The Genesis and First Source Federal Credit Union are partnering to recognize teachers in our community who are going above and beyond to help students succeed during a challenging time for educators and students.
Below are the teachers who were selected to be honored, and the messages that were submitted by the people who nominated them.
Jennifer Adjodha-Evans, Herkimer County Community College
Dr. Jennifer Adjodha-Evans, assistant professor of biology at Herkimer County Community College, has gone above and beyond in support of her students during this extremely challenging time. Dr. Adjodha-Evans teaches multiple sections of Anatomy and Physiology, including the associated laboratories.
When students were no longer able to attend classes on campus, she made the commitment to bring those experiences to them by creating an interactive environment where she live streams her classes to her students. This requires her to come to campus several days a week, enduring long hours to deliver her lessons in a manner than allows students to participate in real-time experiences. Anatomy and Physiology is an extremely challenging subject that provides students a critical foundation for future study and career. Dr. Adjodha-Evans’ dedication and commitment allows students to actively participate and seek clarification where needed. Her efforts are a reminder of her tremendous commitment to her students and her craft.
Heidi VanDerMeulen, Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES
Heidi VanDerMeulen is more than a Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired. As a student advocate for over 15 years working at the Oneida Herkimer Madison BOCES, she goes above and beyond for her students. She has taught in Whitesboro, New York Mills, Mt. Markham, Frankfort, Central Valley, Sauquoit, Westmoreland, New Hartford, Waterville, and VVS School Districts, earning the admiration of students, parents, staff, and administration in every place she has taught.
An example of this is when she arranged for a blind high school student to fly independently to the NASA Summer Space Camp, where the student excelled. She relentlessly insists that her students reach their full potential, sometimes believing in their talents more than the students themselves. She is seen as an expert and often called on by districts and colleagues to provide advice and guidance on how best to reach students that face challenges. Her colleagues would agree that she is a true professional, worthy of recognition.
Linda Buschatzke, Seneca Elementary School
Linda Buschatzke is a second grade teacher at Seneca Street Elementary School in Oneida, who has managed to flip her positive, nurturing and structured learning environment into the digital world. Her daily use of Google classroom to engage students has helped them maintain consistency in their education but has also made them feel “at home” with each other. This feeling of belonging is so important for these kids and their excitement to be together shows just how much it is helping.
Linda has worked hard to maintain equity for those without digital access, ensuring that those students are still connected in every way. She has also brought STEAM education to the students remotely by partnering with a local college professor. Students have weekly sessions where they have helped perform experiments, watched chicks hatch, observed tadpoles develop and even built engineering projects at home. Linda works tirelessly every day for both her own family and her Seneca Street family, and her school-wide video creations are bringing students and faculty together in words and song—she is truly a role model of calm in this time of disruption.