Mr. Miller, Anne Sulivan School

Excellent teacher, with a lot of potential and love for her students, she strives for her students to learn, God bless her.

Joni Lambert, Baltic Elementary School

Mrs. Lambert is truly one of a kind. She has taken the four walls of a classroom and expanded it for these kids. She brings so much to each lesson that isn’t right from a book or paper. She does so much visual learning to bring the lessons to life. Bryn has swallowed so much information! Mrs. Lambert takes so much care into adding these visual elements that help the kids apply the words on paper to the real object. One example of many was a 2 week section on where milk comes from and then showing the kids all the many things you can make from milk. The taste tests are awesome especially for a very picky eater. Another favorite was the butterfly unit where the kids got to witness the full transformation of a butterfly right in their classroom. Bryn has become very confident in just the past 5 months with Mrs. Lambert. Bryn is always excited for the day and can’t wait for the next section of learning. Mrs. Lambert’s kind heart and positive learning is a blessing! She goes far beyond an 8 hour work day to introduce and prepare these very young kids for the world around them. She cares so deeply for each child and wants to see them succeed. I wish we could have her for a teacher for years to come! Thank you Mrs. Lambert for your dedication.


Mrs.Lambert is quite honestly one in a million!! She’s so fun, caring, and just absolutely the best. We had her for our kindergarten teacher and it’s just amazing how she goes above and beyond for the children. Our daughter LOVED going to school because of Mrs.Lambert.

Marissa Whipple, Baltic Elementary School

Marissa goes above, the above and beyond. Not only is she a creative and engaging teacher, but she puts all of herself into the entire body of the school. She spends time taking photos of ALL kids at ANY event she can attend. This is on her personal time and let me tell you, she has made it to each grade levels events, of some sort, even if the event is not school related. She is an amazing photographer. Not only is she taking photos at games and events, but she is also often the community photographer for seniors and families. She coaches Junior High Volleyball, Junior High Track, and High School Track. She is the prom advisor, FCCLA advisor, and the Educator’s Rising advisor. Marissa makes coming to school an experience for the kids, while still learning. She dresses up with the best costumes, she transforms her room to make learning fun, and she always keeps an eye on her kids in the classroom. She knows them, feels with them, and lets them be seen. She is fair, she is kind, and the most giving teacher. Baltic school is so fortunate to have so many amazing educators. I wish I could nominate them all.


She continues to go above and beyond creating a safe, ,fun, and educational environment for her students year after year. From her annual classroom themes and seasonal experiences such as friends-giving, Polar Express experience, themed parties, and dressing as an elf and waving to kids from the school roof, she finds creative ways to teach her students and grow their love of learning. She authentically takes the “relationship first” approach to teaching which has proven to be impactful to her students.

Amber Heirigs, Baltic School Distric

Amber Heirigs is an ELL and Reading Interventionlist for the Baltic Schooll District. She works with countless students everyday helping them become stronger readers. As a teacher and mom I have seen first hand how she has had a positive affect on her students. Students come out of her room with more knowledge and stronger readers. Not only has she worked with our students here in Baltic, but has shared her knowledge with the staff during many in-services. Mrs. Heirigs’ knowledge and passion for education shines through when she works with students and trains staff. The Baltic School District is blessed to have her.

Mrs. Reiser, Fred Assam Elementary

Mrs. Reiser is an exceptional Special Education teacher at Fred Assam Elementary. My son started kindergarten there this year and needs full time assistance in the special education program. He has an extensive medical history, as well as an autism and cognitive delay diagnosis. Mrs. Reiser has gone above and beyond to adapt the school setting into a space that my son can thrive in. She works closely with my son’s education assistant to ensure that she has had adequate training and techniques to work through difficult behaviors with him. She implemented a successful reward system that keeps him motivated. She adapts all of his kindergarten work to his level and understanding and targets his IEP goals with creative work. She has done all of that just for one student, while she has many other students that require her assistance as well. More than anything, Mrs. Reiser treats her students with compassion and patience. Her heart is truly in special education and her love of her students is evident.

Angie Olson, Fred Assam Elementary

My son is in second grade and she is by far the best teacher he’s had. My son loves her so much. She is the best at communicating. So personable and welcomes texts or calls if there’s anything we need. She takes time out of her weekends to plan fun things for her students (Saturday sport day for the boys). It’s very clear she is there for the right reasons and is 100% invested in her students and families she serves.


Angie Olson is one of those teachers who gives and keeps on giving. She is a truly outstanding teacher. Her passion for teaching and her dedication to students is obvious in everything she does. I hope she knows the priceless impact she makes in so many lives. She is not just a teacher, but a mentor and a friend. My child is fortunate to have her, and so are we. She is also great at keeping communication with her students’ parents’. We always know what is going on. My daughter was in the hospital, and she went above and beyond. Mrs. Olson and her class sent balloons and made a video. This made Braleigh’s day. She had tears rolling down her face, but with a smile. Angie also stopped by our house after she had a “girls’ day” on a Saturday afternoon with all the girls in her class and dropped off a few things for Braleigh. Angie is beyond one of the best teachers in the Brandon Valley School District, but better yet a role model for these students, especially my daughter. The imprint of her kindness and compassion will forever remain treasured.


Angie Olson is one of those teachers who gives and keeps on giving. She is a truly outstanding teacher. Her passion for teaching and her dedication to students is obvious in everything she does. I hope she knows the priceless impact she makes in so many lives. She is not just a teacher, but a mentor and a friend. My child is fortunate to have her, and so are we. She is also great at keeping communication with her students’ parents’. We always know what is going on. My daughter was in the hospital, and she went above and beyond. Mrs. Olson and her class sent balloons and made a video. This made Braleigh’s day. She had tears rolling down her face, but with a smile. Angie also stopped by our house after she had a “girls’ day” on a Saturday afternoon with all the girls in her class and dropped off a few things for Braleigh. Angie is beyond one of the best teachers in the Brandon Valley School District, but better yet a role model for these students, especially my daughter. The imprint of her kindness and compassion will forever remain treasured.


Mrs. Olson goes way above and beyond the teacher call of duty. She inspires through her nurturing approach to education and treats Emberly like one of her own children; even inviting her to a girls only tea party hosted at the school. Emberly comes home feeling empowered, confident, and loved each and every single day proud to have Mrs. Olson as her teacher. Mrs. Olson also actively engages all the parents of her pupils through social media engagement and we always love to see what crazy costume she’s going to put on next to captivate her classroom. She’s a real life Mrs. Frizzle, and from someone who grew up with the magic school bus I couldn’t imagine receiving a more warm compliment! Kudos, Mrs. Olson, you shaped Emberly’s trajectory in the most positive, unimaginable manner possible.


Where do we even start with Mrs. Olson!? I have been in our school district for 7 years now and have always heard about how awesome she is. My son has trouble with reading so I was told he would be her walk to read teacher for 2nd grade, I was SO excited. Then, come to find out he was IN her classroom for the year. I heard great things about her BUT not once thought she would be THIS AMAZING! She is my sons biggest cheerleader. She finds ways to make learning fun by songs, special projects, ect and posts these to a classroom Facebook page so we can all see. They set goals each month and post them to hold them accountable. My son comes home from school and voluntarily tells me about his day. Last month she hosted events for the boys in the classroom on a Saturdays to have a sports party. The next weekend was a party for the girls. Who does that on their day off!?? I don’t know what else I can so to make you pick her BUT if you knew her in anyway you would agree that she deserves this and so much MORE!

Becky Munsch, Fred Assam Elementary

Mrs Munsch has been a pivotal inspiration to our daughter’s education . She is excited and more engaged in class , due to the creative approaches to education demonstrated by Mrs Munsch.


She has gone above and beyond all year for our daughter. Before this year she hated reading and really didn’t have an interest in being at school more than absolutely necessary. This year she has started wanting to be at school early to hang out and help Mrs. Munsch and even has started wanting to read at home ( without being forced to). She is a great roll model and an amazing teacher!!!! Even helped our Christmas elf regain its magic after an accidental encounter of being touched ( thanks for saving the Christmas magic).


Mrs. Munsch is a phenomenal teacher!!! My daughter, Lily, has always had to work harder than most in order to be successful in the classroom. Because of this, she has struggled with self confidence issues and always questioned whether she was as smart or as “good” as the kids in her class. Since Lily has been in Mrs. Munsch’s 4th grade class, her confidence and her belief in herself have soared! Mrs. Munsch has a way of making all of her kiddos feel like they are absolute stars who can go out and conquer the world!!!! Lily has gone from dreading school to waking up in the morning and looking forward to taking on the challenges of the day! I will be forever grateful to Mrs. Munsch for helping my girl to see that she is capable of amazing things! Mrs. Munsch is VERY deserving of being recognized as educator of the year!!!!

Erin Bisbee, Fed Assam Elementary

I nominate Mrs. Bisbee, at Fred Assam Elementary School. She is a wonderful teacher. She is very understanding and cares about all of the kids she has throughout the day. She touches the hearts of many students. She supports her students both inside and outside of the classroom. Mrs. Bisbee notices the little things and mentions them to her students. She will never know these little comments of recognition meant the ENTIRE WORLD to her students on those days. Our child would come home glowing every night and tell us stories about Mrs. Bisbee’s classroom! Everyone can tell, Mrs. Bisbee loves being a teacher! She has a great personality, and she is very well liked. When my child had her as their teacher, they looked forward to going to school every day with her because of her kindness and lovingness. She would encourage students to strive to do their best. She is a wonderful teacher, and we would love to see her get this award.

Kim Becker, Fred Assam Elementary

This is the second year we have had Mrs. Becker as a teacher for our kids and she is just the best. She is constantly looking for ways to help her kids be better. Elaina has struggled with reading and Mrs. Becker is making sure she is getting all the help she needs, including getting her assessed for Speech intervention. I just love how much she cares and I am going to be be sad when we are done with the second grade.


Mrs. Becker works hard to scaffold and accommodate all the levels in her classroom while making each child feel individual. She has helped Parker grow into a driven reader (& a good one!) Kim encourages parent involvement to assist the progress and development of each student.

Sarah Harte, Fed Assam Elementary

I am delighted to nominate Mrs. Sarah Harte for the Elementary Educator of the Year award. Mrs. Harte has been an exceptional teacher for my fourth-grade son, not only facilitating academic learning but also playing a pivotal role in his personal growth as a student. Upon transitioning from a different school district, my son faced challenges in certain subjects. Mrs. Harte’s dedication and personalized approach to teaching have been instrumental in his remarkable turnaround. Under her guidance, he has not only caught up but has excelled, showcasing not only academic progress but also newfound confidence and enthusiasm for learning. Mrs. Harte’s involvement in his educational journey goes beyond the classroom, and her commitment to each student’s success is truly commendable. I believe her outstanding efforts make her a standout candidate for the Elementary Educator of the Year award.

Jill Nuebel, Fred Assam Elementary

Mrs. Nuebel is a kindergarten teacher at Fred Assam Elementary and Lucy is a student in her class this year. Mrs. Nuebel is more than deserving of the Educator of the Year award. She goes to great lengths to ensure her students are not only learning but retaining and applying what they have learned to various aspect of their school day and home life. Mrs. Nuebel is kind and caring, treating her students like family. Beyond learning to read and write, she also has worked to instill skills of self regulation, problem solving, and conflict management, which will help students succeed as they grow and enter other life stages. Celebrating milestones and accomplishments is also a priority for Mrs. Nuebel. Recently, as the students recognized the 100th day of school, Mrs. Nuebel make the day extra special by creating various activities/challenges that required investigative efforts by the student special agent spies. Mrs. Nuebel is extremely creative in her efforts to introduce learning in different ways, knowing that all students have various learning styles. Overall, Mrs Nuebel is an advocate for all students. She goes above and beyond to ensure her kids are learning, thriving, and developing life skills that will follow them throughout their educational career.

Principal Susan Foster, Fred Assam Elementary

Principal Foster is a shining example of what an elementary school principal should be. I have had the distinct honor of enjoying Principal Foster as a leader at FAE since my daughter started school (in 2018). But I know that countless other parents and students have also been impacted by her incredible years of service. During the pandemic, Principal Foster kept spirits high, by continuing daily school announcements. She’d record them with crazy wigs, silly jokes and uplifting message both for students and parents. She listens to each and every concern that crosses her desk – when she’s at it – she’s more than likely engaging with students in the lunch room, chatting with teachers about different behavior programs to influence positivity into the entire school, speaking with parents about the next fun activity at school. She is at every school sponsored event, wielding her camera and taking pictures of the event and every attendee. She created a kindness store during the holidays for all children- they had to show kindness during the month of December to the staff and their fellow classmates. Each student then got a chance to shop for their family members (not themselves) for a special holiday gift that they chose and wrapped and took home to place under the tree. Principal Foster did all of the shopping for these gifts and brought thousands of items so that each kid could participate. She is up early to make balloon arches for a Donuts with Dad event, she stays late to attend every PTA meeting, she meets and engages with staff and students. Fred Assam Elementary is continually meeting and exceeding academic standards as well. Reading and Math scores have remained high and engagement of teachers and students is top on her list. Her Blue Ribbon School recognition in 2023 shows how important academics, kindness and hard work play together in an elementary school. Not only is Principal Foster an amazing principal, but truly an amazing human being. Principal Foster is retiring this year after years in education and she will be greatly missed. She deserves this amazing honor!


I have never met a better person to care for my children. This principle puts in everything she has to make coming to school a positive experience. Through the stay at home time during covid, she still got online and did a morning announcement video for the kids. Her school recently became a Blue Ribbon School and she took this to heart. Her school is the only one in the Brandon School District that has the Walk to Read program. Thus program has caught both of my children lacking some reading skills and has gotten them both the extra help that they need. She is such an amazing person and it is very hard to see her retire at the end of the year. I wish every educator could be as good as Mrs. Foster has been.

Joann Presler, Fred Assam Elementary

Mrs. Presler isn’t our son’s primary teacher but she goes above and beyond to help him in his struggles with math. She gives him many pointers and confidence to succeed in school! You can find her outside with her class during recess, playing with her kiddos and making school fun for all! She deserves this award even though she does not expect it. She definitely loves what she does and many kids are lucky to have/had her in their lives.

Kate Kirkebak, Fred Assam Elementary

Ms. Kirkebak has a personality that is hard not to love. She is quirky and makes it fun for the students. She has a way of making each student feel seen in her classroom. For example, my daughter asked her how to spell “perfect” and the spelled it out, then told her that there is another way to spell perfect, and then spelled my daughter’s name. She is the kind of teacher that makes a calm safe environment for students, if the weight of the world is on them, once they see her they can breathe again. She knows that everyone has a bad day every now and then and she works with parents and students to make the child feel better and secure. She works one each students individual level as well as where their at as a class. Even when her life got busier she still made time for her class and for parents to reach out. She is compassionate, meticulous, intuitive, and optimistic. Everything a 3rd grader needs.

Tara Scholten, Fred Assam Elementary

Mrs. Scholten is fantastic! She has my daughter this year but has taught 2 of her brothers as well. She loves her classroom family. She makes sure they understand what they’re learning. My favorite characteristic of hers is how organized she is! And she passes those tools on to her students. Her high expectations help mold them into respectful, responsible, dedicated people. My seventh grade and junior sons are better human beings when it comes to their education because of the foundation laid for them in fourth grade with Mrs. Scholten!

Jill Nuebel, Fred Assam Elementary

Both of our boys had/have Mrs. Nuebel as their Kindergarten teacher. She makes learning fun, has a heart of gold and goes the extra step to help with any concerns that we have had about our children. Our oldest has Neurofibromatosis and started to get bad headaches at the end of the school year, Mrs. Nuebel would reach out to me to ask what she could do to help our son to make it easier on him and to keep his headaches away. Our 2nd grader still talks about how “fun” Mrs. Nuebel is and wishes he could still have her. Hands down, one of our favorite people!

Leah Williamson, Fred Assam Elementary

Mrs. Williamson brings joy to her classroom everyday. She is patient beyond belief! I think all kindergarten teachers are superheroes, but she goes above and beyond. I am constantly amazed by the topics and activities that happen in her room. My son is excited to go to school each day because of the classroom environment she has created. He feels safe and ready to take on risks in his learning! I am so glad that his elementary school experience is starting on such a positive note. Her impact will be felt for years to come!

Mrs. Michelle Kieffer, Fred Assam Elementary

Mrs. Kieffer is very professional and well trained teacher/educator. She is has good communicating skills. My child is profoundly impressed by her teaching skills and the way she is taking care of the students.

Gretchen Johnson, Garfield Elementary

On a daily basis Ms. Johnson makes an impact on all kids! She takes the time to listen to their wants and needs! Many times she will go out of her way to make sure her students needs are met! Always has food, clothing on hand for her students! They don’t have a resource for this at Garfield! She has such a caring heart! If a student doesn’t have transportation she makes sure it happens! She coaches as well and touches so many girls and boys lives at an early stage! She is a true leader so many of her peers look up to her! She was at Cleveland for 17 years and made the Change to Garfield 2 years ago! It was a calling that she couldn’t turn her back on! We are so fortunate to have her in our school system! As a teacher, mentor, coach and a daughter!

Larissa Johnson, Journey Elementary

Mrs. Johnson is an outstanding teacher. She brings so much joy and energy to the classroom. She takes time to get to know her students. She actively tries to connect with each student to understand how each learner best learns. She meet the student where he or she is at in their learning journey. She encourages each child to work hard and do their best. She also helps students move out of their comfort zone in order to grow. She truly cares for each student and wants him/her to succeed. She is such a wonderful teacher and we are grateful for her!

Brittney Nelson, Legacy Elementary School

Where do I start! This teacher has 30 kids in her class and that alone is just phenomenal! Our daughter was diagnosed with a more unheard of medical diagnosis that affects her behavior, academics, and learning so caring for her can be a lot! She goes above and beyond to not just give us a daily update on how our daughter did for the day but also is constantly coming up with ways to assist on making transitions better and easier for our daughter. She is very accommodating and so supportive with our daughter and is always positive to just say, “Don’t worry we will meet her needs for whatever she needs for the day.” Mrs. Nelson is so compassionate and cares for the kids she educates like they are her own. There is no way we would have been able to get through this school year without her as she has been a huge key component in the care for our daughter with her calmness and patience she provides. Mrs Nelson by far deserves to the Child Care Provider of the Year!

Andrea Bleil, Robert Frost/Challenge Center

Words cannot describe how dedicated Mrs. Bleil is to the students in her class. She is respectful, caring and loving to all of the students and ensures that each student is treated equally. My son, Payton is one such child. As an Autistic child that has ADHD, Mrs. Bleil has taken it upon herself to ensure that he is treated with respect, while also teaching him about respect. She gives him and other students extra time to complete tests and work should they need it. However, I think the thing I am impressed with the most is the fact that she designs projects for the kids to complete that forces them to think outside of the box. Because of this my child has designed things at home that I didn’t know he was capable of.

Kevin Knapp, Roosevelt High School

I know this is not an elementary school teacher or daycare provider. I’m hoping I can still nominate him. He is a teacher at Memorial Middle school. He also is my daughter’s high school gymnastics coach. It is an honor to nominate him. As you know, our season was NOT supposed to happen this year. We found out 2 weeks before season started we were able to have a season. Kevin was able to put a team together for both Jefferson and Roosevelt within 2 weeks! He got the gym set up and girls practicing on time. He also coached both teams. He has been Chloe and Lilly’s coach for 7 years. He has had such a huge impact on their lives. I want to make sure he is recognized for all his hard work and dedication towards the sport and the 2 teams. My daughters have learned so many gymnastics skills and was able to compete at state almost all 7 years. He made my girls feel proud and confident. He taught my girls life skills that they can take with them. He has had such an impact on all the athletes lives. He taught them how to help with the community by doing community service such as making blankets, working at the banquet, etc. he taught them great sportsmanship. He stayed longer after many practices to work one on one with athletes. He did his own camps and classes during summers to keep them trained for next season. He is one of the most dedicated coaches we have had throughout my daughters lives. I can not say enough good things about him. Please consider him for this years educator award.

Jade Fjelstad, Sioux Falls Lutheran School

Mrs. Fjelstad is an amazing preschool teacher. It was my twins first year at the school and she treated them and every other student as another person in her family. There were different instances throughout the school year that our kids’ struggled to cope with, and she willingly jumped in and made sure that they got the extra attention that was needed during that time. The amount that they learned while with her was amazing. They could count almost to 100 before even going into kindergarten. Even when she sees past students in the hallways she checks in on them. She couldn’t be more loving and caring to all of the kids that she has had in her care. She is a true example of what a great teacher looks like and how they go above and beyond their job to ensure that each kid grows mentally and spiritually while with her.

Becky Van Gundy, Susan B. Anthony Elementary

Mrs. Van Gundy is a gift to her students! She meets learners right where they are and helps them to grow. She considers where learners are developmentally, and she lets them have time to play and simply embrace childhood. She creates a classroom environment that is safe and encouraging, which allows all learners to flourish! She treats each child as if they are her own, and she goes above and beyond to love and care for them. At the beginning of the year, my son struggled walking into school by himself and cried most days – the transition was hard for him. On one particular day, Mrs. VanGundy was going to be gone. That morning, she texted me a note to give him from her. It reminded him that he was brave and that he could do hard things – he could walk in by himself. As a mom, it meant so much to see how much she cared. My son has learned and grown so much this year. He loves learning, which is one of the greatest gifts a teacher can share with her students.

Sarah Slykhuis, Tea Venture Elementary

My child comes home and talks about how learning is fun for her. She states that Mrs. Slykhuis is patient, fair and treats everyone equally. Sarah is also a great role model outside of the school. She is a Sunday School teacher in our church and she continues to show her care for students outside of the classroom when she sees them; she always greets them with a smile.