Meet the 2008 District 241 Teacher of the Year candidates

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 12, 2008

To commemorate outstanding Albert Lea teachers, the school district has named teachers of the year since 1982.

The 2008 District 241 Teacher of the Year will be announced at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Albert Lea High School Commons. While this is not a public event, the Tribune will have coverage and results Thursday.

In addition to the Teacher of the Year awarded by the Albert Lea Education Association, the Apple Award will be presented by the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce.

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The 2008 Teacher of the Year finalists are JoAnn Erickson, James Glaser, Mary Hinnenkamp, Casey McIntyre and Margo Wayne.

Margo Wayne has worked for District 241 for 31 years.

She earned her master&8217;s degree in education through St. Mary&8217;s College.

Wayne has been the head girls&8217; track coach in Albert Lea for 25 years. She was the head girls&8217; cross country coach for the first five years of her teaching career and has been the B squad volleyball coach for 23 years.

She was a &8220;super chair&8221; for the health and physical education department for two years and led the K-12 health and physical education department through the last North Central Evaluation. She has written health and physical education curriculum during every evaluation cycle and was on the two-person committee to write the high school health and physical education standards for every class. She was the chairwoman of the Big 9 Physical Education/Health Curriculum meeting both times it was hosted in Albert Lea.

Wayne was a first-year inductee on the Wall of Inspiration. She was Big 9 Track Coach of the Year in 1981 and 1993 and Section Track Coach of the Year in 1993. She has been a Teacher of the Year nominee in 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2008. She was selected as the faculty representative to deliver a speech at the 1981 Albert Lea commencement ceremony and was also selected to deliver the speech at the 2005 National Honor Society Induction in Albert Lea.

Wayne is active in the 4-H program and serves on many club, county and state committees and helps at many of the events at the county fair. She is the 4-H project leader in rabbits and runs the 4-H rabbit show at the county fair, helps at other county fairs and at the state rabbit show at the Minnesota State Fair. She has also helped with the state 4-H goat show and has helped every year at the open horse show at the county fair. She is very involved with 4-H rabbit judging contests and has helped at numerous county and state contests. She also works with 4-H&8217;ers individually, in clubs, at workshops, and during meetings educating 4-H&8217;ers about their animals.

&8220;As a parent and a coach, most of my free time is spent attending or helping with my children&8217;s activities or attending clinics and workshops to further my knowledge for my athletes,&8221; she said.

Wayne lives on a farm near Ellendale with her husband Milton, and children Tiffany and Travis. Tiffany graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato in December with a degree in English (with a creative writing emphasis) and technical communication and is working with Movie Gallery and travels the country as a rabbit judge. Travis is a senior at New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva High School.

&8220;Being a teacher and coach has given me many fond and fun memories. I often feel that I don&8217;t give nearly as much as I receive. The colleagues, students, and athletes I have gotten to work with are some of the brightest, kindest, hardest working, and best people I can imagine.

I am so fortunate to have made the career choice I did,&8221; Wayne said.

Mary Hinnenkamp has worked for District 241 for 19 years. She holds bachelor&8217;s degrees in English and speech and a minor in social studies.

Hinnenkamp has served on a variety of language arts, writing and reading committees. She has served on the technology committee, as a department head and began the position as the Albert Lea Area Learning Center coordinator in the fall of 1994. She is currently treasurer for the Southeast Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs and is a member of the Teacher of the Year Committee. She was also a finalist for Teacher of the Year in 2006.

Hinnenkamp is a member of the Freeborn County Peace and Justice Committee, which plans and carries out the Martin Luther King Day breakfast and related activities.

She is a member of the Freeborn County DFL and St. Theodore Catholic Church.

Shortly after marrying Ted Hinnenkamp, the couple joined VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) and were assigned to rural Kentucky and for 2 1/2 years, working with community groups on community justice issues. She set up a program of reading volunteers to help struggling elementary school readers. She set up and taught GED classes at a local church and helped to organize Concerned Citizens of Ballard County which brought the Food Stamp Program to the county. The Hinnenkamps both helped organize and build a community center which is still used there.

Then they moved to the Bronx, N.Y., and worked for two years as houseparents in a group home for at-risk teenage girls for the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

They then moved to suburban Chicago where they worked for one year as houseparents in a program which evaluated at-risk teenage boys who were in crisis.

After their twin sons, Thaddeus and Joshua, were born, Ted decided to pursue a paralegal degree at Antioch College in Washington, D.C.

They worked for one year setting up a group home program for at-risk boys for Catholic Charities in College Park, Md.

They moved to Albert Lea in 1978.

Since that time, she has taught at Pacelli High School and Austin High School. She has taught at Albert Lea High School and tutored at the Hayward Group Home for several years. In 1987, they adopted daughter Theresa (Tess).

In 1988, Hinnenkamp was given the opportunity to teach English at the Albert Lea Alternative School.

&8220;It seemed I had finally found a home, professionally speaking. All my previous life and work experiences seem to lead to this place and this job.

It was a good match and I enjoyed teaching very much,&8221; Hinnenkamp said.

In 1994, she was asked to assume coordinator duties.

&8220;Some jobs are jobs. Teaching is much more than just a job.

And teaching and working at the Area Learning Center is teaching, counseling, cajoling, disciplining, encouraging and hopefully inspiring students to do their best academically and in their personal lives,&8221; she said. &8220;It is an honor to work at the Area Learning Center. So many of our students are kids who have fallen through the cracks.

Some of our students are teen parents.

But often there are unresolved issues that led them to that path in life.

Some of our students have mental health issues for which they may or may not be getting help.

Some struggle with chemical dependency, and there are underlying issues which led them down that path. Still others have always struggled to learn in the traditional setting and need a small setting and more staff attention and support. Some were assessed and found to be ineligible for special education help.

Most are low income.

Many are from homes where mom may be a single parent who works long hours, two jobs, or a swing shift to pay the bills. Some of our students have parents who still have not resolved their own issues and have left their child, our child, lost and without direction. And some are on their own.

&8220;Most of our students begin working at 16 and work too many hours all through their high school years.

And in spite of all of this, in spite of all the barriers, they come to school each day to learn, to earn a diploma, to make a life for themselves. They are strong, tough, in the best sense of the word, hard working, and hopeful. I feel honored to work with them,&8221; Hinnenkamp said.

James Glaser has worked for District 241 for five years.

He has a master&8217;s degree in education from St. Mary&8217;s University.

Glaser mentors a student teacher, serves on the district social studies committee, does social studies curriculum writing and standards work and is the eighth-grade boys&8217; basketball coach. He has coached seventh- and eighth-grade girls&8217; basketball, eighth-grade softball and seventh-grade football.

Glaser has volunteered his time and resources by developing a free parent class, &8220;How Can I Help a Third-Grader.&8221; He uses and teaches other district staff how to use the Smart Board and other technologies in their classrooms.

Glaser was the Freemond Madson Post 447 Teacher of the Year nominee to the District in 2007-08. He received the Beating the Odds award from Minneapolis Public Schools for having quality test scores which helped get Hamilton Elementary School off the AYP list. He received a Certificate of National Service for being an Americorps Volunteer. He received his honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy in 1994.

He serves as VFW commander for 2007-08.

Glaser is involved at St. Theodore Church and serves as Shine Fest coordinator there. He was a group leader (of teens) on a mission trip to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the summer of 2007.

He is one of the leaders of Tiger Cub Troop, Pack 105 and is on a Relay for Life team.

Glaser and his wife, Janet, have two children, Mackenzie, a third-grader, and Mattison, a first-grader. Both attend Halverson Elementary School.

Glaser has been to many Persian Gulf countries while serving in the U.S. Navy, as well as Singapore, Hong Kong, Bahrain and Qatar.

Professionally, Glaser said he wants to work on his administration license and become a principal.

&8220;I would like to develop an idea and create new ways teachers all across the state/country teach,&8221; he said. &8220;I want to make a positive impact on every school/child I teach.&8221;

Casey McIntyre has worked for District 241 for five years.

He earned his master&8217;s degree from Saint Mary&8217;s University.

McIntyre serves as technology coordinator at Southwest Middle School. He has two years of coaching seventh-grade baseball, two years of coaching eighth-grade baseball and one year of coaching ninth-grade baseball. He was a Teacher of the Year nominee in 2005.

McIntyre spent his early years in Glenville and the summer after fourth grade, his family moved to Mankato. He has a bachelor&8217;s degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

McIntyre plays the drums (as well as most other instruments). He lived in

Dallas for two years, earning a living playing music. In January of 2006, his band opened for Bon Jovi at the Excel Center in St. Paul. &8220;This was a dream come true for me and I will remember it forever,&8221; he said.

He is married; his wife&8217;s name is Katie.

In the future, McIntyre plans to continue his education. &8220;Whether I pursue a position in administration, or a second degree in special education has yet to be determined, but I am confident that I will continue my education,&8221; he said. &8220;I am honored to have been nominated for the Teacher of the Year award.&8221;

Jo Ann Erickson has worked for District 241 for 15 years.

Erickson earned her master&8217;s degree in curriculum and instruction from Hamline University.

She serves as Inquiry Curriculum manager, staff development building leader at Albert Lea High School, traveled with students to France, serves as best practices instructor for District 241 and works as dean of students.

She is a member of the Albert Lea City Planning and Zoning Committee.

Erickson hails from Granite Falls. She has two children, Jacob, 13, a student at Southwest, and Elizabeth, 7, who attends Lakeview. She enjoys reading and movies.

She said her most memorable years come from working at the Area Learning Center.

&8220;I have never been so challenged as a teacher,&8221; she said.