Area teachers featured as Sourcewell Educators of Excellence

Five teachers from Pine River-Backus and Pequot Lakes were chosen among more than 50 area educators.


NISSWA — More than 50 educators from schools in Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties were selected by school administration for outstanding dedication, hard work and leadership. For their achievements, they were celebrated as Educators of Excellence on April 27 at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa at an event hosted by Sourcewell.

This event recognizes and awards local educators who positively impact students and colleagues. In addition to individual Educators of Excellence awards, a Leader, Paraprofessionals, Coach, Team of Excellence, Support Staff, and Silver Lining Award of Excellence were also recognized.

The following are teachers from the Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus school districts who were honored, and their nominations.

Pequot Pequot Lakes Middle School Kyle Spray
Kyle Spray was selected as one of 50 Educators of Excellence in April of 2022.

  • Kyle Spray, Pequot Lakes Middle School: Kyle is a reflective math teacher - anchoring his team of high-performing eighth-grade educators with a blend of wisdom, experience and humility. On a daily basis, Kyle delivers math in a setting filled with enthusiasm, laughter and academic challenge. His positive engagement with kids starts at the door and continues throughout the lesson. He maximizes every opportunity to connect with his students.
Pequot Pequot School DistrictCrosby_Kelly.jpg
Kelly Crosby was selected as a 2022 Teacher of Excellence in April of 2022.


  • Kelly Crosby, Eagle View Elementary School: Kelly is a teacher who provides consistency within her classroom and is a quiet leader in using Catalyst strategies every day. Students know what to expect with procedures and routines, allowing them to feel safe, welcome and supported in her predictable, yet still creative, classroom environment. Her passion for art education, blending creativity and standards, is evident in the unique and thoughtful projects she designs.
Pequot Lakes High School Megan Johnson
Pequot Lakes High School Teacher Megan Johnson was selected as a Teacher of Excellence in April of 2022.

  • Megan Johnson, Pequot Lakes High School: Adored by her students and admired by her colleagues, Megan has shown incredible versatility and resilience in her young career. She is full of endless empathy for her students, keeping them at the center of everything. Megan works hard to pursue the highest levels of instructional practice so that her time spent with students is highly effective.

Pine River- Backus High School Ben Kinser
Ben Kinser was selected as one of Pine River-Backus' 2022 Educators of Excellence by Sourcewell in April of 2022.

Benjamin Kinser, Pine River-Backus Elementary School: Ben is a talented musician who has a great attitude and a focus on building positive relationships with his students. Whether it’s individual or small-group band lessons, whole-group rehearsals, pep band, concerts or just visiting in the hall, he has been intentional about connecting with all students in his band program.

Pine River-Backus High School Lisa Toft
Lisa Toft was among the local educators named an Educator of Excellence in April, 2022.

Lisa Toft, Pine River-Backus High School: Lisa is a highly skilled teacher who has high expectations for herself and her students. Her work ethic and dedication to her students and profession are second to none. She holds this high standard while finding a way to build and maintain meaningful relationships in her classroom and with her colleagues. She is a teacher leader who leads by example through her dedication, authentic love of learning, and growth mindset.

The event was broadcast live on Facebook for the general public and may still be viewed on Sourcewell's Facebook page.

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