Jamie Vanek, principal of Independence Middle School, has been recognized with an Excellence in Education Educator award by the Educational Service Center (ESC) of Northeast Ohio and State Support Team – Region 3. The Outstanding Educator Achievement Award honors educators who are the exemplars in designing instructional strategies and programs for school-aged children and youth with disabilities in Northeast Ohio.
Vanek was nominated by teacher Dana Yaro-Linderman. His nomination reads, “Mr. Vanek is a genuine student advocate and as the instructional leader of the building, his concern for students transcends ability, and rather encompasses the strengths of ALL students - those with and without disabilities. His focus is on what students can do as opposed to what they are unable to accomplish. Mr. Vanek’s frequent presence in and around the building cements his relationship with kids in general. Whether he offers a fist bump, pleasant greeting, or an acknowledgment of sorts, students are happy to interact with him. Mediocrity is not acceptable; challenge is welcomed. His positive attitude is contagious, both in terms of students and staff. Seldom found in his office throughout the day, he is in the halls and classrooms interacting with students and staff. Mr. Vanek’s commitment and dedication to the middle school and the district at large has manifested itself in a multitude of ways. Whether working on district bond issues/levies or renovating our building as best he can, his work is done with vigor and pride. His after school calls to parents range from messages of concern to congratulatory praises for things well done. Not merely a job, education is a calling to Mr. Jamie Vanek.”
“This event gives us a chance to pause amidst all of the hecticness of a school year and truly just be thankful for special people in this world,” said Superintendent Bob Mengerink, ESC of Northeast Ohio. “I know that in my 50 years as an educator, it is students and staff, such as those recognized here today, that have made me not only a better educator or administrator but also a better person. They have forced me to reflect on how I might lead or inspire, but also how I treat others. How I can show compassion. How I should never give up on myself or others, even when it’s hard.”