2022 St. Louis American Excellence in Education Award
Hazelwood School District's Ashley Gerald of Lusher Elementary, and Dr. Regina Ware of the Hazelwood Opportunity Center, have been honored with the 2022 St. Louis American Salute to Excellence in Education Awards. Through motivational coaching and servant leadership, both educators prioritize connecting with students.
An expert in her field, Dr. Ware has been intentional in holistic approaches to discover what best suits the students. That extends to knowing what is going on in students’ lives that directly impacts their educational progress. Dr. Ware guides her instructional approach through the MEELS acronym, Mentor, Empathize, Empower, Listen, and Serve others. “Learning is within. We just have to pull it out of our students," said Dr. Ware. “If that means crying with them, laughing with them, joking with them, or even acting a fool with them, I do it all. As long as I get them to learn, I am good,” Dr. Ware concluded.
Ms. Gerald, also a Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award recipient, has elevated student engagement through implementing two programs: Lusher Loved Ones and Lusher Leadership Academy. Lusher Loved Ones is a program that matches students with staff members and fun activities every month to extend support beyond their classroom teacher. Lusher Leadership Academy is a program that prepares 4th and 5th graders to be role models. Ms. Gerald is excited that students are able to be more social with one another, which is integral to the educational process. “Having those interpersonal skills is a big part of life, one that students started to struggle with during the pandemic,” said Ms. Gerald. “Before they can learn from you, they have to be comfortable and safe with you. You have to reach them before you can teach them,” Ms. Gerald said.
“Ms.Gerald and Dr. Ware are very deserving of this honor, and are great examples of the excellence that we strive for every day in the Hazelwood School District,” said Superintendent, Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart. Congratulations and thank you to Ashley Gerald and Dr. Regina Ware for their dedication to serving the Hazelwood School District.