Heather Schott had a clue it was coming.
For years, she had organized the Scripps Middle School Teacher of the Year award. This year, Scripps principal Dan Haas told her someone else was handling it, then that Scripps wouldn’t have a recipient.
So when the staff meeting was called for Wednesday afterschool and she saw her paraprofessionals and two Lake Orion Community Schools assistant superintendents and a few school board members, she was closing in.
It didn’t take long for Schott to realize she was the honoree.
Her husband and three children then popped into the Scripps library as Haas announced it: Schott was the LOCS Middle School Teacher of the Year.
“She does so much in so many ways here, from helping her students in their core academic classes, their gen Ed elective classes, their classes with within her room, the other ASD room, after school activities," Haas said. "She touches so many lives around here in such a positive way that it did not shock me at all and I was happy to try to figure this application process out for her.”
Her role as the lead teacher in the Autism Spectrum Disorder classroom was her primary resume point but she also runs the GAP program for after school activities, among other odds and ends within the school.
Schott entered the district in 2003 as a long-term substitute and joined full time for the 2008-09 school year.
“The ASD program came available and I knew that was right where I wanted to be and I’ve loved it ever since,” Schott said. “I love the challenge of finding out what makes these kids work.”
The respect of her colleagues is as important as her impact on the students.
“In special education we have to have a really tight team approach and Heather’s always the first one to step up and take on tough cases or tough situations to help people out,” Scripps social worker Derek Mazur said. “With staff being a little overwhelmed and challenging days, you can never tell with her. She has all of the stress going on and you can never tell.”
Schott advances to the competition for Oakland County Middle School Teacher of the Year, which will be determined in the coming weeks.