Updated: Patrick Mahoney named Education Minnesota Worthington's 2022 Teacher of the Year
Runners up also announced during Wednesday evening ceremony.
ROUND LAKE — Worthington High School social studies teacher Patrick Mahoney was announced as Education Minnesota Worthington’s Teacher of the Year Wednesday evening during the group’s recognition program at Round Lake Vineyard and Winery.
In announcing the award recipient, teacher Stacy Sauerbrei said Mahoney is one of the most positive people to be around, and students frequently list Mahoney as one of their favorite teachers.
“He is dedicated to and passionate about the art of teaching,” Sauerbrei said. “He has coached, he is an adviser, he works with credit recovery at the Learning Center … the list goes on and on — and so does his unending energy.
“Mahoney is this year’s deserving recipient,” Sauerbrei continued, offering words of praise he collected from students — encouraging, understanding, caring, outgoing, supportive, awesome, nice, the best, “We love Mr. Mahoney,” and “He’s the man.”
As he accepted the award, Mahony said he was excited to receive the honor on May 4 — a celebratory day for Star Wars fans (May the fourth be with you!), and said the award might be the closest he’ll ever get to being a Jedi Master.
Mahoney thanked his parents for pushing him to finish his homework as a student, and said District 518 has been a blessing for him.
“The opportunities this district has given me have been as varied as our population,” he said, noting that he probably worked at least three different jobs in each building in the district.
As a student with ADHD — and now a teacher with ADHD — Mahoney said that while he has a disorder, with the right guidance people can turn their disabilities into superpowers.
“My hope is that I’m the kryptonite for apathy,” he said.
Mahoney also spoke of he and wife Jenalee’s loss of their infant, Genevieve, and how the district rallied around them during the eight months of her life.
“I didn’t have to worry about anything,” he said, adding that the time with Genevieve and their family taught him about the importance of being present, of living in the moment and knowing the time and place you are in is special.
Two runners-up for Teacher of the Year were also recognized, including Chelsea Wintz, eighth grade math teacher at Worthington Middle School, and Becca McGaughey, seventh grade English teacher, also at the middle school.
McGaughey was also recognized as the outstanding member of the teacher’s union. She has served as lead negotiator for the past couple of years and “has really been committed to labor to make sure we have great learning conditions and our students have great learning conditions,” said Jodi Hansen in presenting the award.
Receiving accolades — and a standing ovation — as the Friends of Education were the paraprofessionals in District 518. In recognizing the group, presenter Jody Madsen said they are underpaid, underappreciated and have passed more classes than professionals with masters and doctorates.
“Not only do they know the content inside out and backwards, but they also know many of our students’ home lives inside out and backwards,” Madsen said. “During distance learning days, they went above and beyond without compensation to make sure students’ needs were met by staying online until assignments were done or until the emotional needs of the kids were met.
“Words of praise and gratitude seem insufficient to what we owe to this amazing group of individuals,” she added.
The evening also included congratulations for the district’s two retiring teachers, Tom Woods, a third grade teacher at Prairie Elementary, and Paula Stock, eighth grade teacher at Worthington Middle School.