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Westerville Education Foundation Names Teachers of the Month for March

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Westerville Education Foundation has named three educators Teacher of the Month for March – Tonia Tombaugh, Longfellow Elementary; Jennifer Hesseltine, Blendon Middle School; and Jessica Waites, Westerville North High School.  Regardless of all the preparation a family may take, sending their first child to Kindergarten is a milestone that leaves most parents simply wanting to know that everything is going to be just fine.  For Emma Dietrich, that comforting support comes from All-Day-Kindergarten teacher Tonia Tombaugh, who she describes as “super helpful,” “an inspiration to my child,” and “a great teacher overall.”  Emma wrote that her daughter is always sharing the fun activities done in class, like a popcorn party for meeting a shared goal, and that she also loved being nominated as the classroom computer helper.  Thanks to Mrs. Tombaugh’s efforts, Emma knows that her daughter is grasping the fundamentals of education.  “She is constantly available whenever I have emailed her regarding my daughter and her school work,” Emma wrote.  “For my first child being in school she has assured me in every way possible that my daughter is on the right track of learning.”  The use of a reward system for being kind, helpful, or doing a good deed is also popular with students.  “She always finds a way to make (my daughter) happy when she has been sad for any reason,” Emma wrote.  “She is great at her job and I hope she knows it.” Nominator Megan Frate said her son had a different favorite teacher from earlier in his school career until this year.  “Ms. Hesseltine has become the highlight of my son’s day,” she wrote.  “He loves her yoga mats and ‘cool’ classroom atmosphere.”  In addition to enjoying the inviting and comfortable academic space in his classroom, Megan said her son knows that Ms. Hesseltine is a person he can turn to for guidance or to simply vent during a difficult day.  She provides leadership opportunities for him and also goes the extra mile to ensure her son’s school work is appropriately challenging while tailoring her instruction to fit his learning needs.  “Ms. Hesseltine has a unique spark that affects her students and the families of her students,” Megan wrote.  “I can tell through our conversations that she is excited about my son’s learning along with us.”  Megan said her son received a strong mathematical foundation while attending Cherrington Elementary School and Ms. Heseltine is building on it.  “It makes me feel very lucky and blessed to be part of Westerville City Schools,” she wrote. Nominated anonymously by one of her chemistry students, Jessica Waites is being recognized for her ability to teach in a way that everyone can understand.  “She always has a positive attitude and she is enthusiastic about learning,” her nominator wrote.  “Her constant upbeat attitude makes us have an upbeat attitude as well.”  The nominator shared that Ms. Waites works hard to provide as much individualized attention as possible to ensure lessons are being learned.  “She goes around to every student and asks them if they understand what we learned that day,” her nominator wrote.  “It’s really special because every students learns at different paces and may not pick up so quickly.”  The Westerville Education Foundation’s Teacher of the Month Program is sponsored by Education First Credit Union and ThisWeek Community News, with support from Otterbein University.  The Mission of the Westerville Education Foundation is to enrich the learning experience and broaden the minds of our students through the funding and support of innovative educational programs.  To nominate, give or join, please visit

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