By Jen Bakken
DELANO, MN For 29 years, Mona Eicher has been a devoted teacher at Delano Elementary School.
For her dedicated service to the children, parents, and school community she received the outstanding leadership award from the Education Central Minnesota Services Unit.
Nominated by fellow second grade teacher Jan Boghani, Eicher was recognized at a banquet in Princeton Feb. 18, with a plaque and monetary reward.
“I thought of her because she is an excellent teacher,” said Boghani. “She has been instrumental in organizing staff development and it’s amazing what she can do for us.”
One may not be aware the plaque is in Eicher’s classroom because she modestly keeps it in a drawer near her desk.
“Others at the school work just as hard as I do,” she said. “I don’t like to be set apart because they are all great.”
Eicher has been involved in many committees, groups, or projects within the school including, serving as a union negotiator, assisting in writing curriculum, and she wrote a grant request for the inclusion of the Minnesota Reading Corps (MRC) into the school.
Recently, Eicher created a book of criteria for teachers in correlation with Response to Intervention (RtI).
This is a methodology that ensures all students have access to high-quality instruction, and that struggling learners, including students with learning disabilities, are identified and served appropriately.
“She is always willing to share her ideas,” said Boghani. “She’s just something, her leadership skills, how she interacts with children and adults, is all amazing.”
Many things have changed for Eicher in her years of teaching, but one has remained the same the school she teaches in.
Right after graduating from University of Minnesota Moorhead, she began teaching at Delano Elementary School in what is now the community education building. At that time, the school had one computer, kept in the library, and only one phone located in the basement.
“Things have gone from chalkboards, then white boards, to overhead projectors and now to SMART boards,” Eicher said. “I can’t imagine doing my job without a computer now.”
She has moved around the school and spent time teaching multiple grade levels and in the special education department, while all along continuing to love what she does.
“My mom knew I would be a teacher when I was seven years old,” she said. “Two of my aunts were teachers. My niece wants to be a teacher, too. I think its in the genes.”
Living in Buffalo with her feline companion Sox, she enjoys reading, traveling, and has recently taken up golf.
Eicher will continue to do the job she loves.
“I love seeing the growth in kids,” she said. “Seeing them blossom is the best part.”