FOLEY – The Vosloh Foundation, founded in 2008, was established by Sue and David Vosloh to give back to the Foley community by honoring civil servants. The awards began with the Foley Police Officer of the Year and the Foley High School Teacher of the Year, who would each receive $1,000 with the taxes paid by their employers. The Foundation has grown over the years to now include not only the Police Department and the High School, but also the Fire Department, Foley Elementary, Foley Intermediate, and Foley Middle.
Starting in 2012 the Vosloh Foundation partnered with the Foley Rotary Club, which now provides funds for one of the six awards with the Foundation providing the rest.
“In 13 years, Foley continues to be the only place in the state of Alabama where outstanding civil servants get a one-thousand-dollar bonus, not just a certificate to hang on the wall, but actual money that they’re able to spend on themselves,” said David Vosloh.
FOLEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
The first award went to Foley Elementary School Teacher of the Year Kasey Peterson, who has been teaching for 12 years and is currently the special education teacher at the school.
“She is loved by students, coworkers, parents and friends for the warmth and love she shows for them,” said Principal Michelle Moore. “She’s considerate, kind and compassionate, she truly has a servant’s heart and a deep devotion for her students.”
Peterson plans to use her award money to visit her sister who has recently moved to Santa Monica.
“The fact that my peers voted for me is super empowering as a teacher,” she said. “I feel like Foley Elementary as a whole is doing amazing things for the kids, and for them to recognize me and to say that I’m doing something special was the best honor for a teacher.”
FOLEY INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL
Amy McLlellan is the Teacher of the Year at Foley Intermediate School. She has been teaching for 22 years in general education and gifted education, and has recently started looking to move into administration.
“Amy is the most positive teacher on our campus,” said Principal Shannon McCurdy. “Our teachers go to her for advice or for a kind word, our kids look up to her and have such a great relationship with her, she always has kind words to say to everybody, and she’s a blessing not only to the kids but to the staff and faculty.”
McLlellan is in charge of the school’s morning broadcast and is working to make Foley Intermediate a STEM certified school, stating technology is the future and the students deserve to have as many opportunities open to them as they can. She and her husband will use the award money to take a trip to San Antonio, Texas later this year.
“It’s a real honor to be a teacher, and I know some of you may look at it as a position that requires a lot of patience, and it does, but it’s also to me the noblest of professions and the most fulfilling,” she said. “I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I have a supportive principal who has allowed me to do new and different things to change the culture in a positive way in our school.”
FOLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL
Dawn Dunbar is the Teacher of the Year at Foley Middle School, where she has embraced the school’s Leader In Me program and worked on building relationships with her students.
“Dawn took on the Leader In Me program, and it’s not that you’re trying to change everybody, but you’re trying to change yourself,” said Principal Danny McDuffie. “Just to see the change that’s come over her, and the teachers recognize what she’s doing with the kids and how she’s changed inside.”
Dunbar has been teaching for 17 years, and is currently a social studies teacher. With the money she plans to take her two grandchildren to visit London.
“I hope the students learn something from me, but at this point, especially with Leader In Me, I want to build relationships,” she said. “I love my job with these kids, and the people I work with are awesome. We all work together. The Leader In Me has truly been a life-preserver for me these last few years.”
FOLEY HIGH SCHOOL
Foley High School’s 2020 Teacher of the Year is Coach Stan Shotts, who has been teaching for 7 years and took on a role he never imagined when he came to the high school.
“He’s a social studies teacher by trade, but when he got here I said what I really needed was someone to work with the kids who struggle the most with English,” said Principal Russ Moore. “Now he teaches both social studies and English for our kids who have already failed English.”
On average Shotts teaches 40 students in two classes who have previously failed English, and Moore says the one-on-one time during the repeat class has shown tremendous results.
“I’ve learned there’s a lot going on at home with these kids that we just don’t understand or get the full picture of,” Shotts said. “When we can talk with students and learn more about their situations, they’re more willing to do things for us. In my classroom I’ve had a lot of success getting these students to read, to participate, to work together, and I think a lot of that is I get that opportunity to spend that one-on-one time with them, learn about their situation and have those discussions with them.”
With the money, Shotts and his wife have started a college fund for their newborn son.
FOLEY FIRE DEPARTMENT
The Foley Firefighter of the Year is Carter Chemielewski, who was recommended and nominated by two of Chief Joey Darby’s command staff. Darby said coworkers described Chemielewski as having a “strong work ethic, dependability, positive attitude, self-motivation, and team oriented.”
“Those are characteristics that all of us in management and hiring look for in our employees,” Darby said. “Carter is a solid employee who sets himself apart from others and is a positive influence on the people around him.”
Chemielewski and his wife recently had a baby, and the money will be spent to help with their budget while his wife is at home with their newborn.
“I love my job, I think I have the greatest job in the world,” Chemielewski said. “I just want to say thank you to the community for supporting us. I know how much this community cares for the firefighters and the police officers and the educators, this city supports their employees, my chief supports us … Being a fireman is my dream, and Foley is the best place to be living it.”
FOLEY POLICE DEPARTMENT
Corporal Bob Fennell was named the Foley Police Officer of the Year. Recently, he took the first steps to become a traffic homicide investigator, and has become a certified firearm instructor.
“An organization recently voted us as one of the safest cities in Alabama, and since then we’ve continued to drop crime; this corporal has had a direct impact on that, on the work that the officers do,” said Chief David Wilson.
Fennell’s coworkers say he is looked to for advice and guidance by both junior officers as well as those with experience, and that he can be counted on for sound, consistent, and ethical leadership.
“I’m privileged to work with a tremendous group of men and women at the Foley Police Department,” Fennell said. “There’s a lot of self-sacrifice when you put the community first, and I’m truly humbled and honored that I was even nominated, let alone selected for this award. I’m originally from Chicago, and the support from the community in Baldwin County is outstanding. It’s appreciated and doesn’t go unnoticed by the officers.”
He plans to put the money into some home improvement projects, as well as to add another rod and reel to his fishing equipment.