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Teacher Appreciation Tuesday!

As we approach the one-year marker of distance learning we want to honor teachers and staff in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District! Teachers and staff have taken on new technology, distance learning, student mental health issues, and so much more!

Lift Literature is a new non-profit in South Lake Tahoe. Our mission is to ignite the love of reading in every child. We want to upLIFT teachers, parents, and students through this time and encourage a passion for reading.

We asked for teacher/staff shout outs and we were thrilled with the response! We randomly selected two teachers to feature and to receive a gift from one of our community partners.

Leah Stockton, 1st Grade Lake Tahoe Environmental Magnet School

Leah Stockton

Winner! Gift Certificate to Bert’s Café donated by the Drew Family

  • First Grade at Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet School

  • “Literacy is the reason I love teaching” Ms. Stockton

  • Nominated by: Justin Munoz “Thank you for teaching me to read. And, thank you for working so hard this year to teach me. You are the best teacher! – Love, Justin Munoz

Wendy Smalley, 6th Grade, South Tahoe Middle School

Wendy Smalley

Winner! Single Sauna Session at Elevate Wellness Center

  • 6th grade South Tahoe Middle School

  • “Literacy is critical for individual and community well-being”

  • Nominated by Aimee Greear “My daughter Mariiah Jerozal is in 6th grade at South Tahoe Middle School. This year was so exciting for her but the pandemic definitely put a damper on her excitement for her first year at the middle school. She was very unmotivated and NOT looking forward to logging on the first day of school until she had her last class of the day with Wendy Smalley. Her mood changed instantly and she was all smiles! This teacher was so positive and full of inspiration. At the end of this class Mariiah logged out and said, “I can’t wait to log back on tomorrow morning to see her again!” It was attitude and life changing for my 12 year old. It took that one teacher to make such a difference in her life. And as a single mom working full time it meant the world to me as well. Since then Mariiah has tried her best in school given these trying times. Her grades have been A’s and B’s and she shows up everyday willing and ready. I can’t thank this teacher enough for her love, support, and positive attitude with our children”

Join us in honoring these teachers and staff for all that they do!

Ms. Maggie Fowle

I would like to nominate our 5th grade teacher Ms Maggie Fowle at the Magnet school because we think she is awesome. Our teacher has shown true love of her profession as she teaches two different types of learning platforms while providing her students with guidance and care. With our new Canvas app I am able to see that many a night she is grading papers at midnight and starts her day a little early so her students can talk to her before school starts. Rosie, my daughter says she thinks her teacher is really strong, patient and courageous because Ms. Fowle believes the kids can do things beyond their abilities. - Samantha Fried

Mrs. Benavidez & Brittainy Lehman

Melissa Benavidez is a wonderful teacher and friend and I could not have survived distance learning without her! Our team this year of her and Brittainy Lehmann and myself work so well together. We are able to help each other out whenever needed. That is the best thing about teaching...everyone helps out no matter the situation. I wanted to LIFTup my team partners, Melissa and Brittainy! Without them, I could never have done this last year! - Stacy Hembree

Mrs. Rider

I wanted to give a shout out to Mrs. Rider at Sierra House. Her patience, love for the kids and endurance to stay consistent and motivated each day through the pandemic is amazing to observe. My 2nd grade student is thriving and loves all things school thanks to the example she sets. - Jennifer Sunzeri

Mr. Henderson

Mr. Henderson at Sierra House is juggling a 4th/5th grade combo and killing it. The expectations he has for the now "older kids" has made for a seamless transition into the upper grades. My child is also loving all things hybrid/ distance learning and enjoys what they are learning this year. She appreciates Mr. Henderson's sense of humor and occasional costumes. - Jennifer Sunzeri

Mrs. Stockton

I’d like to give a shout out to my son’s first grade teacher at the Magnet School. Her name is Mrs. Stockton, and she has been amazing during this challenging time. She always has a really positive attitude, makes herself available for students and parents whenever they need anything, and is super thorough and reliable with weekly or daily communication when needed to explain upcoming changes and make sure her students and their families are well prepared. She’s also an amazing teacher, and all her students (and their parents) love her! - Theresa Cody

Mrs. Stockton

For Leah Stockton (1st grade) Thank you for being a truly outstanding teacher for us last year in Kindergarten, and this year in first grade. You are kind; you listen; you make time; you support; you engage; you have fun. And most of all: everything that you do, shows how much you love teaching and your students, and how much you care. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, The McLean Family

Ms. Thorne

Frany Thorne is a wonderful teacher. Not only is she genuinely kind and knowledgeable about teaching, but she is also very flexible and accommodating for our struggling learners. Her easy going/positive attitude has been so refreshing during such a tough school year. - Chelsea Cashner

Ms. Ashmore

Thank you Ms. Ashmore for always being available for these kids, and for all the heart and soul that you put into teaching these 4th graders! You rock! - Aimee Lorincz

Chelsea Cashner

She goes above and beyond to help my child get extra support she needs! - Melissa Benavidez

Alisa Zertuche

Her title may not be teacher but she has gone way above her job title and teaches kids everyday in the staff childcare! - Melissa Benavidez

Nikki Daniel

She is our school librarian yet she has taken on the role of childcare for staff children. She works so hard to make a positive experience for our kids during this crazy time. -Melissa Benavidez

Wendy Smalley

Even with everything she has been going through she shows up for kids and cares about their well being. She’s available to help whenever! -Melissa Benavidez

Melissa James

I’d love to give a shout out to Melissa James at Bijou for her unwavering energy in keeping kids engaged with their school library during this trying time with virtual school.

I get to listen in to my daughter’s virtual library sessions & am thrilled with the content Ms. James provides. My daughter always looks forward to library & we have the best discussions about the books and topics Ms James covers afterwards. - Jamie Orr

Ms. Moon

Ms. Moon we truly appreciate you and all that you do and are so grateful you are our child’s teacher. You are such a positive bright light in her life! Thanks! - Ginger Abeliuk Mom of Juniper Abeliuk

Mrs. Hembree

Thank you Mrs. Hembree (LTESMS 3rd grade) for being such a great teacher! Your class is so much fun and I am so glad I am in it! Thank you so much! - Giada L.


Shout out to Berkshire (STHS English) for keeping the whole family entertained during distance learning! Your enthusiasm and energy was much appreciated last semester!

Coach Goldberg

Shout out to Coach Goldberg (STHS Exercise Science) for keeping us healthy and strong! Go Vikings!

Mrs. Molesworth

Thank you Mrs. Molesworth (STMS Language Arts) for making class enjoyable and giving good assignments. Thanks for the extra inspirational messages and encouragement to keep us motivated during these tough times. From Gabby L

Mr. Blachman

Thank you Mr. Blachman for always making class fun. I love your positive attitude and your funniness. From Gabby L

If you would like to submit a teacher or staff shout-out please email them to and we will publish them in our next Teacher Appreciation Tuesday!

Lift Literature is a new non-profit in South Lake Tahoe. Our mission is to ignite the love of reading in every child. If you would like to learn more please visit us at or follow Lift Literature on Facebook or Instagram.

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