Cactus Canyon JHS math teacher honored by 99.9 KEZ

Cactus Canyon Junior High math teacher Marla Aehlert was surprised by 99.9 KEZ during one of her classes recently.

“Ok, guys. This will be the one and only time; if you want to take your phones out and take a picture, you can.” Teary-eyed, but still in control, Ms. Aehlert gave her seventth grade students rare permission to use their cell phones in class. She had just been surprised by Marty Manning, Rosha Safarmehdi, and Tom Wintermeyer from the 99.9 KEZ radio station, recognizing her with an Excellence in Education award.

99.9 KEZ and their sponsor, Taylor Morrison, encourage students and parents of students to nominate K-12 teachers who are excellent at their profession and make a difference in students’ lives. Each month, one teacher is selected from all the entries, and KEZ’s Mr. Manning visits the school to surprise the teacher with a plaque and a check for $99. At the end of the school year, the monthly winners are invited to a banquet at The Capital Grille in Phoenix, and one teacher is awarded $999 as Teacher of the Year.
Ms. Aehlert was nominated by Apache Junction High School student Yasinya Peterson. Ms. Aehlert was Yasinya’s math teacher in third grade, then, again, in seventh grade.
“She was the teacher that really got me interested in trying to be ‘ahead of the normal class,’” said Yasinya. “I do not know where I would be without starting out having her back in elementary school. I am truly blessed, along with many other people that have come into contact with her, to have gotten the opportunity to know her.” Peterson is now three years ahead in math, and takes a full schedule of Honors and AP classes. Thanks to Ms. Aehlert, Yasinya is also considering a career in education.

When presented with the prize money, Ms. Aehlert immediately knew how she would spend it, “We need more colored paper for our notebooks. This will go a long way to get us the supplies we need!”

Editor’s note: Dana Hawman is the public information officer for Apache Junction School District

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