By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN Meredith Huikko, a teacher from Delano Elementary School, was surprised April 11 with the news that she is a recipient of a 2014 WEM Outstanding Educator Award for Teacher Achievement, an honor that is accompanied by a $15,000 award.
Huikko is one of six educators being honored by the WEM Foundation and Synergy & Leadership Exchange for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to student learning.
The Delano High School graduate, Huikko reflected briefly on her career as a student at Delano Public Schools before becoming a teacher.
“I had some really good teachers when I was a kid,” Huikko said. “Some of them are still teaching today. I give them credit to the things I’m able to do today.”
Huikko said Delano is fortunate to have “really great” students, and called her class to the front of the room to stand with her as she accepted the award.
She is one of two recipients of the WEM Foundation’s statewide Teacher Achievement Award, which recognizes exemplary teachers who support, inspire and assist students to attain greater learning as evidenced by student achievement.
Huikko has been teaching for 14 years, and currently teaches kindergarten at Delano Elementary School. Her husband and two daughters were also able to be on hand for the presentation.
She has emerged as a school leader in the area of technology. She embraces technology as a tool that can enhance learning and engage student interest at a level not typically seen in a kindergarten classroom.
“Technology is an area in which Meredith excels in the classroom,” shared a colleague. “Meredith’s SMART board lessons provide active participation with technology for her students and are an exciting part of her students’ learning.”
“My daughter once told me that she wished Mrs. Huikko was her mom so she could keep her forever,” said a former parent. As a mom, I could be jealous by that comment but I could not have been happier to hear that my daughter felt loved by Mrs. Huikko.”
In addition to teaching, Huikko serves on many school and special event committees.
According to supporting infromation, Huikko is always willing to share her knowledge and donate her time. Huikko leads the school’s kindergarten diaper drive service project.
In just three years, they have collected more than 7,000 diapers and 12,000 wipes for families in need.
Educators are first nominated for the WEM Outstanding Educator Awards Program by students, parents, colleagues or community members. Those who accept the nomination provide additional information for consideration by Synergy & Leadership Exchange and a blue ribbon selection panel, which reviews and ranks the nominees.
In addition to the six statewide honorees, additional educators have been selected as regional honorees for 2014. These names will be announced in May.
Synergy & Leadership Exchange (Synergy) is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering collaboration to advance the development of ethical citizens, providing educational resources, and celebrating achievement and best practices in Minnesota schools, businesses and communities.