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Closeup of teacher Bridget Zahradnik wearing a mask.

Bridget Zahradnik was selected as one of three state finalists for the 2020 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Zahradnik has been teaching for 25 years. She and her husband Mark reside in Novi, where she has been teaching for the past 20 years. Her three children attend the Novi Community School District.

Now a fifth grade teacher at Novi Meadows, she has also taught first and third grades. She previously taught in California, Louisiana and Detroit.

She was also a K-4 Spanish teacher at Orchard Hills and Village Oaks when she began her career in the district. 

She currently teaches math and science at Novi Meadows. She is also the district science content area leader for grades K-4 and has worked in the K-12 science team for the past 10 years ensuring science instruction is a priority in our district for elementary students.

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Renea Volmer, flanked by Meadows staff and administrators.

Renea Vollmer, a sixth grade teacher at Novi Meadows, was named Elementary School Teacher of the Year on Monday. 

Renea Vollmer, a sixth grade teacher at Novi Meadows, was named Elementary School Teacher of the Year on Monday. 

Vollmer has been teaching at Novi Meadows for the past twenty-three years.  She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies from the University of Michigan – Dearborn in 1996 and continued on to achieve her Master of Arts in Education from the University of Michigan – Dearborn in 2002.

Principal Lisa Fenchel says that, “Renea Vollmer is a teacher who is passionate about supporting the whole child.  As much as she helps meet students' academic needs, she also takes care of their social/emotional needs.  She has high expectations for her students and they strive to reach them.  She is caring, nurturing, innovative and dependable.  Renea is the ultimate professional and works closely with her colleagues to benefit students.  She is dynamic in the classroom and also finds time to sponsor the Writing Club and Coding club.  She is collaborative and knowledgeable and always is looking to grow and learn as an educator.  We are so fortunate to have Mrs. Vollmer as part of our Meadows team.”

Kari Ellsworth-Carothers, a colleague of Ms. Vollmer, stated that “Ms. Vollmer is a deeply compassionate teacher who is an expert in her subject area and in how to get students to learn.  She loves teaching and goes above and beyond to make student feel their needs are important.  Ms. Vollmer’s passion for any given lesson means that every student will be successful and works hard so every child will succeed. Ms. Vollmer is a problem solver and listens to “Seek First to Understand.”

Amy Jones, one of Ms. Vollmer’s former parents, stated that “Ms. Vollmer is the kind of teacher that every parent hopes their child will have.  She is more than an educator, she is an extension of each student’s family.”  Maddie McDonald, one of Ms. Vollmer’s former students said, “Ms. Vollmer made our classroom an amazingly comfortable learning environment where every single day was fun.  She is kind, compassionate, encouraging person, and her personality carries through her teaching.”

Ms. Vollmer, in her twenty-three years of teaching at Novi Meadows, has formed bonds with colleagues, students, and parents that will live on. Through her compassionate and encouraging nature, she has shown each individual that they are important and that their success matters to her.  This selfless commitment is what earns Ms. Vollmer the deep respect and admiration from students, parents, and teachers.

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