ELLINWOOD — The Ellinwood Public Education and Library Foundation named its first ever Educator of the Year, Evelyn Stegman at the faculty luncheon last week, for her understanding of the true meaning of the word, teacher.
Stegman is the Title I teacher at EGS whose big heart for children shines as she speaks about teaching, and as she begins her 41st year in education next fall.
“I still want to do it. I love what I’m doing,” she said. She plans to teach another three years.
“The greatest reward is knowing that I make a difference,” said Stegman.
“You never have any idea about the lives you touch,” said the teacher. She works to know each child individually and cares about them, making school a welcoming haven.
“I try to make them feel secure and loved,” Stegman said. “We’re building the future.”
“The Ellinwood community is known for having an outstanding school system,” said Larry Drees, president of the foundation board, as he prepared to make the announcement.
“She is a 40 year educator with 27 years in Ellinwood,” said Drees. “She was nominated in 2000 for the Dodge City Teacher’s Hall of Fame.”
School administration agreed with the choice. “We don’t have a more deserving teacher,” said Superintendent Ben Jacobs.
“She’s always been that person you go to for advice,” said Ellinwood Grade School Principal Eric Sjogren. “She’s amazing with kids, very patient. Everything she does she’s passionate about.”
“It couldn’t have gone to a better person,” he added.
This award is “quite an honor,” said Stegman.
The educator grew up in Offerle. After high school, Stegman planned to be a secretary-that is until her mother intervened, saying, “you love kids and I think you should teach.”
“It’s because of my mom,” said Stegman who has great admiration for her mother. “She helped me make the right decision.”
Stegman has 21 nieces and nephews that she is very close to. In her spare time, she loves to read and cook.
Jacobs was appreciative of what the foundation does for the school. He said, “The foundation does a wonderful job of supporting our kids.” The foundation donates thousands to the district for education.
The criterion for selection of the award included:
•Skilled in instruction, methodology and technique.
•Committed to placing all needs of the student first.
•Worthy of respect and admiration from students and colleagues.
•Innovative and progressive mind set.
•Role model and mentor for students.
•Impacts students in the classroom in an undeniable and tangible manner.
•Inspires students to strive beyond what they believe they are capable of.
The idea for the award came from board member Rita Feist who had received an “Educator of the Year” award while working in the Hutchinson School District. The recipient receives a $3,000 stipend.
The foundation plans to give the award every year. Teachers are eligible to win more than once.