Four Sartell-St. Stephen teachers were honored for excellence Oct. 30 at the 22nd annual “Leaders in Educational Excellence Awards Ceremony.”
Nearly 500 people attended the banquet, which took place at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, where 151 teachers from throughout the state were honored with awards signed by Gov. Mark Dayton. Since the awards ceremony began 22 years ago, 3,192 educators in the state have been honored.
The Sartell recipients were Pat Cicharz, special-education teacher at Sartell Middle School; Angie Heckman, Sartell High School art teacher and yearbook advisor; Nikki Perius, second-grade teacher at Oak Ridge Elementary School; and Tim Schreiber, kindergarten teacher at Pine Meadow Elementary School. They had been nominated by their peers in the schools.
Teachers honored at the banquet included teachers from public, private, parochial and charter schools from 41 school districts and agencies.
The keynote speaker was Bob Upgren, a leadership trainer from Bismarck, N.D. who created a huge chalk drawing and delivered a video message challenging the audience to think about their lives and then choose a legacy they would like to leave.
“Life is a journey,” he said. “Make it count!”
Dr. Brenda Cassellius, Minnesota’s commissioner of education, was invited to the banquet but was unable to attend. She did send a message, however, which read:
“Congratulations to the educators who are being honored tonight for your immeasurable contributions to our children. It is always a pleasure to acknowledge the exceptional achievements of Minnesota educators. Your success with students and staff at your schools and in your districts is nothing short of inspiring. We need to celebrate and replicate your hard work, which is why I encourage you all to keep working creatively with your students and share your successes with your colleagues. Best wishes for a well-earned celebration tonight and thank you for all the work you do for the children of Minnesota.”
The LEEA event was sponsored by many school districts, Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Horace Mann Agency and Resource Training and Solutions, based in Sartell. The banquet was coordinated by Sandra Cordie of Sartell, who is director of educational programs for Resource Training and Solutions.