Mr. Bertsch Receives 2017 Teaching In Excellence Award
Posted On:
Wednesday, February 01, 2017

CONGRATULATIONS to Mr. Gregory Bertsch, 1st grade teacher at East Street School on being selected to receive the 2017 Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award.  Bertsch began his career in the Ludlow Public Schools in 2010 when he was hired as a math tutor at Veterans Park School.  In 2011 he was offered, and accepted, 1st grade teaching position at East Street School.

Prior to embarking on a teaching career Bertsch spent several years in the retail business and coaching youth sports. “During that time I discovered how rewarding it was to work with kids,” shared Bertsch.  “At one time I was a student in the physical therapy program. During that time I was tutoring and teaching a lab. My professor took me aside one day and made the simple statement that maybe I would make a good teacher;  it changed the direction of my life. My professor passed on but I honor her memory by trying to create a classroom that is as engaging as she was. I believe that teaching kindness to kids is one of the most important things we can do.”

When speaking of Bertsch’s dedication and teaching excellence, East Street Principal, Mr. Thomas Welch shared, "I appreciate Greg's desire to improve his craft as a teacher and his genuine concern for his students' well-being. He is always looking for ways to engage his students to make their learning experiences more positive and productive."

Of her colleague, fellow 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Jill Damtoft remarked, “Greg spreads kindness in every community he is a member of.  His generosity to be available and present knows no limits;  proven by students and parents from previous years staying in contact with him and regularly returning for visits.”

Bertsch continually works at getting better at his craft and recently completed his masters degree as a reading specialist from American International College.  “He not only delivers the curriculum content to his students but develops lessons addressing their social/emotional learning as well,” commented Welch.  “Students appreciate strategies like his ‘kindness ripples’ and his caring approach to their well-being. He practices mindfulness with his students everyday. When you enter his classroom you may see him using his puppet, Mr. Einstein, or playing a musical instrument to engage his students in the lesson.”

In addition to his classroom responsibilities Bertsch also  has been actively involved in planning, preparing and implementing school wide initiatives such as family night and grade level community meetings. Outside of school Bertsch is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys scuba diving, hiking, mountain climbing, practicing yoga/meditation and travelling the world with his wife, Cheryl, daughter Valerie and two sons, Nikolas and Samual, to learn about and experience different cultures and lifestyles.

“I believe it’s time the kindness ripples that Greg spreads through his students and teaching peers comes back to Greg, himself,” shared Damtoft. “He should be be acknowledged for the excellence in teaching he demonstrates daily.”

 Mr. Bertsch receives congratulations from East Street Principal, Mr. Thomas Welch, LPS Superintendent, Dr. Todd Gazda, and his students!

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