Student Nomination Story

My name is Nicole, I am the mother of a child who has the most incredible teacher. She works for Groton area in South Dakota. We moved to the area 3 years ago and choose this area as we heard that they had a wonderful academic program. This was a very accurate depiction and we have had nothing but wonderful teachers in our experience. They are all very caring and kind, they genuinely want to help make a better experience for every child. This year our child was ecstatic to find out she had Mrs. Zoellner. We were aware that she was an amazing teacher but not until we had her first day had we realized how amazing she really is. COVID has certainly made life a little complicated for everyone and teaching has really changed. There was a time when our children had to quarantine and she was right on top of it, as were the other great teachers of our other children. Mrs. Zoellner has gone above and beyond and made individual videos for her learning in math, reading, etc. (even though my daughter was the only one out of her class during that time, she still went out of her way to make them.) This is so much better for the child in my opinion as she really felt like she was in class learning and not just listening to mom explain how to do it. Additionally, she was extremely helpful as my husband I were both ill and were not really able to help her much. It was so generous of her to make these take time out of her own day to make these individual videos for her. We could see really see all the effort put into them and it was very much appreciated! There also was a time when Mrs. Zoellner had to be out, as well, because of exposure (as one of her children tested positive.) She was doing some of the teaching from home via Zoom with the kids in class. She always made it her mission to check in and make sure things were going as planned. She is so wonderful at sending messages home when she sees the kids are keeping on track with reading and taking AR tests. My daughter loves to hear that her teacher has seen what she has completed and that she has made her proud. Our child has struggled a little with school in various aspects and this was not new to us. I try to keep in touch with the teachers, but Mrs. Zoellner was so great at keeping me informed and when she was starting to have more troubles. She was right on top of it. She came up with ideas on how to help her and what the next steps should be to ensure she has the most successful year possible. This was just so great to not feel alone and to feel like we were working as a team to reach the same end goal. Making steps forward to get the best results. Although this is an ongoing process, you can tell her heart is in the right place and that we are going to get there to make things better for everyone involved! I'm so grateful for everything she has done and I know she will continue to do in the months ahead. I highly recommend the Groton Area School District and all the teachers. I believe they all deserve an award. For this year, I would love to be able to recognize Mrs. Zoellner for all her great work she has done in the past and in the years to come. She has made me feel hopeful for my child's future when I sometimes questioned where we would be in a few years!

Charli Jacobsen

To see more exceptional teacher nominees, visit The Honor Roll.