The spotlight is on Stephanie Schulzkump now, Natomas Unified’s newly selected Teacher of the Year, but her nomination for the award makes clear that the reason she so richly deserves it is the attention she gives and the spotlight she shines on others at Jefferson School.
Supt. Chris Evans surprised Schulzkump with the good news that she’s NUSD’s top teacher this year by presenting her a bouquet of flowers in her 6th-grade classroom today.
The colleague who nominated Schulzkump praised her for having high expectations for students, encouraging top performance, providing well-planned lessons, serving as a trusted mentor to new teachers, and being knowledgeable about instructional strategies and technology.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Schulzkump said of the award. “Extremely honored. “I feel very blessed to do what I do every day – and it’s because of these kids and the growth we’re seeing.”
Schulzkump, a four-year NUSD employee, was described on the nomination form as collaborating well with Jefferson’s 6th grade teaching team, providing vital support to colleagues, and serving effectively many times as the school’s teacher-in-charge helping to resolve issues with students or parents.
Statements made about Schulzkump in the nomination include:
· Everyone respects her approach, consistency, and ability to connect with students, staff and parents.
· She encourages all of her students to strive for excellence in their academics, treat each other with respect, and give their best on all assignments.
· Stephanie inspires all she comes in contact with each day.
· She (is) driven by what is best for kids.
· She knows how to work hard with a positive attitude each day, which promotes that positive learning environment and motivates her students and others to do their best.
· She has shown her students that she can be firm but fair, having rules yet maintaining a strong rapport with all her students.
· Stephanie collaborates with the Special Education teacher and adjusts her materials and teaching methods so that those students with special needs are feeling part of the lesson and gaining knowledge too.
· Her class is very diverse with culture and academic abilities and she uses “best practices” and “differential” teaching to reach all of her students.
Schulzkump’s 6th-graders benefit from “hands-on learning, integrated topics with interactive lessons, and the use of technology that are engaging,” the nomination form said. The veteran educator, 21 years in the profession, also was complimented for being attentive to individual needs and working with students in small groups or one-to-one.
Past or present teachers who were mentored by Schulzkump through NUSD’s Induction Teacher Program added comments for the nomination form, including:
“As a former mentee and colleague I am thankful to have Stephanie as someone to collaborate with. She is very thoughtful, positive, and a great team player.”
“She never fails to provide constructive feedback and solid support that is in the best interest of students.”
“One thing that I really love about Stephanie is her attentiveness. When I am talking to her, she really listens to what I have to say, and makes it a priority.”
AS NUSD Teacher of the Year, Schulzkump’s name will be sent to the Sacramento County Office of Education for consideration as the top teacher countywide.