Middle school teacher Rhonda Spotanski was selected as one of the 2014 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award recipients.

Spotanski, who earned her bachelor’s degree in education in 1998 and master’s degree in education in 2003 from the University of Missouri–St. Louis, teaches sixth-grade English language arts at Hazelwood West Middle School in the Hazelwood (Mo.) School District.

She is also involved with the HOME WORKS! program where she visits students at home to work with parents to help them help their child be successful in school, which she considers the best part of her job. A 16-year veteran of Hazelwood School District, Spotanski has presented on behalf of West Middle and the school district including professional development workshops on topics like rigor and the Common Core.

“Building relationships and making sure my students know I care about each and every one of them as an individual is something that comes naturally, and I thoroughly enjoy that the most,” Spotanski said.

The Hazelwood School District serves nearly 20,000 students and is the second largest district in St. Louis County. Communities in the district include Hazelwood, Black Jack, Spanish Lake, a large section of Florissant, portions of Bridgeton, Bellefontaine Neighbors and Ferguson, and several square miles of unincorporated St. Louis County.

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Jen Hatton

Jen Hatton

Eye on UMSL: Moonshadow
Eye on UMSL: Moonshadow

More than 300 students, faculty, staff and friends gathered for a Solar Eclipse Watch Party on the UMSL campus on April 8.

Eye on UMSL: Moonshadow

More than 300 students, faculty, staff and friends gathered for a Solar Eclipse Watch Party on the UMSL campus on April 8.

Eye on UMSL: Moonshadow

More than 300 students, faculty, staff and friends gathered for a Solar Eclipse Watch Party on the UMSL campus on April 8.