The following testimonial was shared by Finneytown Local Schools in selecting Janelle Sowders as a 2016 Celebrate Teaching Distinguished Educator. 

Janelle Sowders teaches like a rockstar every week and is deserving of recognition of her efforts. Each Sunday evening, she sends out amazingly engaging, standards-based lesson plans to her families outlining the excitement in store for them the following week. She creates all her lessons herself and they shine with her enthusiasm and spirit. 

If you aren't lucky enough to be one of Janelle’s students, no worries, because she brings her enthusiasm to the whole school with outreach activities that involve the entire school community. Over the summer, Janelle created a word of the week program for the school to help our students become more career and college ready. Janelle took it upon herself to extend a school-wide, anti-bullying initiative. She saw a need to provide more support for the victims of bullying and is starting a before school book club to enable those who have been victimized by bullies. Janelle started an annual Honoring Our Veterans Celebration at our school. This is an amazing way for our children to learn how to show gratitude. 

Janelle recently attended SIOP training and shared all the information with the staff through Google Apps. When she learned we would be receiving a new family from Africa, she led the effort to make them feel welcome. She created newcomer boxes for each student with vocabulary flashcards, translation dictionaries, and journals. Janelle has excellent student growth each and every year. She engages her students in a love of literacy and provides a challenging curriculum to prepare them for their transition to the secondary campus. She is a master at building relationships with kids and her positive energy permeates our school. Janelle Sowders makes a lasting difference in our school community.