“Raise your hand if you’ve ever been smiled at or given a hug by Mrs. Ell,” Assistant Principal at John Hoeven Elementary School, Josh Kitzman said. “Look at all those hands! That’s awesome.”
He spoke to students as they gathered to celebrate Heather Ell, a first-grade teacher who is one of four finalists for the 2022 North Dakota Teacher of the Year.
Kitzman pointed out the importance of caring for students and that that’s exactly what Heather Ell does.
Ell said what she loves most about her job is the students and watching them grow.
When she accepted her nomination, she talked about a memory from when she was in the 6th grade.
She said she noticed a classmate struggling with reading and her teacher instincts kicked in. She helped him to grow confident in his abilities.
“I, at an early age, was able to identify with a child who struggled and have thought of him and kept him in the back of my mind as I’ve grown as an educator,” Ell said. “I help children today by helping them understand that it’s okay if you can’t do something, we’re just going to keep working and persevering and pushing through.”
Ell has been a teacher for 10 years and says she’s excited and honored to be selected among so many educators across the state.
She was chosen out of more than 100 nominations for the 2022 Teacher of the year and was selected as the Ward County and Minot Education Association’s Teacher of the Year for the 2020-2021 school year.
A celebration was also held Wednesday for finalist Bret Dockter in Harvey.
The other two finalists will be celebrated later this month. They work at schools in Grand Forks and Valley City.