By Matt Mackinder
Clarkston News Editor
The hometown teacher has claimed the top award.
Allison Stoyek, a Social Emotional Learning teacher at Pine Knob Elementary School the past six years and 2006 Clarkston High School graduate, was named the Clarkston Foundation Teacher of the Year last week, adding a two-year lease of a vehicle of her choice from the LaFontaine Auto Group.
“It feels surreal to win this award, especially with all of the amazing nominees,” said Stoyek. “It is an honor to be nominated, but to be chosen is something I will never forget. I would like to thank the Clarkston Foundation and LaFontaine for selecting me and for taking the time to show how much you appreciate educators. I am so grateful to you and for all you do in our community.”
Stoyek is a proud handler to one of the district’s therapy dogs, Vinny (pictured), and is one of the pioneers that brought the Pack of Dogs to fruition, frequently attending events in the Clarkston community with Vinny.
Collecting the annual award is something that Stoyek says is more than an individual honor.
“I have an amazingly supportive family, including a husband that is a fellow educator that is encouraging and understanding,” said Stoyek. “Being a new mom has given me a broader perspective and made me more empathetic; I have Frankie to thank for that. I have to thank Tarah Manning for nominating me and for all of the supportive families that I have worked with over the years. My students put in the hard work every day and give me life.
“All of the wonderful teachers I have had in Clarkston that have shaped me into the teacher I am, especially Dee Smith, Nancy Mahoney, and Jessica O’Rourke. I know everyone says this, but I work with the most amazing team at PKE. (Principal) Jodi Yeloushan has lifted me up and empowered me as she does with the entire building. I could not function without every member of our special education team. We run as a unit and equally work together to give the best support possible to our students. That also goes for all the staff at PKE. It is a special place to be and I am so thankful for every single person that is there. I cannot not thank my partner in crime, Vinny. He is so much more than a therapy dog for our kids. He is my best friend and spreads love wherever he goes.”
Next year will be Stoyek’s 10th year teaching. She spent three years teaching in South Lyon before coming home to Clarkston, and has been at PKE ever since.
“What I love about Clarkston is the close-knit community,” Stoyek said.
As for the vehicle she’ll choose as part of her award from LaFontaine?
“I think I am going with the Cadillac,” Stoyek said. “It is just too pretty to pass up.”