Hoekstra named EMW teacher of the yearWORTHINGTON — Amid a group of her colleagues and family members, Sheryl Hoekstra was named the 2011 Education Minnesota Worthington Teacher of the Year at the annual ceremony on Monday afternoon.
WORTHINGTON — Amid a group of her colleagues and family members, Sheryl Hoekstra was named the 2011 Education Minnesota Worthington Teacher of the Year at the annual ceremony on Monday afternoon.
Prairie Elementary teacher Linda Schaefer introduced Hoekstra, noting, “When something needs to be done at school, Sheryl is always the one to say, ‘I will do it’.”
Hoekstra is currently a second-grade teacher at Prairie Elementary and has been a teacher in District 518 for the last 29 years. She is also currently serving as the Education Minnesota Worthington President.
“Every day she is excited about teaching her students and encourages them to be the best they can be,” Schaefer added. “She is always positive. She encourages us to learn from each other, to support one another and to look for the good in every student and the joy in every day.”
Hoekstra earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and special certification in learning disabilities from Northern State College, in Aberdeen, S.D. She continued her education, earning a degree in early childhood special education from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She continues to be licensed in all three areas.
Prior to teaching in District 518, Hoekstra taught in Lakefield for three years and Litchfield for a year. Marriage brought her to the Worthington area.
She initially submitted her name as a substitute teacher, but her resumé was recognized and she was interviewed and hired as an early childhood special education teacher shortly after submitting an application.
Twenty-nine years later, Hoekstra couldn’t be more delighted to be a teacher at District 518.
Grateful and in awe of receiving such an honor, Hoekstra thanked her colleagues and commended the high caliber of teachers working in the district.
“We work together,” she said. “We share ideas, work out student issues, support each other personally and professionally.”
Hoekstra also noted her lineage of teachers who have imparted their passion for teaching with her and continue to inspire her in the classroom. Her grandmother was a teacher and her daughter is currently a fifth-grade teacher in Shakopee.
“I’ve heard it said that teaching is a thankless job,” Hoekstra said. “But I disagree.”
Hoekstra has saved many of the countless e-mails, notes and paintings from students throughout her tenure as a teacher. Such words of encouragement have uplifted her spirits and continue to remind her of her love for teaching.
“The challenges are so varied, but they all involve trying to bring out the full potential in each student,” Hoekstra said of the day-to-day challenges of being an educator. “In order to teach you have to constantly learn, so I will continue learning as I continue to teach. And I will savor the joy of the day I was named Education Minnesota Worthington Teacher of the Year.”
Three other teachers were nominated for the honor — Roxanne Kremer, a kindergarten teacher at Prairie Elementary, Myrna Nystrom, a ninth-grade teacher at Worthington High School and Tim Doeden, a seventh-grade teacher at WMS.
“We are honored and humbled to have you all as colleagues,” Jodi Hansen, 2010 EMW Teacher of the Year recipient, said. “The dedication and service to the students of this district is greatly appreciated.”