Piqua names ‘Teacher of the Year’

PIQUA — Sarah Fromholt, art teacher at Piqua Central Intermediate School, was recently named the Piqua City School District’s Teacher of the Year.

The result came as a surprise to Fromholt, who, hearing a knock on her window, went to investigate. As she opened her outside facing door, she was greeted by nearly 800 students and staff members, as well as friends and family who had snuck outside for the award ceremony.

“I’m overwhelmed,” said Fromholt on being named Teacher of the Year. “I work with so many wonderful educators who just absolutely pour their hearts out to our children. It’s just an honor to be included with anybody who works in our district.”

Fromholt has been in the district for 17 years and has helped organize the last 13 district art shows. The most recent of which featured her 55-foot mural depicting people of local and national importance. The mural was designed to encourage students character development by prominently displaying role models in the school. With the help of Piqua’s media students, the mural also features QR codes that link to videos about the subjects.

Her role as a teacher has grown to more than just an educator.

“I am not as concerned as teaching them about the Mona Lisa as I am giving them an outlet and a safe way to express themselves. Art is a subject that is less about right or wrong answers and is more about solving problems,” said Fromholt.

Solving problems is something Fromholt has been wont to do as an educator. In one of her favorite projects, claymation videos, when lacking the technology, she improvised using powerpoint slideshows set to pass at fractions of a second. This type of creative problem solving is what she seeks to impart on her students.

Teacher of the Year is a way to recognize the achievements and hard work of instructors that often goes unnoticed. But this year, Fromholt was noticed with Superintendent Dwayne Thompson — in a congratulatory press release — saying, “Her personal talents will amaze you, and they have inspired a countless number of students to showcase their own talents that they didn’t even know they had!”

Additional awards at Piqua City Schools this year include:

• Shelli Mitchell was named the 2022 Piqua Support Staff Member of the Year. Mitchell serves as an administrative assistant at Piqua High School.

“Her compassion to serve our students is immense,” Thompson said in a press release. One of her nominations reads, “Shelli is a miracle worker and knows more about our in-need kids than anyone. She’s incredibly thoughtful and kind, the kids love her, and she goes above and beyond to be there for the ones that need her.” Her work has reached out to the community at large and has connected Piqua schools to a number of resources.

• Ryan King of Can’t Stop Running was nominated and selected as the 2022 Piqua Friend of the Schools. King has supported a number of Piqua schools with running programs, shoes, and volunteering his time. One of King’s nominations says, “He helps with our races and donates to our club. He is just one reason we still have a club.”

Another nomination says, “From elementary to high school, he and his business have donated time and resources to support students with their running. He helps with timing the third-grade races each year, supports the run club at PCIS, and provides discounts to countless students that need shoes to support their running. He also promotes running in local races with our students. His sponsorships and advocacy for our students is a great asset that we should not overlook! Finally, he and his family donated their time during COVID to help distribute food to families from our cafeterias. This was a great help when everything shut down in 2020.”

• Aimee Howard and Deanne Benkert were selected as the 2022 Substitute Teachers of the Year.

“We all know how important a good substitute teacher is when we have to miss school. These two standouts received a number of nominations by our district staff. We are thankful for their service!” Thompson said.

• The following individuals were named Coach/Advisors of the Year for 2022: Varsity Football Coach Bill Nees, athletic trainer Katie Smith, and Tom Westfall, director of Choral/Musical Programs.

“As you know, we have a number of outstanding coaches that play a key role in the growth and development of our students. Each of these individuals leave an indelible impression!” Thompson said. “This year, we received a number of nominations from students, their parents, staff, and the community. After voting, the selection committee results were a three-way tie. The decision was made to honor all three of these amazing individuals.”