September 2013 Winner - Nancy Ekwall

I have been planning to do this for years but never accomplished it, and now this teacher, Mrs. Ekwall, is retiring at the end of this school year. Although it is likely that I have missed my opportunity due to missing the deadline, I still felt the necessity to share what kind of an amazing teacher Mrs. Ekwall is!!

Mrs. Ekwall is a 4th grade teacher and has been teaching for over 40 years, all within the West Liberty Community School District. She says that teaching is not just a career for her…it is a true part of her inner soul and who she is at the core. Her devotion and commitment to her class is remarkable. She has touched the lives of so many children and parents alike over the years. In fact, there are many parents asking: Will you just stay one more year (or two more years, etc.) so that you can teach my child, too?

West Liberty is a very diverse community which, in turn, creates very diverse classrooms. Mrs. Ekwall prides herself on creating a safe learning environment to encourage all children to reach their full potential without fear of ridicule. When my daughter entered 4th grade, she was reading well below her grade level and she disliked reading immensely. At the beginning of that school year, there was talk about not separating the reading groups and each teacher would be responsible for accommodating all the different reading levels. This would have been disastrous to my daughter who was VERY unsure of herself and her reading ability, and on top of it, she was excruciatingly shy! She would have gotten lost in the cracks. Mrs. Ekwall saw the importance of giving the struggling readers the attention they needed and, in turn, giving them a safe environment to develop their abilities. She championed the effort to get this change implemented and I was amazed at the progress my daughter showed in reading that year...not only in her reading scores but also in her self confidence. I owe that all to Mrs. Ekwall.

I know that I may be biased but, in my opinion, Mrs. Ekwall is the epitome of what a teacher should be and she displays that level of care and professionalism in and out of the classroom every day. Not only has she shown me how important it is to be the best teacher she could be, she also has taught me how to be an AMAZING Mother! Mrs. Ekwall was not only my daughter's reading teacher but she is also my Mom. Thank you for taking the time to read this!
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