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Shaniece Wise named Ray-Pec Teacher of the Year; Sam Myers is Support Staff Employee of the Year

By Raymore Journal staff

April 22, 2022

Shaniece Wise and Sam Myers are this year’s Raymore-Peculiar School District Teacher and Support Staff Employee of the Year, respectively.

Wise and Myers will each receive a $500 cash award sponsored by JE Dunn, a desk award, and banners for their school. Their photos will be displayed at the Administrative Services Center. In addition, Wise will receive a Teacher of the Year ring from Balfour and will be the district’s nominee for Missouri Teacher of the Year. Wise, Myers, and all the finalists will receive a plaque and items donated by local businesses.

Teacher of the Year: Shaniece Wise

Wise is a fifth-grade teacher at Timber Creek Elementary School. She has been in that position for three years. She also taught third grade for two years at Timber Creek.  Before coming to Ray-Pec, she taught fifth and sixth grade for one year in the Concordia R-2 School District.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Central Missouri. She is pursuing a master’s degree in school counseling from UCM.

Wise was also a finalist for Ray-Pec Teacher of the Year in 2021 and was nominated for the award in 2020.

“Mrs. Wise is amazing at addressing the whole child, something critically important for our students,” Timber Creek Principal Dr. Lauren Gechter. “While she does not have the most experience and will openly tell you that she is working hard to improve herself personally and professionally, what she does have is heart. She voluntarily tutors students in multiple grade levels, volunteers for multiple committees, and is an advocate for all students.”

She was nominated by several students, who wrote:

“Mrs. Wise should be teacher of the year because she is amazing. She always helps when we need it. She’s very funny and nice.”

“She is very kind, and she is very understanding. I have improved my test score with her – she is the math teacher. But she is not all about math. She makes sure she has time in the day to talk about your day.”

“She is really kind, and she chooses her students and other teachers before herself. She always says kind words and always has a positive mindset and attitude.”

“Mrs. Wise takes time out of her day to listen to her class if we need to talk to her, and she is the most amazing teacher in the entire universe.”

“She gives us a lot of positive affirmations.”

Like so many people, her career was not what she had in mind as a child.

“I cannot say that I always wanted to be a teacher,” Wise said. “I did not grow up playing school as you hear most teachers say. Even when I was in school, I was definitely the ornery student in the class that took on the role of ‘class clown’ and seemed to not take education seriously. The thing is, high grades, achievement, learning, getting work done, and everything about school were important to me, I just really loved getting people to laugh.”

It was after she substituted in an elementary school classroom when Wise found her calling.

“I knew I needed to become a teacher. I had an urgency that I needed to be in the classroom to help facilitate students in finding their interest, their passions, their joy of learning to ultimately help them see their potential and self-worth,” Wise said. “I knew that I needed to build relationships with kids, help guide them to their full potential and help them see all the possibilities. I became a teacher because that was the first time I felt truly passionate about something. Teaching gives me motivation to try new things, think of new ideas, and challenge myself to become something better because every day, every kid, and every experience is different.”

Support Staff Employee of the Year: Sam Myers

Sam Myers is a paraprofessional at Eagle Glen Elementary School. He has been in this position since 2018.

After a career of more than 20 years in senior Information Technology positions, Sam retired in May 2016. During his career, he worked for Waddell & Reed, IBM and Sprint. He received multiple quarterly awards and one annual award from Sprint. After retiring, he led and served on multiple mission trips and volunteered with several non-profit organizations before becoming a para.

He has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Missouri Western State College.

He has been married 22 years. He and his wife have six children and five grandchildren. In his spare time, Myers enjoys camping, fishing, gold mining, and reading.

He was nominated by teacher Jennifer Vacca, who wrote: “Mr. Sam does whatever he can do to meet the needs of the students he works with. He understands they each have unique needs and is in communication with the teachers he works with in order to talk through the best way to help them. Mr. Sam has a huge heart for kids and wants each one of them to be successful.”

He was also nominated by a student, Baylee Williams, who wrote: “He deserves the award because he helps me with work that is hard. He is very nice. He helps me when I cannot read a word.”

“Mr. Myers is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of all students,” said Eagle Glen Principal Robin Jones. “I’m especially impressed with the unwavering commitment and energy he provides to support students with academic and social emotional needs. He amazes me in the way he seeks opportunities to be helpful; he doesn’t have to be asked. And, sometimes the most difficult situations seem to be the ones Mr. Myers is first to volunteer in lending a helping hand! He displays unconditional love and kindness to everyone. To hear him speak of his students will melt your heart as he describes the awesomeness of each one!”