Laura Ziemer was nominated by Samantha Mangin, the parent of a student.
Ms. Ziemer taught Ms. Mangin's son, Blake, in early childhood when he started school at the age of three. He is now five years old and still has Ms. Ziemer throughout the day for special education. There are numerous ways she makes a huge difference in his life!
Blake has autism and needs extra help in the school setting. Ms. Ziemer is always looking and evaluating new techniques to help Blake calm his body and get ready to learn. This is his biggest struggle. She has also created lots of awesome visual aids to help him become independent with his day and know his routine in order to avoid surprises. Not knowing what’s going to happen during the day might not be a big deal to a typical child, but it can literally shut Blake down and ruin his day.
"She is also willing to reach out to see if we have any ideas to help Blake during a particular situation that may have happened at school. Her number one priority is the success of her students and it really shines," said Mangin.
Ms. Ziemer’s positivity, as well as her upbeat energy, patience, and enthusiasm, add to her school's atmosphere.
"There have been times where I have picked up Blake after a bad day, and she has a way of lifting all of our spirits and ensuring us that tomorrow will be better because it’s a new day. She always leaves Blake on a positive note and makes sure to express how proud she is of him," said Mangin. "You can tell by talking to her how much enthusiasm she has as an educator. She always has a positive spin at our IEP mettings. It is very difficult to hear negative things about your child, but she always builds us up and helps us see things in a positive light. She always closes emails with the phrase, “Keep smiling.” This is truly a reflection of the educator she is!
Ms. Ziemer's leadership skills are demonstrated through having her own early childhood class and being able to step in when a child is having a difficult time. She is also an amazing resource for children with special needs as the special education teacher. She is able to know what the particular child needs and step in to assist them. Ms. Ziemer is also the commissioner of the Miracle League of the Lakeshore, a baseball league for children and young adults of all abilities in Manitowoc county. She truly shines on the field, and her smile and laughter are contagious!
"She has an amazing gift of making every child feel like they are the star of the show when up to bat. We always leave Blake’s games with a smile," said Mangin.
Ms. Ziemer always maintains a professional attitude. She is always talking up her co-workers.
"I have never heard her say a negative thing about anyone in or out of school. She is always very professional and timely in all communications email, phone, and Blake’s communication notebook," said Mangin. "I admire that about her because I’m sure it’s not easy with all of her tasks in and out of school, not to mention her own family to tend to."
There is no doubt that Ms. Ziemer is committed to producing a nurturing atmosphere. She is always making sure the students are feeling encouraged and safe at school. She encourages positive behavior and does not dwell, punish, or react in a negative fashion to negative behaviors that are going to occur from time to time. Ms. Ziemer will talk with Blake and have him understand why his behavior is negative and how it can affect others, but will not use a negative response to correct it. She gets on his level and uses various techniques to calm him. Blake can get a bit anxious when there is free time at school, but Ms. Ziemer makes sure he has something to do or someone to play with and isn’t just left to wander around alone in the classroom.
"Laura always adheres to moral and ethical standards. She is never someone who talks negatively about other people. She is the person talking up her fellow teachers, aids, and school staff," said Mangin. "Laura would never talk in a negative manner regarding a student or family member. She is truly someone we can trust and count on!"
"In closing, I met Laura at a 3 year old screening that I brought Blake to. I was filled with fear and anxiety, having autism at the forefront of my mind," said Mangin. "It was a hard time in our lives, and that day was a full representation of our situation. The evaluation did not go well, and I was very upset, but Laura was a shining angel that day! With her positive, comforting demeanor, I knew our son would thrive in this environment with her. He has come such a long way in two years, and we definitely have Laura to thank! She is truly a blessing in our lives!"