2007 WEM Educator Award Brunch

Six Educators Receive $10,000 Awards for Excellence
On October 20, six Minnesota Educators were honored at the ninth annual WEM Outstanding Educator Awards Brunch. The event was held at the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place, where each honoree was presented with a crystal apple, an unrestricted $10,000 award from the WEM Foundation, and had the opportunity to share highlights of their educational journey. This celebration is administered by Synergy & Leadership Exchange on behalf of the WEM Foundation to acknowledge and celebrate the excellence in education demonstrated by classroom teachers, academic coaches, and administrators.

The WEM Educator Awards program was created by the WEM Foundation, and is administered bySynergy & Leadership Exchange, in partnership with members of MRSA. The WEM Foundation supports teachers and their important role in helping all children achieve academically. The awards program, now in its ninth year, has helped recognize education’s often "unsung heroes"—educators who daily meet the challenges and opportunities of teaching in a variety of settings. Educators are first nominated by students, students’ parents, colleagues or community members. Those who accept the nomination provide information for review and consideration by the Center for Academic Excellence and a blue ribbon selection panel, which reviews and ranks the nominees.

Two educators from each of three categories were honored:

2007 Teacher Achievement Award — recognizing teachers who support, inspire and assist students to achieve despite barriers to learning:
  • Kenneth Fiscus of Albert Lea teaches Earth/Space Science to 9th grade students at Albert Lea High School in Albert Lea, while also teaching college astronomy at Riverland Community College.
  • Stephen Schroeder-Davis of Elk River serves as Head of Staff Development, Coordinator of Gifted Services, Mentor Coordinator and Differentiation Specialist for Elk River Area Public Schools, serves as a consultant with the Minnesota Department of Education while also teaching as an adjunct professor at St. Mary’s University.
2007 Academic Coach of the Year Award — recognizing coaches of student teams who participate and compete in academic challenge or enrichment programs endorsed by the Minnesota’s Academic League Council:
  • Peggy Pasche of Cokato teaches high school Math at Buffalo Senior High Schools in addition to coaching Knowledge Bowl and serving on the Regional Knowledge Bowl Advisory Committee and mentoring new coaches from other districts.
  • Laura Bidne of Jackson teaches agricultural education at Jackson County Central School District in addition to coaching FFA, where she coaches student in various Career Development Team and Individual events at local, regional, state and national levels.
2007 Ethics in Education Award — recognizing educators who exemplify ethical behavior for the teaching profession and promote ethical practices and development for their students through classroom activities or curriculum:
  • Cheryl Bjerk of Mora serves a principal at Fairview Elementary in Mora, where she has helped to implement programs in her school such as: LIFESKILLS, Brain Gym™, Fast ForWord, and accelerated math and reading, while fostering a positive working and learning environment.
  • Charlotte Landreau of St. Paul teaches history in grades 7-12 and serves as the International Baccalaureate Coordinator at Highland Park Senior High in St. Paul, while initiating such programs as Achievement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and a Liberal Arts program at Highland in cooperation with art and English teachers.
In addition to the six statewide honorees, 12 educators were named as regional honorees for 2007:

Teacher Achievement:
  • Anne Redfern (Groveland Elementary School, Minnetonka Schools)
  • Sheryl Schrage (Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Elementary School)
  • Lester Backus (Longfellow Elementary, Rochester Public Schools)
  • Jan Mandell (Central High School, St. Paul Schools)
Academic Coach of the Year:
  • Maria Singh (Pillsbury Math/Science/Tech)
  • Loren Dunham (Fairmont Junior-Senior High School)
  • Patrick Hiltner (Lincoln Junior High, Glencoe-Silver Lake Public Schools)
  • Lori Galles (Park Elementary School, Hutchinson Public Schools)
Ethics in Education:
  • Kenneth Habel (Robbinsdale Middle School)
  • Jennifer Lindstrom (Lake Park-Audubon Schools)
  • Jeanne Burtzel (John Clark Elementary School, ROCORI Public Schools)
  • Sherri Blasing (Central High School, Mankato Area Public Schools)