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Sara Schwartz Surprised with 2020 Westonka Teacher of the Year Award

May 28, 2020 — Westonka Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Borg and an enthusiastic group of teachers and administrators surprised Mound Westonka High School social studies teacher Sara Schwartz at her home May 27 with the 2020 Westonka Teacher of the Year Award.

The district's top teaching award was originally scheduled to be announced at the annual Westonka Staff Recognition Banquet in May, but that celebration was canceled this year due to restrictions on large gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. Representing each of the district's school buildings, the 2020 Westonka Teacher of the Year candidates were nominated by their colleagues for their exceptional commitment to student learning. Schwartz's fellow nominees were Christie Latterner from Westonka Early Learning, Bobbie Jo Tronsgard from Shirley Hills Primary School, Klair Hans from Hilltop Primary School and Jessica Lunski from Grandview Middle School. Schwartz, Tronsgard, Hans and Lunski were also among the 134 candidates for 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

[Read more about the 2019-2020 building teachers of the year]

Schwartz is in her 14th year of teaching at Mound Westonka High School. Principal Mark McIlmoyle wrote of Schwartz:
Sara consistently demonstrates a strong ability to engage all students in the content. She holds students to high expectations, but she is able to balance her approach to nurture student relationships at the same time. She is also very cognizant of the different types of learners she has in the classroom and works deliberately in her planning to challenge students’ different levels and different learning styles. Sara is a leading pioneer of personalized learning in our school and district. In terms of relationships with students, Sara possesses a strong desire to make sure all learners feel welcome in the school.

"We are just beyond thrilled that you chose your employment in Westonka, and we are so thrilled of how you've invested into our community and just how you take ownership of making Westonka be the best it can be," said Superintendent Borg to Schwartz during the award presentation Wednesday morning. "On behalf of our school board and our school district community, we are so proud of you. Thank you for what you do for Westonka staff and students. Congratulations!"

"I miss all of you so much, and I miss teaching, and I miss being with kids and being with all of you," Schwartz told the socially distanced crowd gathered outside her house. "I can't imagine being any place better than here ... I just feel really lucky that I get to have all of you as colleagues and friends."


Becca Neuger
(952) 491-8001