Progress: One special teacherPublished 11:30am Friday, March 18, 2011
Hero: Tonya Prouty
Secret identity: special education teacheraccuracy
Base of operations: Lakeview Elementary School, Albert Lea
Superpowers: She believes in her students and has a strong perserverance. She is a lifelong learner and always wants to be a better teacher.
Kryptonite: biting off more than she can chew because she has a hard time saying no
Affiliations: 5-year-old son, Bryce; boyfriend, Keith Franks
Origin: Prouty received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Dakota and worked on her bachelor’s-plus 30 from Minnesota State University, Moorhead. She moved to Albert Lea when her ex-husband got a job here and now is in her eighth year at Lakeview Elementary School. She is working on her master’s degree through St. Mary’s University-Winona.
Prouty said her favorite part about her job is working with the kids.
“I like learning about them and getting to know them,” she said. “With these kids I get to work with them year after year. It’s rewarding to see their growth.”
Prouty works mainly with students who have learning disabilities, emotional behavioral disorders or health disabilities.
“Tonya’s creativeness is awesome! She always plans fun, exciting, meaningful lessons for the kids. She has been great to work with. I have learned so much from her about organization and differentiating lessons.” — Ann Hareid, third-grade teacher, Lakeview
“I’ve worked with Tonya for two years now, and I really appreciate her ‘glass is half full’ attitude. Teaching kids can sometimes feel like breaking into a locked house. Tonya has learned to jimmy many locks.” — Robin Hundley, sixth-grade teacher, Lakeview
“Tonya is always willing to try new things. She is constantly trying to find the best ‘fit’ for kids. Tonya has it all — dedication, professionalism, passion for kids and a good sense of humor!” — Jean Jordan, former principal, Lakeview
“All you have to do is watch Tonya teach one day, and you’ll be able to see her passion and joy for teaching. You can tell it in the way she talks with her students and how she helps other teachers problem solve. She just has a gentle way of talking to her students that shows she cares. It’s obvious that they respect her and being in the same classroom as her. She gets to know them personally, where they feel comfortable with her.
“She’s a go-to person, especially if we’re having difficulties with behaviors of students or classroom management ideas.” — Joie Willner, special education teacher, Lakeview
“Working with Tonya has definitely taught me patience and perserverance — and also to start fresh. Every day is a new start.” — Twyla Larson, para-educator in the Learning Center at Lakeview