Brooklyn Center educator nominated for Teacher of the Year
By Katy Zillmer
Beth Schultz is recognized for teaching kindergarten, and more, at Earle Brown Elementary
Earle Brown Elementary School kindergarten teacher Beth Schultz has 28 kids in her classroom; this is her sixth year teaching at the school; Minnesota is the sixth state she’s lived in; and another significant number of late is her nomination as one of 135 candidates for Minnesota Teacher of the Year.
Education Minnesota organizes the honor for pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade educators from public or private schools. The number of nominees this year is the highest for the Teacher of the Year program since 2005, according to Education Minnesota.
Schultz was nominated by Earle Brown Elementary School Principal Jane Ellis.
“I’m very flattered,” Schultz said about her nomination. “I am surprised and I am very honored she would think that highly of me.”
Ellis provided just a glimpse into her thought process with a list of reasons why Schultz is a deserving candidate for Teacher of the Year.
Maybe it’s Schultz’s 80 to 90 hour work weeks, her role in designing the kindergarten program at the school this year, or her recruitment to hire new staff and find volunteers for the Parent Teacher Organization, according to Ellis’ list.
Ellis also commended Schultz for her attitude.
“Beth is blessed with a great outlook, always smiling, always taking care of kids beyond her own classroom. She sees Earle Brown as her investment and that extends beyond her doors,” Ellis said. “She is the kind of teacher that is ‘called’ to this work. She has found her calling and we are all better for her leadership.”
Schultz described her calling to a career in education as being the result of her fourth-grade teacher at school in Naperville, Ill.
“Mrs. Vircano … she just made school fun,” Schultz said. “I’ve always known I wanted to be a teacher since then,” she said.
Schultz progressed from working as a nanny and daycare provider to the teaching field, she said.
She is certified to teach children through third grade with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Illinois State University. She completed her master’s degree in differentiated instruction, which is creating lessons appropriate for each child’s learning level and needs, at Concordia University, Schultz said.
Her ability to continue to learn is another reason Ellis said Schultz should be Teacher of the Year.
Schultz is working on her National Board Certification and eventually will pursue certification in educational leadership, she said.
“I want to be a principal someday,” she said.
National Board Certification involves analyzing student development and the lessons in her own classrooms through reviewing video recordings of her teaching.
“I see myself as a lifelong learner,” Schultz said.
Even as she pursues her long-term goals and teaches a room full of active kindergarten students each day, Schultz also dedicates her time to the projects of the Parent Teacher Organization and is a union representative.
She also works to coach student teachers and exhibits strong outreach to the parents of her students, Ellis said.
Parents of those students also played a role in nominating Ellis for Teacher of the Year.
Lori Andler, whose son Aidan is currently in Schultz’s class, wrote a nomination letter to Education Minnesota. Andler’s son Ethan completed kindergarten with Schultz last year.
“She has helped both our sons in acclimating them to the school system,” Andler said.
Schultz helped Lori and her husband Jay acclimate to having their sons in school.
“We felt that we were right there with (Ethan) in the classroom with all of the updates and school work that she would send home with him in his backpack,” Andler said.
Parent and fellow PTO volunteer Amy Mayer said Schultz genuinely cares about her students and draws strength from their energy.
“She makes an effort to connect with all of her students and work with each one of them on their level,” Mayer said. “I also believe Beth gets just as much from her students as she gives,” Mayer said.
“Regardless of whether or not she earns this award, she continues to impress us with her dedication to her students and to Earle Brown Elementary, and we look forward to seeing her continued impact on the community of Brooklyn Center,” Mayer said.
While Schultz said she is “anxiously awaiting” the news about who the Teacher of the Year finalists are, she is certainly keeping busy at Earle Brown Elementary.
Her favorite time of the school day is the morning when students bring her work they’ve completed and she meets with the staff in the building to start the day, Schultz said.
“I really enjoy education and I love being in the classroom every day,” she said.
According to Education Minnesota, a 25-member panel of community leaders names the semi-finalists and finalists for Teacher of the Year.
The teacher will be announced Sunday, May 5, during an event at the Marriot Minneapolis Northwest in Brooklyn Park.
“Ms. Schultz is an amazing teacher and every parent’s dream as an introduction to their school experience … she definitely deserves the honor of being Minnesota Teacher of the Year for all of the hard work, dedication she provides to students and for many other countless reasons,” Andlers said.
Contact Katy Zillmer at email@example.com.