominated her to be the next Classroom Hero. More about Stephanie.

Credit: Doug Lunsford

Doug is an intervention specialist at Utica Elementary School. He works as a crossing guard after school, making sure to engage with students whenever and wherever he can. He says special education is everything he wanted professionally out of the job that he never expected to find. More about Doug.

Credit: Larry Carey, Classroom Hero

Sponsored by the Ohio Education Association.

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