Dec. 11 , 2006

Delano's Teacher of the Year considers himself lucky

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

Delano’s teacher of the year Paul Ludwig “completely enjoys everything there is about teaching at Delano Elementary School.”

Ludwig learned of the honor recently, and will now go on to state competition for teacher of the year, which is run by Education Minnesota.

“My forms and materials need to be turned in by Jan. 8,” Ludwig said. “They will choose semi-finalists sometime in February, and finals in March.”

The recognition banquet will be May 6. Last year, Ludwig said he thought there were almost 120 teachers from across the state nominated.

“I have an application and portfolio to complete by Jan. 8, with things such as my teaching philosophy and professional and community involvement,” he said.

The fourth grade teacher grew up in Delano, and attended elementary, middle, and high school at Delano. He graduated in 1993 from Delano High School.

“There are still a few teachers here, teaching in all three buildings, that I had growing up,” he said. “I owe a great deal to Delano Public Schools and I feel extremely lucky to be able to teach in my hometown.”

He went on to college at the University of Minnesota, Morris, where he earned his elementary education degree and coaching certificate in 1997.

Ludwig continued his education by attending St. Cloud State University, earning his master of education degree in 2002, and his instructional technology certificate in 2003. He continues to work on graduate studies at Hamline University.

His first teaching job was a second grade position at Kasson-Mantorville Schools from 1997 to 1999. He returned home, and has taught third and fourth grade at Delano Elementary since 1999. He has also taught summer school since 2003.

“Working with such high quality staff, students, parents, and community is a great experience and a real honor,” Ludwig said. “They are an outstanding group of teachers, and even better people. I learn every day from each one of them – Jan Christophersen, Neva Stoebner, Leah Sinkel, Kim Heidebrink, Joe Schleper, Jim Hall, and Meredith Huikko.”

“I think one thing that really sets our staff apart from others is the dedication that our staff has to our students,” he said. “I wish we had more opportunities to recognize more of these fantastic teachers.”

Ludwig also noted that his students from over the years have given him the inspiration to continue striving toward being the best educator he can be. His students made him a banner after finding out about the award that they all signed, which Ludwig hung on the wall above his desk.

“I think they were excited once they realized what it was all about. They are the reason why I am teaching,” he said of his students. “I thoroughly enjoy getting to know each child, and watching them develop and change as the years go on.”

Ludwig resides in Delano with his brother, Joel; sister-in-law, Meghan; and their three girls, Fiona, Kaelie, and Elica.

He enjoys basketball, running, biking, coaching basketball and track, and spending time with his nieces. He was an assistant men’s basketball coach at Crown College from 2003-’06, and at Delano, is the junior high track coach.

At school, he also serves on committees for elementary site base, science curriculum, district-wide technology, and elementary school technology curriculum; and previously served on the health curriculum committee.

Ludwig is also the elementary school web-master, and has taught web page and digital picture classes through the district academy.

He was nominated for the award by Gwen Egly and Cindy Krattenmaker.

“These are two great staff members who do a great job working with our elementary students, and I feel lucky to be able to work with them each day,” he said.

“This is a very humbling experience being selected by your peers to receive an honor such as this,” he added. “I believe teachers enjoy teaching, and aren’t the kind of people who seek these sort of recognitions . . . I know I would be just fine with a ‘thank you.’”

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