McDowell Intermediate High School
I nominate Ashley Kuzma because she is the definition of a dedicated teacher. She was diagnosed with rare throat cancer in 2017 (never a smoker). She underwent 29 radiation treatments a partial laryngectomy then a total laryngectomy (2018) with more rounds of radiation and chemo. In between surgeries and treatment she continued to return to what she loves most–teaching. Ashley teaches Gifted Support at MIHS in the Millcreek School District in Erie PA. She challenges students to reach their potential by creating differentiated lessons/activities based on their needs and interests. She prepares these students for senior high and beyond. Prior to becoming the Gifted Support teacher she taught Social Studies so traveling to historical sites and absorbing the history is part of her passion. She has a true sense of adventure and a desire to learn. Her students recognize this genuine interest and it makes her teaching truly authentic. Ashley has recently learned that cancer has returned and the treatment outlooks are slim yet she continues to teach and make a difference. She is looking to enjoy every moment of every day and try to check items off her bucket list. I do not know anyone who is more deserving.