Teacher and Staff Member of the Year
North Royalton City Schools announced the Teacher of the Year and Support Staff Person of the Year this week.
The Teacher of the Year is Cheri Rourke, who is a first-grade teacher at Royal View Elementary School. She has worked in the District since 1989. “Mrs. Rourke is a dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate educator,” said Principal Kirk Pavelich. “She also excels in our District as a leader, as her experience makes her an invaluable resource not only for her colleagues in the first grades, but also for her fellow teachers throughout the building and the District. When it comes to early childhood learning, phonemic awareness, fluency, state standards, curriculum and child development, Mrs. Rourke is hands down the resident expert at our building.”
Rourke not only has served as the grade level representative in first grade at Royal View for many years, but she was also one of the inaugural members of North Royalton’s District Leadership Team (DLT) and Building Leadership Team (BLT) when the District adopted the Ohio Improvement Process approach in 2011.
Rourke believes it is vital to have collaboration and communication with her colleagues, her students and their families and the administration. To that end, she has served on a variety of building and District level committees that have worked to align instruction to the Common Core Standards and to develop common assessments across her grade level. “She will gladly contribute her time to these worthy causes because she knows ultimately all students will benefit,” said Pavelich.
She makes it a point to maintain an effective line of communication with all of her students’ families. Parents have access to Rourke’s home phone number and she makes it a point to respond to written notes the same day they are received. She also makes it a priority to have a formal conference with all of her parents at least once during the year, even if - at a minimum - it has to be over the phone, or in today’s day and age, a Zoom call.
“It is a common occurrence for us to receive glowing testimonials from parents whose children have been in Mrs. Rourke’s classroom,” said Pavelich. “This year in the midst of remote learning, a parent wrote: ‘Mrs. Rourke is beyond amazing and is a gem! Through all the obstacles, she’s a rockstar and does such an amazing job educating our children and keeping parents updated. She never hesitates to respond to emails at any time or day and she truly takes the time to get to know children individually.’”
Rourke consistently works well with all levels of ability in her classroom, as she strives to find ways to challenge all of her first-grade students. She routinely and consistently encourages her students to learn and develop positive social skills.
“Mrs. Rourke works tirelessly as an advocate for all of her students. She is passionate about literacy instruction and knows how vital it is to build a solid foundation in reading while a child is in first grade,” said Superintendent Greg Gurka, North Royalton City Schools. “ She consistently searches for and attends professional development opportunities related to early literacy, whether that’s staying late after school to attend webinars on decoding and struggling readers or traveling to Columbus to attend the National K-8 Literacy and Reading Recovery Conference.”
When Royal View Elementary created a Building Literacy Team, Rourke was one of the first educators to volunteer additional time before and after school to make sure the committee truly made a difference in the lives of our students. Thanks to her outstanding leadership on this team, Royal View has been at the forefront of the District with the creation of their Family Literacy Night event that has become vastly popular with our students and families.
In addition, Rourke was a champion this year when it came to advocating for the necessity to bring the school’s youngest students back to the buildings for in-person instruction. She not only attended each and every planning session we held to discuss remote and blended learning and everything in between, but she was also willing to speak up on behalf of elementary students when it came to her concerns about the negative impacts on the children’s health, development and education the longer they were out of the building.
The Support Staff Person of the Year is Patti Brauer, who is a secretary at North Royalton Middle School and within the Technology Department. She has worked in the District since 2008.
While serving in the North Royalton Middle School office, Brauer is responsible for athletics and activities. Her thoroughness and organizational skills ensure that students are able to participate in all the athletic events and activities without issue. She is a forward thinker and is always planning to make certain our students get nothing but the best. Brauer is always willing to help out and is a team player, which was seen firsthand by everyone during COVID-19. She quickly adapted her skills to support the technology department and more important our students and their technological needs. “Patti lives the beliefs of the North Royalton City Schools through her actions each and every day,” said Principal Jeff Cicerchi, North Royalton Middle School. “She truly does inspire great!”
“Patti immediately jumped in this fall and accepted every challenge in our department,” said Director of Technology Tricia Pozsgai, North Royalton City Schools. “She always has a positive attitude. Her dedication to this District and the unmeasurable contribution that she has made this year in ensuring that students were able to continue learning in all learning phases, deserve recognition. Patti always has a smile on her face and strives to ensure that everyone is treated as family and gets the information and support that they need or deserve. Her commitment and dedication to our students and our athletic programs is outstanding as she positively impacts them on a daily basis.”
“Patti has always worked hard to make North Royalton City Schools the best they can be,” said Superintendent Greg Gurka, North Royalton City Schools. “She is an advocate for students and staff and I congratulate her on this honor.”