Julie Jaeger, a teacher in the gifted and talented program in the Minot Public Schools, has been chosen as the Minot Education Association Teacher of the Year. She is also one of four finalists for the North Dakota Education Association Teacher of the Year award.
"This is beyond exciting," Jaeger said during a teacher assembly Monday morning. She said she was overwhelmed by the honor.
Jaeger is a veteran teacher who has taught in Fessenden, South Prairie, Nedrose and North Plains and served as a technology partner for the district before moving over to gifted and talented services. She serves on various other organizations and, among other areas, has a strong interest in digital storytelling.
Jaeger encouraged teachers to help kids think in new and creative ways, even as they implement the changes coming about with a switch to the new Common Core standards.
Young children also think differently than adults and even older students do, said Jaeger. She recalled how her grandson, who is starting kindergarten this fall, asked to talk with her via FaceTime and showed her the different activities he was doing. The boy wants to be a scientist and Jaeger said she tells him that he is already a scientist, every day of his life.
Jaeger praised the Minot Public Schools for encouraging teachers to take advantage of professional development opportunities and because it enables her to work with other teachers.
She particularly likes the gifted and talented program, where she has worked for about a decade.
"I've loved every job that I've ever had but this job really speaks to me," said Jaeger.
During the annual teacher assembly, the MEA also recognized Minot Public Library children's librarian Paulette Nelson as their Friend of Education. Nelson was praised for running the summer reading program, working with the school district's after school programs and providing reading programs at the library throughout the school year.