Hazelwood teacher named Star 101.5 Teacher of the Week

June 3, 2010

By Tim Pfarr

Star 101.5 DJ Curt Kruse (right) poses with Hazelwood fourth-grade teacher Donald Maher, second from right, Maher’s class and Ronald McDonald after Maher was named the Star 101.5 Teacher of the Week April 30. By Tim Pfarr

April 30 was like any other Friday morning at Hazelwood Elementary School. The morning rush of cars subsided as students made their way to their classrooms and parents signed in late students.

At 10:20 a.m. that day, fourth-grade teacher Donald Maher was just getting into his routine, until a group of outsiders marched into his classroom.

The group consisted of Star 101.5 DJ Curt Kruse, a promotions coordinator from the radio station, a KOMO 4 cameraman with a hulking camera resting on his shoulder and Ronald McDonald. Maher had been named Star 101.5’s Teacher of the Week; his student Christina White had nominated him.

“It came as a complete surprise,” Maher said, adding that the first thing he noticed was the disc jockey’s familiar voice as he walked into the room.

“I was like, ‘How do I know that voice?’” Maher said with a laugh.

It wasn’t long before he saw an oversized check with his name on it, and he knew he was about to be recognized.

As part of the award, Maher received a personalized plaque from Trophies2Go.com, an oversized $100 check from Acura of Seattle at Southcenter, a flight-seeing trip for two from Kenmore Air and an autographed Kelly Jennings Seahawks Jersey from City University of Seattle.

In addition, each student in Maher’s class received a goody bag with prizes, including T-shirts from the radio station, pencils and balsa wood airplanes.

Maher said being recognized for his work is a wonderful bonus to what he loves doing every day as a teacher.

“When it comes from your own student, it makes it that much more special,” he said.

He said he wanted to thank White for her kindness, and he said he was very glad she was also given the opportunity to be put on TV, as she is a very hard worker in the classroom.

“From day one, she’s been a fantastic student,” Maher said.

Cindy White, Christina’s mom, said Christina had been gung-ho about nominating Maher. Cindy White was also on hand for Maher’s surprise.

“It was funny, because she kept bugging me,” Cindy White said about Christina. “She was like, ‘Mom, we have to nominate my teacher.’”

She said she was shocked Maher was selected.

Maher said he now has his oversized check standing atop his dresser at home, as the actual check he will be able to cash will be sent to him in the mail. He also said he plans to take his girlfriend on the flight-seeing trip.

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