Kathy Athmann awarded a statewide Teacher Achievement Award
By Kristen Miller
What a way to end the school year for Dassel-Cokato Middle School teacher Kathryn Athmann, and the recipient of a $10,000 award of excellence.
Athmann, a reading specialist and Title I coordinator, received the Teacher Achievement Award given by the Center for Academic Excellence and the WEM Foundation May 30.
“I was greatly surprised and deeply humbled,” Athmann said.
She was one of six who were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to student learning.
The Teacher Achievement Award recognizes educators who support, inspire, and assist students to achieve despite barriers to learning, according to a press release from the Center for Academic Excellence.
“Her presence in the middle school has had a powerful impact on students and staff. Her genuine interest in seeing students succeed overflows into the classrooms and teachers around her,” said Jeff Powers, superintendent of Dassel-Cokato Public Schools.
Some of her contributions to the Dassel-Cokato School District were “the development of an at-risk reading program which focuses on providing all students with a non-threatening learning environment, diagnosing each student’s current reading level, focusing instruction to build skills in deficit areas, providing ongoing reading practice and support, monitoring growth and adjusting instruction based on post-assessments, recruiting community volunteer mentors to assist students in the development of greater self-esteem, and developing and practicing proper etiquette behavior.
“Her creation and development of a mentor program has been successful in providing positive role models for at-risk students.”
In addition, Cokato-Dassel Rotary Club members from the community come to school once a week to read and develop relationships with individual at-risk young men.
“Her dedication and passion for her work and improving the lives of others is unlike anything that I have ever seen. It is teachers like her that inspire and lead others to greatness,” said community member Tamarah Gehlen.
Athmann responded, saying, “Great credit goes to Mr. Powers, for allowing me to work with him, to research and develop this program. Credit is also due to Principal Gary Johnson, Sandy Jones, Peggy Smith, and fifth and sixth grade teachers for working to make the program a great success,” she said.
“An additional element to our program’s success is our army of volunteer mentors, which include local Rotary members and numerous community members who generously donate their time to our students.
“Our community is very fortunate to have all these forces working together to build the success of our students.”
“The world today, provides children great academic, social, and emotional challenges. I am blessed and honored to work in a district which believes in taking the time needed to educate the whole child,” Athmann said.