Mark Leahy, Howell High School Construction Trades instructor, is the 2016-2017 Howell Public Schools Teacher of the Year. He will now represent Howell Public Schools in the Michigan Teacher of the Year competition, and the Howell Board of Education will honor him at a February board meeting.
Each year, Leahy’s students learn the ins and outs of various construction trades as they build a house from the ground up. In addition to the building skills that Leahy teaches his students, he also helps them explore career paths and find employment with reputable companies. Leahy has been a teacher at Howell High School for nine years.
“He (Leahy) works with all children in a positive manner. He actually becomes a “father figure” to them. He inspires his students to do their best. Looks out for them when they get into trouble. He even helps his students with their future plans,” said Kristin Keddle in her nomination letter.
“Mr. Leahy takes the time to get to know all of his students on a personal level. He works with students with all different learning abilities. He provides students with opportunities to be successful. He inspires them to be the best that they can be,” said Mark and Tami Rossman in their nomination letter.
“Mark is an exceptional teacher who is always willing to help his students. In addition to providing his students with real-world experiences through teaching them the various aspects of building a house, he is a mentor and counselor to each student,” said MacGregor. “Day or night, Mark is there to be a listening ear and works tirelessly to ensure that each of his students reaches their full potential.”
“Mark is incredibly deserving of this honor. Each year I am amazed by the quality of the home that his students construct,” said Jason Schrock, Howell High School’s principal. “Outside of the instruction that Mark delivers, he personally works with each student to help them develop a plan for their future, whether that be college or a career in the skills trades. His students leave the Construction Trades program both college and career ready.”
“This is incredibility humbling; I would like to thank each and everyone one of you, including my wife who obviously knew about this. I didn’t have a clue,” Leahy said when he was presented with the award. “I want everyone to know that this is not mine; it’s ours. Every single one of you has touched me equally as much and that is why we can do this for these kids. It is absolutely amazing what happens to them. I want to thank each and every one of you. I will never forget this. This is very very special.”
Leahy was surprised with the Teacher of the Year award by Erin MacGregor, Howell Public Schools superintendent; Jason Schrock, Howell High School principal; Brian McCarthy, Howell High School assistant principal; Mark Sharp, Howell High School assistant principal; Lisa O’Connor, Howell High School Dean of Students; Liza Kelly, Howell Public Schools executive director of labor relations and personnel, Michael Yenshaw, Howell Public Schools Board of Education president; Gregg Gilligan, Howell Public Schools Board of Education trustee; Michelle Radcliffe, Livingston Educational Service Agency director of secondary options and Cindy Masters, Livingston Educational Service Agency secretary to the director of career and technology education. Leahy’s wife and son were also present for the surprise.
A 19-person selection committee of teachers, parents, a principal, central office administrators and a school board member met Oct. 16 to consider 45 Teacher of the Year nominees. After several hours reviewing the nominations, the committee selected Leahy as this year’s winner.