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SSD Teachers Recognized by Emerson

Nov. 29, 2023 - Lifting up teachers in the St. Louis region for their amazing work in the classroom is an annual endeavor of the Emerson Corporation. The organization’s Excellence in Education Award program recognizes educators in the St. Louis metropolitan area – from kindergarten teachers to college professors – who are examples of excellence in their field. 

This year, six SSD teachers were among those selected to receive recognition from Emerson. Each teacher received an engraved crystal apple and were praised for their professional achievements and commitment to education.

The following educators were selected to receive the Emerson Award in 2023: 

  • As a job skills teacher in SSD’s Vocational Skills Program (VSP) at Neuwoehner High School, Michelle Cantino strives to support her students’ transition into adulthood. She helps create and maintain opportunities for them to get work experience by partnering with business owners and agencies in the community. As a teacher working with students who will access either supported or competitive employment, she strives to provide opportunities that promote growth in communication and other skills needed for success after graduation. In the spring, she was selected by a panel of administrators and teachers as SSD’s 2023 Teacher of the Year!

  • Emily Degenhardt is a team leader at SSD’s South Technical High School. She excels at helping students become successful in their environments by bridging the gap between South Tech and the sending school community. As the Ameren program coordinator, she helps prepare students for full-time employment in entry-level apprenticeships and coordinates opportunities to compete for full-time careers.

  • Rachel Gill teaches students in the deaf/hard-of-hearing program at Parkway’s Bellerive Elementary School through the lens of social skills, pragmatics, and language. Her vocabulary targets the needs of her students while teaching them how to interact and function with others. She goes above and beyond to ensure that materials are easily accessible for all families and students, translating every communication into Spanish. Additionally, she has served as a coach for student-athletes, chair of the diversity and inclusion team, data team leader, and a teacher mentor.

  • Angie Harrell is an amazing leader in the health sciences department at SSD’s South Tech High School. Her multidimensional role as a health sciences teacher is highly respected by community healthcare partners, including Barnes Jewish Community Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital, and the Parkway and Rockwood school districts. She teaches a diverse group of students who are interested in learning about a variety of pre-professional medical careers. She serves on her building’s leadership team and has been a new teacher mentor.

  • Kelsey Lang is an SSD teacher who creates learning experiences that are meaningful and engaging for her special education students at Parkway’s Barretts Elementary School. Some of her students are focused on functional skills, others on academics. No matter what the educational programming is, she is dedicated to preparing her students for their middle school experience. Her classroom is considered a model classroom for other teachers and paraprofessionals in Parkway School District.

  • Kristin Vergano is a leader at South Tech High School who created a rigorous training program that produces top-notch graduates. As a dental sciences teacher, she has built relationships with a broad network of dental professionals in the St. Louis region. These relationships are vital for securing internships and volunteer opportunities for her students. In addition to her teaching duties, she serves on the building leadership team and the school's equity team.

Emerson is a St. Louis-based company specializing in global technology and engineering.