Education Minnesota-Lakeville awarded two teachers in the Lakeville Area Public Schools district with its 2018 Educator of Excellence awards. The individuals were chosen for their daily dedication to students and families and for exemplifying the highest standards and qualities of a professional educator.
Jennifer Enright, a first grade teacher at Eastview Elementary, was nominated by Oak Hills Elementary ESL teacher Missy Kaus-Helmers and won the elementary level award. Derek Otten, an
English language arts teacher at Lakeville South High School, was nominated by Lakeville South special education teacher Amanda Chase and won the secondary level award.
“Both of these individuals represent the best traits and qualities of professional educators and make us proud,” said EML President Don Sinner.
In her nomination, Kaus-Helmers applauded Enright for her teaching approach, which promotes stability, independence and individualism for all students.
“If you were her shadow for a day you would see a teacher that is genuine, organized and extremely knowledgeable,” Kaus-Helmers said. “You would see a teacher that goes above and beyond what is expected of her; students doing yoga during bathroom breaks, students transitioning seamlessly during Daily 5, you would notice anchor charts and learning targets that are written for first graders to understand, flexible seating (long gone are the neat rows of desks) … and a classroom library that is accessible to all students.”
In Otten’s nomination, Chase touted Otten as an expert on his curriculum, always seeking professional development and resources to improve his lessons, as well as flexible, considerate, and accommodating.
Chase also nominated Otten for his ability to engage with each of his students in a unique way every day.
“From beginning the class with trivia when all students have a chance to show their unique knowledge to direct instruction where he elicits students’ thoughts to work time when he provides praise and feedback, Derek gives 100 percent of his attention to students 100 percent of the time,” Chase said.
Enright and Otten’s awards will be presented at an upcoming school board meeting. Additionally, each of the winners will be nominated for the 2019 Education Minnesota Teacher of the Year.