Recognized as chain makers and links, educators from throughout the region connected and were celebrated April 28 as Educators of Excellence.
During the online event, 43 teachers were honored, as well as two paraprofessionals, one leader, one coach, one educational team, two Silver Lining award recipients, and one support staff — representing 18 school districts, one education district, and one charter school in Sourcewell’s service area.
Two of the educators were from Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School. Alyssa Lissick is a special education teacher in the elementary school teacher and Debbie Petersen is a high school science teacher.
“Alyssa is a true teacher leader, with an influence that extends beyond her own classroom to others within WHA and elsewhere. She goes out of her way to communicate needs, as well as where she can serve and help others,” said the nomination.
“Debbie isn’t afraid to try new things with her students and is always looking for ways to engage students with the content. She often gets her students out of the classroom and into the woods to help develop an appreciation for the outdoors. Debbie is a leader among her peers and beloved by her students,”the nomination said.
Motivational speaker Joe Beckman shared the event keynote and discussed the importance that chains and links play in lives of others — particularly students.
“Not everybody is made to be a chain maker,” Beckman said, “but maybe you’re a link. Every kid needs a chain made up of multiple links from multiple people from multiple facets of their lives — from family members to teachers to administrators to youth pastors.
“Those moments of human connection matter. Those acts of kindness make a difference. Those selfless moments of compassion, they serve as a link. If we get enough links, we can create a ton of chains; and if we can create a ton of chains, I’m telling you, we can save a ton of students.
“Are you a chain? Or are you a link? Either way, we need you,” Beckman added.