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43 Outstanding Teachers Nominated for Teacher of the Year

TSD Teachers of the Year!

Congratulations to the following nominees, who were praised universally for their passion, dedication and ability to provide a world class education for their students:




Ruba Alexander (Troy Union/Wattles)

Eric Andary (Troy Union Elementary)

Ping Bai (Baker Middle School)

Janice Boyer (Hamilton Elementary)

Kerry Brennan (Smith Middle School)

Karen Bush (Schroeder Elementary)

Sharon Callas (Costello Elementary)

Angela Clemence (Wattles Elementary)

Nicole Coffer (Barnard Elementary)

Genia Connell (Leonard Elementary)

Scott Crecelius (Larson Middle School)

Lisa Danhoff (Troy High School)

Danielle Davenport (Hill Elementary)

Kelsey Drabik (Wattles Elementary)

Karie Dunneback (Athens High School)

Julie Eldridge (Costello Elementary)

Angelika Gadlage (Bemis Elementary)

Nancy Haboush (Leonard Elementary)

Jamie Hallmark (Intl Academy East)

Sara Jozefiak (Barnard Elementary)

Deborah Kellett (Wass Elementary)

Sandy Koneval (Boulan Park Middle)

Joan Levitt (Boulan Park Middle)

Lindsey Maliepaard (Costello Elementary)

Tim Marley (Troy High School)

Mark Martin (Boulan Park Middle)

Cara McKeever (Barnard/Hamilton)

Amy Mee (Hill/Leonard Elementary)

Sherri Parks (Troy High School)

Dr. Karen Reese (Costello Elementary)

Carol Rexer (Larson Middle School)

Jennifer Sobczynski (Troy High School)

Kathryn Starn (Leonard Elementary)

Matt Tignanelli (Elem. Instrumental Music)

Jaclyn Toepel-Hartzell (Intl Academy East)

Ray Torres (Smith Middle School)

Lyndsey Versteegden (Morse Elementary)

Katie Vitale (Troy High School)

Amy Wallace (Leonard Elementary)

Audrey Wright (Boulan Park Middle)


As you can see, the decision was NOT an easy one either, but we are grateful to our TEA committee, who selected the following Outstanding Teachers as our winners for 2018-19.



SUZANNE DOMIN, Language Arts Teacher at Boulan Park Middle School, was named TSD Middle School Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Domin was nominated by a parent who praised her for building genuine relationships with her students, which helps them to grow, both academically and socially. Parent Allison Howard says “Mrs. Domin looks for the gifts in her students and she celebrates them. She demonstrates flexibility and compassion, which is key to building a community of learners who are emotionally healthy and prepared to learn.”  Domin’s colleagues say this ability to connect with students allows them to let down their guard and explore their own unique voices in reading and writing. “Sue creates a safe learning environment for all students to learn through exciting, creative, and stimulating challenges, while at the same time works to be fair and empathetic to all,” says fellow teacher April Reem, “Sue’s rapport is natural and instinctive, and she is always approachable. She can often be seen before school every day in the media center talking with kids about books and guiding them to their next novel as they beg her for suggestions.” For more on why her students and colleagues say she is so special, see this short video:


To celebrate this recognition, as her family and colleagues looked on today, Mrs. Domin was presented with a $500 check from the Troy Foundation for Educational Excellence.


ZACH RONDOT, 4th Grade Teacher at Costello Elementary School was named TSD Elementary Teacher of the Year. Mr. Rondot was nominated by a parent, who says that his passion to create a culture of positivity makes the difference in the lives of his students. Parent Shannon Burt says he is a true role model for students, and helps them to work out issues in a kind and caring manner, “He talks with the students in a meaningful way that causes lasting, positive change in their behaviors.” She points out that Rondot’s philosophy toward his classroom can be seen in this single sentence on his blog, “My main mission as an educator is to empower my students to be strong, confident kids for more success, happiness, and fulfillment in their lives.” His colleagues say they see this in action every day, though unique learning opportunities Rondot creates, including starting a 4th Grade Innovators podcast, where students share inspiration with others around the world. Fellow teacher Grayson McKinney says, “Zach epitomizes what it means to be an innovative teacher. His passion for going above and beyond the standard expectations for lesson creation and delivery has driven him to embrace the most innovative practices in his classroom.” Former student Elijah Burt says Mr. Rondot challenges his students, telling them to reach further than they thought possible, “He has made me a more positive person. Mr. Rondot inspired me to write my own quote: Just because you don’t think you’re good doesn’t mean you can’t do great things.”


For more on why his students and colleagues say he is so special, see this short video:


To celebrate this recognition, as his family and colleagues looked on today, Mr. Rondot was presented with a $500 check from the Troy Foundation for Educational Excellence.


JOSH PUDALOFF, Computer Science/Math Teacher at Athens High School was named TSD High School Teacher of the Year AND Overall TSD Teacher of the Year. Mr. Pudaloff was nominated by his fellow teachers, but literally dozens of colleagues, parents, students and administrators stepped forward to sing his praises. His primary nominator, teacher Carol Machak says, “His passion is the core of his teaching. To impact the lives of young adults, teachers need to embody the role of what the students are to become. Josh is passionate about computer

science and mostly how it can help the future of our young generation. He is in the forefront of

supporting Computer Science education for all—he believes all students should have

opportunities to learn coding, computer tech, and beyond.” Pudaloff also provides endless opportunities for students to explore outside the classroom, including organizing the firstTroy Hackathon, as well as hosting family coding events at the elementary schools. Most recently, Pudaloff spearheaded TEDx at Athens, where students shared their ideas and spoke about a wide variety of topics to the Troy community. Former student Dhruv Garg says his dedication to students is obvious and has a tremendous impact, “I had the privilege of first being taught by Mr. Pudaloff my sophomore year. I've had many teachers teach me various subjects, but he did much more than merely teach. It's because of him I am who I am. The passion Mr. Pudaloff teaches with is unprecedented.”  


For more on why his students and colleagues say he is so special, see this short video:


Because he was also awarded the Overall Teacher of the Year, Mr. Pudaloff also received a two-year vehicle lease, courtesy of the Suburban Collection. Bart deBrow from the Suburban Collection was on hand to present him with a car of him choice.


“Josh, Sue and Zach exemplify what it means to be a world class teacher,” said Superintendent Richard Machesky, Ed. D. “They each do a tremendous job of building relationships with students and truly caring about them as people. Couple that with unique and innovative learning experiences in their classrooms, and it’s clear that they have a tremendous impact year after year. We are extremely fortunate to have them on our staff and are proud to have them represent the Troy School District as our Outstanding Teachers of the Year.”


All 43 nominees will be honored at a Board of Education meeting on April 16th, with a reception beforehand.

The three winning teachers have been sent to Oakland County for inclusion in the county-wide Teacher of the Year competition. 

Congratulations to all--you are truly WORLD CLASS!