By Jim Bloch
Kirsten Kreiner, who teaches fifth grade at Gardens Elementary School in Marysville, is St. Clair County’s Distinguished Teacher for January 2020.
Dr. Kevin Miller, superintendent of St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency, presented Kreiner with the award during a surprise visit to her classroom on Jan. 31.
“The Distinguished Teacher award, sponsored by RESA, is given monthly during the school year to educators who exemplify high teaching standards,” according to the post on RESA’s Facebook page.
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“Our first distinguished teacher of the new decade, if you will,” says Miller in a video that accompanies the story.
Miller called Kreiner “a wonderful teacher.”
“We have a surprise for you this morning — if you’d like to stand up and join me,” says Miller, entering Kreiner’s classroom. “She’s in shock — can’t you tell, students? Mrs. Kreiner, on behalf of St. Clair County RESA, your wonderful principal Mrs. (Becky) Biedermann nominated you for our Distinguished Teacher of the Month.”
“Oh, come on,” said a surprised Kreiner.
“She is passionate about her students’ academic, social and emotional growth,” Biedermann said in the story on Facebook. “She has high expectations and a wonderful rapport with her students that makes them feel comfortable asking questions and taking risks.”
“You’re are first Distinguished Teacher of 2020, so we’re just here to celebrate with you and give you a really nice plaque,” said Miller.
“Did you run out of people?” joked Kreiner.
“We did not,” Miller assured her.
Miller said Kreiner obviously had a great relationship with the students in her class.
“You do a great job in the community,” said Miller. “One of those examples was the Veterans Day partnership you put together.”
At the end of the year, RESA invites all of the awardees to a dinner to recognize their excellence.
So far in the 2019-2020 academic year, five teachers have won the award, including Kreiner: Nichole Flynn, St. Clair Middle School in September; Cindy Monarch, Farrell Emmett Elementary in October; Josh Eash, Memphis Community Schools in November; and Maria Cavis, Keewahdin Elementary School in December.
Miller presented Kreiner with a bag of goodies.
Kathy Pyryt, of Insurance Specialist of Marysville, the local Meemic agent, presented Kreiner with a check for $350 for classroom expenses, an Amazon gift card and another goody bag.
“Oh, my gosh, that’s amazing,” said Kreiner.
“I’m happy for her,” said husband Barry, who directs the Marysville Department of Public Works.