Three are Recognized with Excellence in Education Awards

On May 12, two Cuyahoga Height students and one teacher were recognized at the Educational Services Center of Northeast Ohio’s 44th Annual Excellence in Education Awards ceremony.  The awards celebrate students with special needs, their peers, and educators who go the extra mile.  This year’s event was held at Corporate College East in Warrensville Heights.

Outstanding Educator

Cuyahoga Heights speech/language pathologist Kelly Cummins was honored with the Outstanding Educator Achievement Award. This award honors educators who are the exemplars in designing instructional strategies and programs. 

“Cumins is highly knowledgeable, passionate, and driven to help her students succeed,” said George N. Burich, III, director of Pupil Services for the Cuyahoga Heights Schools. “She has a bubbly personality and a unique ability to relate to students of all ages and personalities. She is an excellent leader who is always thinking of each of her students as a whole child and works tirelessly to ensure that their needs are met. She is highly respected by colleagues and parents for her expertise in speech and language services, PBIS behavior support, and the MTSS process. Cummins’ dedication to education and social-emotional learning is palpable, and she is always thinking of innovative ways to improve efficiency and support for students.” 

Outstanding Student

The Outstanding Student Achievement Award acknowledges the efforts of school-age children and youth with special needs in Northeast Ohio. This year’ s recipient from Cuyahoga Heights is eighth grader William Watts.

“William is a dedicated and motivated student who consistently demonstrates strong academic performance and a commitment to learning,” noted Burich. “He actively participates in class, prepares for assignments and assessments, and advocates for himself when he needs assistance. He is well-rounded, engaging in extracurricular activities such as the Board Game Club, where he exhibits appropriate behavior and competitiveness. He is independent and capable, traveling between classes and before/after school. His ability to interact with peers and build positive relationships further demonstrates his strong social skills. Overall, William's academic achievement, self-advocacy, independence, and social skills make him an excellent candidate for this award.”

Outstanding Peer 

The Outstanding Peer Achievement Award recognizes students without disabilities who have established positive relationships and who have assisted other students with disabilities, serving as exemplary role models. Vaya Pumphrey, a seventh grader at Cuyahoga Heights Middle School, is this year’s recipient from Cuyahoga Heights.

“Vaya’s exceptional character is evident through her consistent acts of kindness, inclusiveness, and empathy toward her peers,” remarked Burich. “Her commitment to helping her peers with special needs demonstrates her exceptional character and her willingness to create a supportive and positive school community. Her unpretentious nature and willingness to show concern for her classmates make her a role model for other students, promoting a culture of kindness, inclusiveness, and empathy in the classroom. Overall, Vaya's exceptional character and commitment to creating a positive and supportive school community make her a highly deserving recipient of the Outstanding Peer Achievement Award.”