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Rotary honors top educators

"South Whidbey Rotary honored educators at its May 8 meeting. In back are Doug Hale, intermediate school principal (left), and Mark Racicot, high school teacher. In front from the left are Greg Willis, middle school principal, Jan Mahaffey, middle school teacher, Bernie Mahar, primary school principal, Bev Wills, primary school teacher, Kathy Callahan, intermediate school teacher, and Mike Johnson, high school principal.Jim Larsen /staff photoThe South Whidbey Rotary Club honored educators at their May 8 meeting, treating public school principals and teachers to breakfast and presenting a gift certificate to each of the four outstanding teachers in attendance.The principal at each South Whidbey public school spoke glowingly of this year's honored teachers -- in each case, a veteran of the South Whidbey School District.The outstanding teacher at the primary school was long-time first grade teacher Bev Wills, whose teaching skills were praised by school principal Bernie Mahar.From the intermediate school, the honoree was Kathy Callahan. She's great with kids, she treats them all like family, said Doug Hale, principal. She always says yes. The truth is we have to know when to stop asking or she'll burn herself out.Greg Willis, middle school principal, lauded the efforts of math teacher Jan Mahaffey. She does an extremely exemplary job in the classroom, he said, citing her 12 years of experience in the school. In addition, she works closely with the district as a teachers' union representative and played an important part in introducing the new Connected Math curriculum to the school. She's just a wonderful lady, and she loves kids, Willis said.High school teacher Mark Racicot was applauded for his 29 years of teaching math, science and, more recently, astronomy.The kids are clamoring to get into his classes, said Mike Johnson, principal, who himself had Racicot for a teacher in his high school days. He creates relevance for the kids.Barbara Schneeman, school board member, took the opportunity to thank the principals for their compassion and dedication, it's overwhelming. She told the Rotarians, If you want to know the state of South Whidbey schools, it's outstanding.Last week was the Rotary Club's teacher appreciation week. Besides honoring teachers at their breakfast gathering they displayed a banner across Maxwelton Road to express appreciation for the teachers' efforts. "

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