School district names Teacher of the Year

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 6, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writer

Second-grade teacher Pam Carlson of Hawthorne Elementary School was named Albert Lea’s Teacher of the Year in an emotional ceremony yesterday at the Albert Lea High School.

&8220;It’s really overwhelming,&8221; Carlson said. &8220;When you’re standing up here, you’re representing everyone. It’s just one of those jobs that doesn’t happen without the people around you.&8221;

Carlson taught kindergarten for nine years at Lakeview Elementary School before moving to Hawthorne to teach second grade.

&8220;She’s absolutely exceptional,&8221; said Hawthorne Principal Corrine Tims. &8220;She’s one of those teachers that puts in long hours all summer long. She really reaches out to every child.&8221;

Carlson was a Teacher of the Year finalist in 1998, 2001 and 2005 before she won the award this year.

&8220;You don’t get here by yourself; it’s the people who help you on your way, parents and kids,&8221; Carlson said after she accepted her award.

During the reception, the six finalists for teacher of the year were all recognized: DeJuana Aldrich, high school earth science teacher; Pam Carlson of Hawthorne; Wendy Greenfield of Southwest Middle School; Karen Hendrickson of Hawthorne; Mary Hinnenkamp of the Area Learning Center; and Christine Schaefer of Sibley Elementary School.

&8220;They care about kids and they believe that as a school district we can make a difference,&8221; said Superintendent Dave Prescott.

Last year’s Teacher of the Year, Tom Dyrdal of Hawthorne Elementary School, soldiered on through his laryngitis to honor this year’s nominees and all the other great teachers he knew.

Then 2004’s Teacher of the Year, Jim Haney, introduced the finalists.

&8220;The rite of spring is upon us: The Twins losing at the home opener, people getting out walking their dogs, and the Albert Lea Teacher of the Year ceremony,&8221; Haney said jokingly.

(Contact Kari Lucin at or 379-3444.)