Six local teachers were among 49 Region 5 educators honored at the National Joint Powers Alliance's Educators of Excellence Awards Banquet on Wednesday, May 9, at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa.
Those honored were: Patty Durham, Crosslake Community School; Renee Barnaby, Eagle View Elementary School; Angie Klein, Pequot Lakes High School; Jana Lueck, Pequot Lakes Middle School; Melanie Lindquist, Pine River-Backus High School; and Nancy Meier, Pine River-Backus Elementary School.
Nominated by their respective schools for their commitment to excellence, these educators demonstrate best practices, leadership and innovation in education, which leads to increased student success.
Following are their nominations:
• Patty Durham, Crosslake Community School: Durham is a first- and second-grade teacher. Recently, a grandparent said this about her: "Unbeknownst to you, Patty took time out of her summer to work with my four grandchildren who have difficulty in reading. Patty had three of the children in class previously and has the fourth this year. Patty was aware of their reading challenges and approached the mom to offer help. Patty worked with the children twice a week for two hours from mid-June to mid-August for no charge. Her dedication, awareness, self-giving commitment and passion go far beyond most."
• Renae Barnaby, Eagle View: As the lead Title I interventionist at Eagle View Elementary School, Barnaby exemplifies the qualities of an exceptional educator. She develops personalized learning experiences for her students, prioritizing the specific skills they need to strengthen. Her dedication to students and staff is demonstrated as the school's data "guru" through her mastery of the standards and assessments.
Barnaby has also developed data protocols and led professional development with teams on how to utilize data to support instruction.
Additionally, she is the internal coach for Reading Corps. This involves meeting with tutors regularly for coaching and monitoring of programming. She also demonstrates leadership by being a member of the building leadership team and as a mentor for other teachers. Her professionalism and dedication are an asset to her school and its students.
• Angie Klein, Pequot Lakes High School: Klein is a passionate educator who believes in the success of all students. She works hard to engage students in their own learning, encouraging them to pursue their interests and challenging them to grow. Her passion for mentoring young men and women has led her speech team to grow at an amazing pace, and its success is a testament to the rich experience she provides students.
Klein is a true innovator in education, creating a classroom environment using alternative seating and student discussion to create a student-centered learning experience. She is a compassionate colleague who works to ensure a safe and collaborative experience for other professionals. Her students report a teacher who "makes everyone feel welcome" and is always cheerful and smiling.
• Jana Lueck, Pequot Lakes Middle School: Lueck's performance in the classroom is impactful. As a master of the "art" of teaching, she blends the social-emotional side of her students' development with a strong background in fifth-grade science. Her proficiency as a teacher can be measured with everything from the vibrant smiles coming out of her lab space, all the way to the highest-ranking fifth-grade MCA science scores in the region.
She is a strong-willed advocate, who challenges her students to be kind, compassionate and driven. She holds her students accountable to being the best version of themselves every day.
In addition to her advocacy for her fifth-grade students, Lueck is also a valued resource for the Education Minnesota Pequot Lakes Teachers Union in taking on the role of members rights representative for her fellow middle school colleagues.
• Melanie Lindquist, Pine River-Backus High School: Known as "Madame" to her French class students, Lindquist is a highly skilled teacher who has high expectations for all of her students. She holds this standard while finding a way to build and maintain meaningful relationships.
She is a teacher leader who leads quietly by example through her authentic love of learning and growth mindset. From playing in the school pit orchestra to planning and facilitating trips to other countries, Madame finds many ways to contribute to her school and provide unique opportunities for her students.
She cares deeply about the present and the future of Pine River-Backus High School and provides honest and timely feedback to help assure success in both areas.
• Nancy Meier, Pine River-Backus Elementary School: Meier has been a pillar of educational excellence in the Pine River-Backus School District for over 30 years. She has gone about her career efficiently, effectively, resiliently and most importantly, with the best interests of students at heart.
She has epitomized what is expected out of anyone working in educational settings by "walking the walk" in all facets of her teaching. Whether analyzing student data, planning differentiated lessons, building relationships with various stakeholders or connecting with colleagues, Meier does a top shelf job. Students in the Pine River-Backus community have been blessed with her hard work and dedication. Her efforts have had a tremendous impact on the learning community.