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UCS celebrates its Teachers of the Year
UCS celebrates its Teachers of the Year
Posted on 04/16/2021
Teachers of the Year Photos

Utica Community Schools is proud to recognize the 2021 Teachers of the Year:

·       High School
Michael Satawa
Special Education Teacher
Eisenhower High School

·       Junior High School
Paula LaSala
English Teacher
Jeannette Junior High School/Utica Virtual Academy

·       Elementary
Dawn Nacker
Literacy Coach
Plumbrook Elementary

The Teachers of the Year program is part of a countywide celebration of excellence in public education.

Michael Satawa
UCS High School Teacher of the Year
Special Education
Eisenhower High School

Mr. Satawa is truly passionate and devotes himself entirely to students and their wellbeing. He serves as the school’s Work Study Coordinator to provide students real world experiences. He works closely with Eisenhower High School teachers to drive academic achievement for his students. He works closely with families to provide consistency and understanding of student expectations.

 Mr. Satawa is the type of special services teacher that sees what needs to be done to support his students and jumps into action without hesitation,” parent Kristine Hineman wrote in his nomination. “He has made a huge impact not only in the quality of education, but the quality of life, for my son.”

Eisenhower staff recognize Mr. Satawa as a building leader and effective student advocate.

“Mike Satawa is a dedicated and passionate educator who believes in quality education for all,” according to the nomination. “As a special education teacher, he works hard so that students have the supports and tools they need to be successful academically and emotionally.”

Mr. Satawa previously served Eisenhower as the Girls Basketball coach, earning MAC White Championships and twice being named coach of the year.

Paula LaSala
English Teacher
Jeannette Junior High School and UCS Virtual Academy
UCS Junior High School Teacher of the Year
Macomb County Junior High Teacher of the Year

Mrs. LaSala has a passion for literacy both in her own life and the lives of her students.

At Jeannette, she created SURF - Silent Uninterrupted Reading for Fun – that invites staff, students, and families to engage in active reading for a duration of time during the school day. She invites professional authors on a regular basis to discuss the positive impact of literacy.

Her Jeannette colleagues recognize her for her commitment to using and sharing best practices that develop success and a love of reading in her students.

“She truly has deep compassion for all learners and enthusiasm for teaching,” according to her nomination. “Mrs. LaSala deeply cares for her students, and her mindful application of this is visible in all that she does.”

“You have been one of the greatest highlights of my virtual learning experience,” wrote virtual academy student Izana Chowdhury. “You are one of the reasons I look forward to opening my school laptop.”

Dawn Nacker
Literacy Coach
Plumbrook Elementary School
UCS Elementary Teacher of the Year
Macomb County Elementary Teacher of the Year

Mrs. Nacker is a passionate, dedicated, and knowledgeable educator with incredible leadership qualities. 

She is described as the heart of Plumbrook Elementary, where she is committed to making sure all students have the resources they need to experience literacy success. She has leadership positions both at Plumbrook Elementary and in Utica Community Schools. At Plumbrook, she is an active member of committees that are focused on positive student behavior committee, continuous improvement, March is Reading Month and the Social Emotional needs of students. She is also the District Chairsperson for Elementary Language Arts.

The Plumbrook staff recognize Mrs. Nacker as someone who is there for them in every situation.

“Her passion for education makes everyone around her want to learn, grow and excel,” they wrote in her nomination.  “She is a fantastic teacher, mentor, and motivation for all who come across her.” 

It is a sentiment shared by her students.

“She is very hard working, kind and honest,” said student Adella Dizdarevic. “I think she is an amazing person.”