Two educators at the Methow Valley School District have been recognized by their peers for excellence and dedication to their students.
Second-grade teacher Hana Baker and paraprofessional Lotty Ekblad were nominated and elected by their colleagues for the Okanogan County Excellence awards, where all 11 school districts in the county honor school employees.
The nominations set a record this year, with 35 members of the school community up for recognition, Methow Valley School District Superintendent Tom Venable said. Baker’s and Ekblad’s unique contributions were hailed by their colleagues, and the two rose to the top, he said.
“Hana Baker is an exceptional teacher. She is a champion for equity, ensuring that all students in her classroom can access their education,” said one staff member.
“She sees into the needs of her students and is able to individualize and differentiate her instruction accordingly while creating an atmosphere of joyful learning in her classroom,” said another.
In addition to her strengths in the classroom, Baker makes sure her students are active and well rounded. She obtained a grant from the Public School Funding Alliance to buy snowshoes so second graders could get outside during the winter.
An educational support professional, Ekblad works closely with Methow Valley Elementary teachers to provide students with instructional support in the classroom, monitor individual student progress toward learning goals. She also supervises students on the playground.
“Lotty does amazing work with all of the children she serves. I’m especially impressed with her ability to work on multiple goals during one activity,” said one colleague.
“She is good at looking at the big picture of who the student is and creates close trusting relationships with the students. And she manages to do all of this while remaining calm, collected, and with a smile on her face,” said another.