2019 Teacher of Year Nominations
● By Digital Media Director
Mrs. Jenny Daugaard, 3rd Grade Baltic Elementary School
Nominated by: Tyler O.
My teacher is the best because she makes learning fun every day. She is always doing fun activities to help us learn. The activities she does are not only fun but they help me remember things longer.
Mr. Jason Donnelly, 6th Grade Harrisburg South Middle School
Nominated by: Kennedy K.
Before I had Mr. Donnelly, I really didn't like math. HE IS SUCH AN AMAZING TEACHER! He makes math fun and easy to understand. All the kids love his class!
Mrs. Carla Hoogendoorn, Kindergarten Abiding Savior Academy
Nominated by: Miles H.
Mrs. Hoogendoorn creates an environment where students feel safe and loved. She is calm and kind, yet has high expectations for her students. My son Miles, has loved his experience in her class. He has grown SO much as a reader and writer. Mrs. Hoogendoorn gets to know each student’s interests and helps them feel proud of who they are and what they are learning.
Mr. Brent Kramer, 3rd Grade Brandon Elementary School
Nominated by: Micah R.
My teacher is the best because he makes each student feel special and always give us lots of extra help and attention when we are not understanding something or struggling in an area. He makes learning fun with lots of fun projects and games. He even has a laser printer in his classroom that we get to use!
Mrs. Jennifer Sandman, 1st Grade St. Katherine Drexel
Nominated by: Lane S.
Mrs. Sandman goes above & beyond - ensuring that each kiddo knows just how special they are. She is great about positive reinforcement and sending notes of positivity, achievement, kudos and success home with a small token of appreciation like a pencil, piece of candy or eraser. To a 6-year-old these notes and small gifts mean the world to them.
Mrs. Deanna Vortherms, 4th Grade Tri-Valley Elementary School
Nominated by: Bailey P.
Mrs. Vortherms has been around since I was a fourth grader. Now my daughter has her. She's using a lot of the things we did when I was that age and it is awesome. The kids are interested. My daughter comes home EXCITED about projects. She starts explaining to me what she has to do, and I remember. And then I get excited. If a teacher can leave that sort of an impact on someone, from that many years ago, that is a great teacher.
Mrs. Heidi Williams, 1st Grade All City Elementary School
Nominated by: Max H.
Mrs. Williams always goes above typical expectations to teach her students, all while loving them and helping them grow and learn. She is exceptional at building relationships with students and parents. She maintains a healthy classroom atmosphere and is respectful to her students. She doesn't have "favorites" but rather loves each student individually for who they are and where they are in the classroom and life.
Mrs. Amy Edwards, Early Childhood, Hawthorne Elementary School
Nominated by: Payton T.
Mrs. Amy as my son calls her is a Godsend. Over the last two years, she has worked tirelessly with my son teaching him how to write his name, write his letters and show care and concern for others in the room. He is always coming home telling my wife and I the amazing things he learns at school. She is always full of smiles and is always so welcoming to the students that they don’t want to leave.
Mr. Joe Thompson, Preschool, Discovery Learning Center
Nominated by: Blakely, Laken and Olivia
Mr. Joe is one of the most humble, kind, and patient people we have ever known. His positive attitude towards life and his passion for teaching shines through our whole family is with love with this teacher. He is dedicated to his class. Kids are excited to come every single day to this daycare. They are counting, talking and singing none stop. When I ask who taught you this - the answer is one - Mr Joe!!!! It is amazing how one person can get kids to listen, teach them everything they do and organize the FUN field trips. Me Joe thinking outside the box, he has different approach to every single kid. That’s amazing! It really makes parents job easier - kids love to read, count and play nice in the house.
Mr. Joe is a kid himself. He interacts with the kids on their level, puts lot of time into their class activities, and is available to speak to at any time. He creates a fun and creative atmosphere, while teaching a diverse array of topics to the class. Our son has learned a ton!
Our whole family is with love with this teacher. He is dedicated to his class. Kids are excited to come every single day to this daycare. They are counting, talking and singing none stop. When I ask who taught you this - the answer is one - Mr Joe!!!! It is amazing how one person can get kids to listen, teach them everything they do and organize the FUN field trips. Me Joe thinking outside the box, he has different approach to every single kid. That’s amazing! It really makes parents job easier - kids love to read, count and play nice in the house.
Miss Leninger, 6th Grade, Dakota Christian School
Nominated by: Samson E.
We've been worried for years that our son - who has been diagnosed with autism - would never be able to fit in to a school. Miss Leninger has helped our son to thrive, and she has made all of our lives better in the process.
Ms. Cheyenne Lambley, 1st Grade, Tri-Valley School
Nominated by: Elyse L.
So far, two of my four kiddos have had Ms. Lambley as their first-grade teacher and both have had exceptional years with her. They have such excitement in their voices when they talk about her. She is always attentive to their needs and really has a passion for teaching. She is a great educator of our young minds and much-deserving of this award. Thank you for your consideration!
Mrs. Ludwigs, East High School
Nominated by: Ariel O.
I’m nominating Mrs. Ludwigs because she helps me with my problems.
Mrs. Christina Sieber, ELC Special Education Teacher, Liberty Elementary School
Nominated by: Wanda H.
It takes a special person to teach and it takes a special person with an enormous heart to teach special education. This is Mrs. Sieber. The gains the students make are sometimes small in special education and may not come daily, but Mrs. Sieber is the most patient person I know and loves the gains whatever the size whenever they come! I would like to nominate her on behalf of her class! Some are non-verbal but if they were able to tell you themselves they would tell you she is the BEST and how lucky they are to have her!
Mrs. Tara Lynn Anderson-Topete, Kindergarten, Laura Wilder Elementary School
Nominated by: Marley L.
When my daughter started kindergarten this year, I to be honest, was an absolute mess. Mrs.Topete has taken away all of my fears that I have ever had when my first child entered her first day of school. She has shown so much kindness and love to my daughter. She goes above and beyond to make sure that my husband and I know what’s happening in our daughter’s everyday life. If there is an issue, she has made sure we are aware of it and helps us come up with ways to help resolve them. I know she goes out of her way to make sure every child is well taken care of, happy, and of course helps them learn as much as possible.
Mrs. Marcel Boscaljon, Kindergarten, Robert Bennis Elementary School
Nominated by: Mason B.
Mrs. Boscaljon is the perfect teacher for kindergartners. She has such a soft light caring voice who listens to the millions of questions she gets asked by the students. She is patient with each one. She always has a quick, great answer even for hard to answer questions the kids ask. She cares about each student as if they were her own child or grandchild. She focuses on each student knowing all the criteria they need to know for their quarterly goals. She is always very warm & welcoming to all the kids & even parents in the morning when dropping off their kids. My child has learned a lot of curriculum since the beginning of the school year. He is always excited to go to school because she has made her classroom a great learning experience. She is a great teacher for the young kids to be starting a scary new school & having lots to learn.
Ms. Erica English, Kindergarten Susan B. Anthony Elementary School
Nominated by: Jonathan M.
Erica is a phenomenal young teacher. She truly cares for her students, wants them to succeed, and makes every effort she can to help them along that path. Erica has taken full advantage of the tools she has, and provides many opportunities for the students. She has set up her classroom to be a warm and inviting atmosphere and developed an area to encourage each student in their learning and interests. Erica wants all the students to have the same opportunity to learn and grow. She also provides chances for the students to experience ways to help each other as well. We greatly appreciate how willing she is to handle issues and controversy head-on. She ultimately wants to make sure the students have the best environment for learning and interaction. We also love how open with and happy she is to include us in our son's school days. She communicates with us very often, providing updated reports and messages about what they are learning in school that week. If we have a question or anything, she is quick to respond and do what she can to provide an answer. She is very accepting of any input or questions we may have. Our son has truly flourished in her classroom. We couldn't be happier. She is the best!
Mr. Amos Ferguson, Tea Area High School
Nominated by: Sara K.
He's always been there for me. School was always my second home, and whenever I just needed a place to be, his classroom was always open. He listened when I needed to rant and talked with me when I needed to get through something. He let me eat lunch with him because I didn't have anyone else to eat with. He would do crosswords and trivia with me if we had free time, and he always was my biggest supporter. He never sugar-coated things and always taught me to be myself. He made school a fun, safe place to be, which is all any student can hope for.
Ms. Betty Froehlich, 3rd Grade, Tri Valley Elementary School
Nominated by: Ari L.
Ms. Froehlich brings out the best in our son, Ari, by both accepting and challenging him. Ari doesn’t struggle with school and keeping him excited about it is something Ms. Froehlich does without even knowing it. She has little incentives that she provides that just keep him going. He always comes home to tell me about the reward he got for doing well on a paper or test. He likes 3rd grade and a great teacher like Ms. Froehlich makes all the difference! Thank you for your consideration!
Mrs. Angela Klimes, Preschool, Holy Cross Lutheran Preschool
Nominated by: Grady L.
Miss Angela always brings a smile to Grady‘s face. He is not one who is excited about school so to have him come home and talk about Miss Angela with enthusiasm is nice! He stays busy in her class and enjoys himself and his friends. Miss Angela does a great job holding these little ones’ interests and attention.
Mrs. Sarah Darling, 1st Grade, Brandon Elementary School
Nominated by: Ryker R.
My teacher is the best because she is always so helpful and makes learning fun! We do so many fun things and creative things to help us learn. We get to go on field trips and give back to others too. I love how she makes each kid feel special and like we are the best!
Nominated by: Blake J.
For SO many reasons! I volunteer for Sarah and have never seen someone who treats their kiddos with such love and patience. My son wants nothing more than to make her proud, even more than making his Dad and I proud. His reading level is soaring!! Her open line of communication with parents is amazing. If there was one word to describe Sarah it would be DEDICATION! She is 100% dedicated to helping her students grow in every way possible. We are so thankful for Mrs. Darling!
Mrs. Molly Alberts, Kindergarten, Hillcrest Elementary School-Brookings
Nominated by: Jaxon J.
My son Loves Mrs Alberts! She is so fun, patient and caring. He always comes home with a smile on his face!
Mrs. Aranda Stai, Kindergarten, Alcester/Hudson
Nominated by: Jaxon L.
She's always making the school day and work lots of fun and exciting for the kids. My son loves going to school every day because he can't wait to see what she's going to show them. She's very involved with making sure parents know what's going on in the classroom and taking pictures of all the fun and learning that's going on.
Mr. Victor Naranjo, Kindergarten, Sonia Sotomayor
Nominated by: Eleni
Sr. Naranjo's class is like no other. It is always full of music and laughter. He makes learning Spanish so much fun for his class. He has a song for everything, and he brings out his guitar for accompaniment. The children absolutely love him. A second grader told my kindergartner that she "stole" her kindergarten teacher. Sr. Naranjo is originally from Spain, and he brings such a unique experience to all the kids that are fortunate enough to have him as a teacher.
Mrs. Jennifer Boyle, 1st Grade, Harvey Dunn Elementary School
Nominated by: Elizabeth B.
Mrs. Boyle is the sweetest teacher I have ever met. She goes out of her way to keep me informed about my child. We are dealing with some hard issues with my child. I have been trying to get an.v answer for 3 years. Jennifer has taken the time to email, call or text me whenever she sees a new struggle or gain. I resently helped with a class field trip and you can see the love she has for her student in her eyes, the respect in her voice and her actions. I would love to see Mrs. Boyle rewarded for her kindness.
Mrs. Cassie Uithoven, Kindergarten, Robert Bennis Elementary School
Nominated by Trace
We have 3 boys. They are all shy at first, but the oldest and the youngest warm up fairly quickly to new places and people. In preschool, the teacher had to peel Trace off of me at first. He screamed and reached for me. It was awful. I was dreading kindergarten for that very reason. I thought it would be traumatizing for him (or for me really) once again. He only shed a couple small tears on the first day and very quickly warmed up. He has told me every single day that his day was great and that he loves school. He surprises me every day with what he knows. He picks it up very quickly and just beams when he gets to tell me about something he learned. He has confidence that we have never seen before. Mrs. Uithoven is the beautiful woman behind it all. The moment we met her, I about burst into tears of joy. Her sweet and soft presence is more valuable than gold.
Mrs. Ann Kropuenske, Kindergarten, Beresford Elementary School
Nominated by: Avery J.
Positive, humble, and resourceful are a few words to describe the wonderful traits Mrs. Kropuenske displays everyday while teaching her Kindergarten class at Beresford Elementary. My daughter has been blessed to be a part of Mrs. Kropuenske’s structured classroom which allows kids to explore and grow in a place that encourages creativity and high expectations. Avery says, “I love that Mrs. Kropuenske teaches us games that make us smarter.” My daughter loves to learn and help others from Mrs. Kropuenske’s example. We love Mrs. Kropuenske and I know she loves each of her students.
Mrs. Huska, First Grade
Nominated by: Kaylee H.
She is kind. She is the best teacher I've ever had.
Mrs. Petty Maxwell, Jr. Kindergarten, St. Mary’s, Dell Rapids
Nominated by: Boden L.
We have been fortunate to have Mrs. Maxwell in our lives for the past 3 years with our two older boys. She teaches Preschool & Jr. Kindergarten at St. Marys in Dell Rapids. Her patience and love for her students is evident in her every word and action. My middle son is a bit stubborn and I was concerned how he would do in school, and I am amazed at how well he does under her instruction. No matter where we see her, at the grocery store, basketball games, etc., she always greets us with enthusiasm and brings an instant smile to my boys face. I cannot express enough how grateful I am to her and inspiring a love of learning in my boys!
Mrs. Aime Edwards, Head Start, Early Childhood
Nominated by: Payton
Aime has been a great help to my son. She is always so kind and patient and offers suggestions to help us with our overactive little boy at home. There is a lot of energy in her room and she does a great job handling it. My son has learned a lot from being in his room. We are incredibly blessed to have her as his teacher.