2023 Teacher of the Year Finalists

CHS Secondary Teacher Nominees

Aiden Sweet, sandscript author

Recently, the Duneland School Corporation conducted their nominations for the district’s Teacher of the Year Award. There is a Primary and Secondary Education category, as well as a classified employee category. The selected finalists who were nominated by principals, supervisors, and even the Duneland Teachers Association. Being the high school newspaper, the Sandscript took the opportunity to interview each of the four secondary finalists. Here’s what they had to say:


Janna Carney

Subject(s) Taught/Role: I’m currently the CHS instructional coach, and I teach a sophomore advisory class. I’ve also been an English teacher (not at CHS), a media specialist, and a technology integration specialist.


Years at CHS: This is year 13 at CHS.


Years Taught Overall: I started teaching in 2002, but I took two years off to do a master’s degree full time, so I’ve been employed as a teacher for 18 years total.


What Motivates you to continue to grow as a teacher: Everything? So much has changed in our world since I started teaching. We know more about the science of learning. Students have different lived experiences than they did 20 years ago. There is always more for me to learn and ways that I can grow. The other educators in our building motivate me every day either because they’ve inspired me with some exciting idea or they’ve challenged me with a problem they’re facing. 


What does the TOY nomination mean to you: As an instructional coach, although my work is centered around teaching and learning, I don’t always get to see the direct impact of my work on our students. Being nominated for this award validates the work that I do behind the scenes and helps me to see that I am appreciated.


What would winning mean to you (if anything): No answer.


Renee Miccia


Subjects Taught/Role:I teach Family Consumer Sciences and I have taught ten entirely different courses and I currently teach 7.


Years at CHS: This is my 10th year teaching at CHS


Years Taught Overall: 14 years overall


What Motivates you to continue to grow as a teacher: I love to work with students, solve problems and find those solutions, learning something new every day, I like when students pick a class activity and do things that will help my students the most even if it means it’s a little work for me.


What does the TOY nomination mean to you: It means a lot to me because someone took time out of their day to nominate me to be teacher of the year and it means that I am making an impact on someone


What would winning mean to you (if anything): Winning would be the cherry on top and the fact I was nominated is very important and would be extra and means a lot to me to be nominated.


Jessica Evans


Subject(s) Taught/Role: I teach 9-12th grade special education, Applied Skills class. I focus on teaching content that will allow students with various needs to become as independent as possible. I work with community businesses to create vocational opportunities for students to receive hands-on job skills. I also run the Peer Tutoring class.


Years at CHS: This is my 9th year here at CHS. My

first 4 years of teaching I taught elementary special education in Portage


Years Taught Overall: 13


What Motivates you to continue to grow as a teacher: My students. I always want the best for my students, and to be able to provide them with the best opportunities for growth and learning, I need to continue to grow and learn as well. I love to learn new strategies and concepts that I can bring back into my classroom.


What does the TOY nomination mean to you: I was very surprised to hear that I was a finalist for Teacher of the Year, there are so many great teachers throughout this district! I am very honored to have been chosen as a teacher that is making a difference. Even if I don’t win, being told that I’m appreciated is one of the simplest yet most incredible things I can hear. So, this nomination alone is important to me, because it is a reminder that I am appreciated by my colleagues and community.


What would winning mean to you (if anything): It would really make me feel accepted and a big part of our Duneland community. I am fortunate to work for such a great district that has been nothing but inviting and welcoming to all teachers. I would be incredibly honored to be chosen as Teacher of the Year. It would be validation that the work I put into my job every day is making a difference that is felt by our community.


Stephanie Nichols


Subject(s) Taught/Role: Earth and Space Science  also have taught Integrated Chemistry and Physics and Bridges


Years at CHS: Going on my 17th year at CHS 


Years Taught Overall: Going on my 21st year of teaching 


What Motivates you to continue to grow as a teacher: I love teaching Science.  I want to provide the best teaching environment for my students.  This is what motivates me. 


What does the TOY nomination mean to you: I am honored that a student or parent nominated me for teacher of the year.


What would winning mean to you (if anything): Winning would be an honor, but not winning doesn’t change the teacher that I am.