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3rd Grade Teacher is Ohio Teacher of the Year Finalist

Congratulations to Lakeview Elementary School third grade teacher, Melissa Kmetz - she has been selected as the 2023 Ohio Teacher of the Year Candidate for the State Board of Education’s District 7! Kmetz is one of 11 candidates who will now try to become the next Ohio Teacher of the Year!

“Lakeview Schools is thrilled to learn that Melissa Kmetz has been recognized as Ohio's Region 7 Teacher of the Year,” says Superintendent Velina Jo Taylor. “Her ability to inspire children to be avid learners is remarkable, and her commitment to them is unfailing. We wish her all the best as she competes for the Ohio Teacher of the Year recognition. We are beyond proud of her accomplishments.”

Since its inception in 1964, the Ohio Teacher of the Year program annually identifies exceptional teachers statewide celebrating their effective work in and outside the classroom. The mission of the program is to provide opportunities for professional learning to exemplary teachers as leaders and advocates for public education. Anyone may nominate a teacher for the award.

Selected teachers move through two levels of recognition: (1) the State Board District Teacher of the Year as a regional recognition and (2) the Ohio Teacher of the Year as the state-level recognition. The Ohio Teacher of the Year program is a two-year opportunity. The first year is dedicated to recognition, celebration, and professional development. The second year is dedicated to service to Ohio as a Teacher Fellow at the Department of Education. 

A candidate for the Ohio Teacher of the Year (OTOY) is eligible for the distinction if they hold a valid Ohio Professional Teaching License or a Career Technical Teaching License; have taught a minimum of nine years, currently working in their tenth year of teaching; working a minimum of 120 days in the current school year; employed full-time in a state-approved public school, community school or career-technical center. Candidates also must work directly with students at least 50 percent of the time, have received no previous Ohio Teacher of the Year recognition and plan to continue in active teaching status. 

The Ohio Teacher of the Year candidate has the respect and admiration of their colleagues and: 

  1. Is an expert in their field who guides students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve excellence.  
  2. Collaborates with colleagues, students, and families to create a school culture of respect and success.  
  3. Deliberately connects the classroom and key stakeholders to foster a strong community at large. 
  4. Demonstrates leadership and innovation in and outside of the classroom walls that embodies lifelong learning; and  
  5. Expresses themselves in an engaging and clear way. 

Kmetz is going into her 17th year of teaching third grade at Lakeview Elementary School, and her 19th year of teaching overall. She graduated from Campbell Memorial High School in 1999 and obtained a full academic scholarship to Youngstown State University. She graduated in May 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and in 2007, obtained a Master of Science in Education with a specialty in Reading from Youngstown State University.

Kmetz began her teaching career in the Salem City School district where she taught kindergarten for one year and first grade for two years. She then accepted a teaching position in Lakeview in the fall of 2006 and has been with the district ever since.

Kmetz says, “I strive to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment for all students while sparking their interest and enthusiasm in learning. It is my goal to teach all students how to learn, not just what to learn. The most important lessons learned in our classroom won't always be academic ones. It is incredibly important to me that students embrace kindness and compassion and strive to make the world a better place. I want them to learn they are never too young to make a difference in the lives of others.” 

Congratulations Miss Kmetz!