The Chalk Blog

Teacher of the Year Finalist Interview: Rachel Steil

We are excited any time we get a chance to highlight the accomplishments of a great teacher! Rachel Steil, a member of the Learners Edge Evaluator Team, is a Minnesota Teacher of the Year finalist!  Rachel is a High School English and Journalism teacher.  She has been a Course Evaluator for two years, and currently provides personalized feedback for students in 5018: Cultivating Mindfulness in the Classroom, 5850: PBIS 101, 5856: Project-Based Learning, and 5833: One Stop Shop.  Rachel is also an instructor in our Master’s/Post-Graduate Certificate program with Southern New Hampshire University.  We sat down with Rachel to learn a bit more about her teaching experiences and how Learners Edge contributes to her classroom practices. 


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Topics: Learners Edge News, Teacher of the Year, Teacher Appreciation

Part 2 of 2: Teacher of the Year! What it's like to win!

Interview with Teacher of the Year Award Winner: Jill Runde 

*Part 2 of 2: A blog series on past Teacher of the Year Winners. Did you miss part one? Click here!*

What do Lunchables, Suave, and a Teacher of the Year award have in common?  

Jill Runde, that’s what. 

With a successful career as a corporate marketer for Oscar Mayer and Helene Curtis on the line, Jill embraced her calling to help kids. Enjoy this interview outlining Jill’s journey from corporate marketer to Teacher of the Year in 2017. 

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Teacher of the Year

Part 1 of 2: Teacher of the Year! What it's like to win!

Interview with Teacher of the Year Award Winner: Katy Smith 

*Part 1 of 2: A blog series on past Teacher of the Year Winners. Stay tuned as we talk to Jill Runde, 2017 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year Award Winner this Friday, May 3rd.*

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life?

Since I’ve been around a while, there are a few “hardest things” from which I could choose, but definitely at the top is having a child. 

I was a new sleep-deprived, lonely, (and even a little scared) mom, when I walked to the mailbox and found a brochure that said “Wanted: BABIES.”  

While reading through the information, I realized they weren’t asking just for babies, they wanted parents, too! I was intrigued—and it was in that moment that I discovered a program called ECFE—Early Childhood Family Education. The program said it was a place where mess-making, play, and discovery were encouraged, a place to connect with other parents in the community, and a place to learn about parenting and to receive support.

Besides the ECFE program itself, I learned about the role of parent educators in the ECFE program. I grew to understand that the role of parent educators was to provide research on parenting, best practices and support to the parents of 0-5 year oldsOne amazing parent educator I met along the way was Katy Smith. Katy won the Teacher of the Year award in 2011 and has created a following through her advocacy for children and families.  

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Teacher of the Year

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