Mehlville School District’s Teacher of the Year finds new ways to engage students in learning

Mehlville School District’s Teacher of the Year finds new ways to engage students in learning
Posted on 04/21/2023
District-TOY-2023-WEB.pngRodney Gerdes, a social studies teacher at Oakville High School, was named the 2022-2023 Mehlville School District Teacher of the Year at the Recognition Night ceremony on April 20, 2023.

In addition to his work in the classroom, Gerdes also serves as social studies department chair and a golf coach, is on the school’s leadership team and plans professional development for his fellow staff members. Over the years, he has helped to provide new opportunities for students by spearheading efforts to bring more Advanced Placement and elective courses to Oakville High School.

“Gerdes is able to connect to his students, try new things and develop relationships with his kids while still holding them accountable,” said Brian Brennan, Oakville High School principal.

Gerdes, who is a graduate of Oakville High School, was originally hired in the district as a substitute teacher in 1996 before accepting a full-time teaching position at Oakville High School. He is committed to evolving his teaching practices to meet the changing needs of his students.
Rodney Gerdes speaks to students
Image: Gerdes listens as two students explain their plans for a project. 

“He has taught here for a long time, but he’s constantly reevaluating the best way to teach and looking at his lesson plans and activities to make them more impactful,” said Kara Beck, Oakville High School social studies teacher. “He is able to adjust his teaching to the way his students learn, which is changing constantly.” 

Students notice the work that Gerdes does to make topics interesting and relevant for them.

“Economics can be a boring topic sometimes, but he designs simulations and activities for class to keep things fresh and engaging,” said Thomas Kallaos, Oakville High School senior. “It makes it easier to think about difficult topics.”

Gerdes is excited to have the opportunity to represent the district he graduated from as the Teacher of the Year.

“Mehlville has provided a lot of freedom within the classroom to experiment with new ways to engage kids in learning,” said Gerdes. “Everybody here is some kid’s teacher of the year. I’m happy to carry the mantle, but I feel this award is representative of a lot more people.” 

Gerdes will represent Mehlville School District in the state teacher of the year selection process.

“We are lucky to have someone as dedicated to Oakville High School and the Mehlville School District as part of our team,” said Dr. Jeff Bresler, Assistant Superintendent, Supervision of Schools. “Rodney is truly passionate about teaching. Whether it is students or adults, he wants everyone to grow. He provides amazing opportunities for the students and staff at OHS.”

Related Stories: 
Mehlville School District’s Teacher of the Year builds lasting, meaningful relationships with students (April 2022)
Mehlville School District’s Teacher of the Year creates an inclusive environment for all students (April 2021)
Connections are key for Mehlville School District’s Teacher of the Year (May 2020)
World-traveling English teacher named Mehlville School District Teacher of the Year (May 2019)

Our Teachers and Classified Employees of the Year
At Recognition Night, the district also honored all of the school-level Teachers and Classified Employees of the Year for the 2022-2023 school year. Congratulations to these incredible members of the Mehlville School District family! 

Teachers of the Year
Amanda Tresner, Mehlville Early Childhood teacher
Tammy Hagely, Beasley Elementary first-grade teacher
Jennifer Wyatt, Bierbaum Elementary first-grade teacher
Shannon Kress, Blades Elementary kindergarten teacher
Caitlyn Touchette, Forder Elementary kindergarten teacher
Carrie Kendrick, Hagemann Elementary counselor
John Trankle, MOSAIC Elementary academic interventionist
Michelle Bridgewater, Oakville Elementary fourth-grade teacher
Corbyn Stockmann, Point Elementary first-grade teacher
Ellen Smith, Rogers Elementary speech/language teacher
Jason Gillick, Trautwein Elementary PE teacher
Megan Geisler, Wohlwend Elementary kindergarten teacher
Erin Gaubatz, Bernard Middle English language arts teacher
Cheryl Tentschert, Buerkle Middle social studies teacher
Brittany Collins, Oakville Middle science teacher
Dan Haertling, Washington Middle science teacher
Christy Huettenmeyer, At Home virtual kindergarten teacher
Anissa Quilling, Mehlville High vocal music teacher
Rodney Gerdes, Oakville High social studies teacher
Ryan Boyd, SCOPE business teacher

Classified Employees of the Year
Heather Block, Mehlville Early Childhood social worker
Thomas Hernandez, Beasley Elementary paraprofessional
Dragica Dizdarevic, Bierbaum Elementary bilingual specialist
Jennifer Ross, Blades Elementary secretary
Shaun Williams, Forder Elementary cafeteria recess monitor
Ryan Hitchell, Hagemann Elementary paraprofessional
Colleen Stebe, MOSAIC Elementary nurse
Heather Sell, Oakville Elementary paraprofessional
Linda Beattie, Point Elementary cafeteria manager
Lindsey DeRoy, Rogers Elementary secretary
Melissa Whitehead, Trautwein Elementary secretary
Audra Berry, Wohlwend Elementary teaching assistant
Joe Coco, Bernard Middle custodian
Donna Tuegel, Buerkle Middle paraprofessional
Kerry Harr, Oakville Middle custodian
Bob Mitchell, Washington Middle custodian
Nancy Daake, Mehlville High paraprofessional
Chris Vitale, Oakville High registrar
Wendy Williams, Scope secretary

Elijah Runion, Facilities Department mechanic
Denis Oric, Technology Department system support specialist
Christine Duncil, Transportation Department bus driver 
Amy Hagedorn, Curriculum Department secretary (Jefferson Barracks)
Hunter Robinson, multimedia communications  specialist (Central Office)


Thank you to our retirees
These incredible men and women are retiring from Mehlville School District at the conclusion of the 2022-2023 school year. Thank you for your years of service to our students, families and community.

- David Foote, Mehlville Early Childhood custodian 
- Robin Plaisance, Mehlville Early Childhood paraprofessional 
- Elizabeth Trimble, Mehlville Early Childhood paraprofessional
- Dawn Bresler, Beasley Elementary English language learner teacher
- Andrea Deane, Beasley Elementary principal
- Douglas Timme, Beasley Elementary art teacher
- Judy Buckley, Bierbaum Elementary second-grade teacher
- Dragica Dizdarevic, Bierbaum Elementary bilingual specialist
- Alison Helmer, Bierbaum Elementary vocal music teacher
- Celeste Pounds, Bierbaum Elementary classroom interventionist
- Shannon Kress, Blades Elementary kindergarten teacher
- Kriste Ludwig, Blades Elementary vocal music teacher
- Lisa Leise, Forder Elementary reading teacher
- Michael Meyer, Oakville Elementary fifth-grade teacher
- Cathy Poole, Point Elementary secretary
- Linda Foote, Rogers Elementary custodian
- Gina Figler, Bernard Middle librarian
- Kimberly Reed, Bernard Middle counselor
- Aaron Winklemann, Buerkle Middle custodian
- Stephen Grayson, Oakville Middle math teacher
- Angie Thompson, Washington middle nurse
- Deanne Drew, Mehlville High science teacher
- Bridget Hanson, Mehlville High science teacher
- Pat Holloran, Mehlville High cafeteria technician
- Jay Holtmeyer, Mehlville High language arts teacher
- David Panzeri, Mehlville High math teacher
- Dr. John Siebel, Mehlville high English language learner teacher
- Dr. Tony Valentino, Mehlville High science teacher
- Debra Wibbenmeyer, Mehlville High custodian
- Stephanie Allen, Oakville High science teacher
- William Langley, Oakville High custodian
- Cynthia Rueter, Oakville High math teacher
- Ron Thompson, Oakville High math teacher
- Dr. Chris Gaines, superintendent
- Carol Gettings, bookkeeper
- Diana Gerlica, school bus driver
- Joseph Vavak, school bus driver
- John Yoey, school bus driver
- Al Harris, Witzel custodian

Thank you to our sponsors!
Recognition Night Sponsors

Thank you to the following Platinum and Gold sponsors for their support of district recognition activities: Gianino Family Restaurants, Goodcents, Queen of All Saints Activities Association and Cocos Plumbing.
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