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Fort Thomas Education Foundation names Outstanding Teachers of the Year

The FTEF (Fort Thomas Education Foundation) has named its 2020-2021 Outstanding Teachers of the Year. Each year the FTEF and Highlands High School (HHS) Alumni Association honor the teachers at the Teacher of Year Dinner. Due to COVID restrictions, the FTEF surprised teachers in their classrooms and honored them with gifts including a superhero cape to honor their superhero efforts this past year.

Emily Hafley

Amy Shaffer, Executive Director of the FTEF and HHS Alumni Association says, “We are so thankful for all of our teachers for working so hard this past year so out students could return to classrooms. Fort Thomas is a special community. Our teachers are an integral part of the success of our schools and we value their efforts and dedication. Honoring our Teachers of the Year is a privilege. Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees.
The 2021 Outstanding Teachers of the Year are:
Emily Haffey, High School Spanish Teacher, was selected as the 2021 High School Teacher of the Year. Haffey has been with the Fort Thomas Independent District (FTIS) since August 2010. Her AP pass rates are the highest in the high school. Mathew Bertasso, Principal of HHS, said, “In the hardest year of my education career, where changes and uncertainty became the norm, Emily always had a positive outlook. Every time I sent out an email announcing another change for COVID, her response always ‘Let’s Do It’!”

After receiving this honor, Haffey said, “I am very humbled by all of the attention and I’m thankful for the recognition. I say that every day I go to work it’s like going to Disney World. I love this job, I love these students. This means so much.”

Kathy Donelan

Kathy Donelan, Highlands Middle School Math Teacher, was selected as the 2021 Middle School Teacher of the Year. Donelan has worked for the FTIS since 2006. She is always ready to take on any role needed to help our school and students. Michael Howton, Principal of HMS said, “There are so many reasons she deserves this award. Ms. Donelan is our foundation, our bedrock. Two years ago, our Assistant Principal had to leave, Ms. Donelan did not hesitate to step up and she did an amazing job. I am so happy to have her here with us.”

After receiving this honor, Donelan said, “I am humbled to receive the HMS Teacher of the Year award and honored to be added to the ranks of the previous recipients.  Education is a passion of mine and I strive to give my best each day.  Being able to work with the students, faculty, and staff at HMS for the past 14 years has been an amazing experience.  It is a joy to come to come to work each day.”

Kim Schnier

Kim Schnier, 5th Grade Teacher at Johnson Elementary, was selected as the 2021 Elementary School Teacher of the Year. Schnier began her teaching career in 1990 and has been at Johnson since 1994. She has been a sponsor for Girls on the Run, Engineering Club, Robotics Club and a Basketball League Supervisor. Ashley Dikeos, Principal of Johnson Elementary, said, “Ms. Schnier is a light and Johnson and students love her.  The last two years have been a real challenge for our school.  Moving our entire school into trailers over spring break and managing all of the COVID twists and turns, she continues to make learning fun and smiling through it all. She is very deserving of this award.”

After receiving the honor, Kim Schnier said, “It’s quite an honor to be recognized as the Elementary Teacher of the Year. I work with a great group of teachers and administrators and they make this job very rewarding and so much fun.  I’m also blessed to have wonderful kiddos and supportive parents.  I’ll hang my sign with pride and don’t be surprised if you see me around town wearing my cape. Thanks everyone.”

The FTEF is a non-profit organization that is committed to enhancing the educational excellence in our public schools. Through our public-private partnership, the FTEF is proud to have impacted the school experience for every single student in the school district. Since 2001 the FTEF has been able to give back over $13 million to FTIS schools. 

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