- Valley Forge High School
Three PCSD employees awarded by PEA for dedication and service to district
June 1, 2020
It’s no secret that the Parma City School District has exceptional teachers and staff who go above and beyond for their students.
Every year, the Parma Education Association honors three PCSD employees for their dedication, passion and service by naming Educator of the Year, Special Educator of the Year and Helping Hand Award winners.
The 2020 Educator of the Year is Justin Wilhelm, a Kindergarten Teacher at Dentzler Elementary School.
“I am very surprised,” Wilhelm shared. “This is an award I didn’t expect. I am very honored to receive this award. Parma is full of amazing teachers who are deserving of this award.”
Wilhelm has been with the district for nine years, having taught kindergarten, second grade and Title I reading. Prior to coming to Parma, he taught third grade and kindergarten in Medina and has 17 total years teaching.
“I love being able to be a role model for the students,” he expressed. “I love being able to start them off on their educational path. I work very hard to make them love school right from the start so they will know that education is not a bad thing. Not all students have a positive male role model in their life, and I am happy that I am able to provide that for students.”
Wilhelm’s favorite part of being an educator is seeing the growth in his kindergartners from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
“They come to school and have a hard time sitting and listening for the first week,” he described. “By the end of the year, they are great listeners and they are great learners. When you see them first start to learn to read the simplest of words it is so great. They light up with excitement when they read words. Then, after the holiday break in December and January, they slowly become readers. One day you look at them and they are reading books. It is so magical.”
Wilhelm said he looks forward to helping every new class become the best students they can be and furthering his skills as a teacher.
“One of my continued goals is to try and continue to evolve with the technology and still hold onto the child development that I think is so important to the Kindergarten students’ success,” he shared.
The 2020 Special Educator of the Year is Dawn Carvaines, Special Education Teacher at Pleasant Valley Elementary School.
“It feels really great to be recognized and humbled,” Carvaines expressed. “I see how hard my colleagues work and I know that I do not deserve this any more than they do.”
Carvaines has been with the district for over 15 years and has taught at Greenbriar Middle School, Hillside Middle School and Pleasant Valley.
“I love connecting with my kids,” she shared. “It feels amazing to know that I am helping them in any way, whether academically or social-emotionally. I love getting to know my students and their families. I love the collaboration with my colleagues. I learn so much from those around me.”
Carvaines said it’s a team effort to help students learn and grow and she’s very thankful to work with an amazing team.
“I’m very lucky to work with a likeminded team who just wants to help kids to learn, become better, but above all feel safe, connected and full of self-worth,” She further expressed. “The team starts with the assistants who work in my classroom, because I couldn’t do my job without them, and extends to the teachers and other school staff that support us each day.”
The 2020 Helping Hand Award Winner is Chad Toth, Head Custodian at Parma Park Elementary School.
Toth has been with the Parma Schools for seven years. He started out as a bus driver and moved his way up to head custodian.
“It was a surprise and made me feel good,” he expressed. “I want to thank everyone who nominated me. I feel honored to have been selected.”
Toth shared that the best part of his job is working with the students and staff each day at Parma Park.
“We have a great group of people at Parma Park,” he said. “I enjoy being around the kids and watching them learn and grow. I miss the interaction and noise of a busy day. The kids keep me on my toes.”
Congratulations to all 2020 PEA award recipients! #PCSDProud
PHOTO CAPTION: TOP to BOTTOM: Justin Wilhelm, a Kindergarten teacher at Dentzler, Dawn Carvaines, a Special Education teacher at Pleasant Valley Elementary and Chad Toth, the Head Custodian at Parma Park Elementary, were recognized by the Parma Education Association members as the Educator, Special Educator and Helping Hand Award winners for the 2020 school year. Each year the PEA awards staff members throughout the district who go above any beyond for the PCSD.