1/13/2013 1:40:00 PM Schliep is elementary school teacher of the year
by Sue Sullivan
Carrie Schliep, Cannon Falls Elementary Teacher of the Year, is in her ninth year teaching - five years in fifth grade and three years in fourth. She teaches all subjects except social studies. (Her 22 students move to Lee McNurlin's classroom for social studies while McNurlin's 23 students study science with Schliep.)
Passionate about reading, Schliep has one long wall shelved with books, some with more graphics and others with more text, ensuring that her students will be able to read at a comfortable level.
Her desire to teach began when she was in the fifth grade as she became inspired at the way her teacher conveyed subject matter to his class. "He was such a good teacher, I wanted to teach the way he did," Schliep explained. She later student-taught with that teacher.
Together with husband Fred, her high school sweetheart, her family includes two young daughters: eight-year-old Hailey, and six-year-old Jordan, and Pugsley the dog, all living in Zumbrota.
She describes commuting to Cannon Falls and back to Zumbrota as "wonderful," as she explains, "It gives me a chance to switch from teacher to mom and wife."
In 1997, Schliep earned her teaching degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, and her master's degree from St. Catherine University, St. Paul, in 2010.
"I worked as an EBD (emotional or behavioral disorders) paraprofessional in Minnewaska school district and then I worked in Disability Services at Rochester Community and Technical College." She began her teaching career in Cannon Falls returning when a fifth grade opening became available.
You might say that teaching is in her blood. Schliep comes from a teaching family: her grandfather, Colin McAdam, worked at the School for the Deaf in Faribault and has since retired. Her other grandfather, Jim Ebert, worked in the special education field at Faribault High School, and her mom, Jamie Bauer, is a preschool teacher in Faribault.
Understanding and enthusiastic, Schliep gains the trust of her students allowing them to be vulnerable in her classroom. Noting her own struggle as a young student, she learned how to bring topic material to an understandable level for her students in order to challenge them.
Willing to learn new things herself, Schliep seeks to pique the interest of her students using such materials as Lego robotics with her science students. Her camera ever at her side, she also enjoys teaching her students stained glass projects.
"I pride myself on listening to students and understanding their issues and moving them in the right direction," she explained. "Once a child figures out their strengths and weaknesses, true learning can begin."
Carrie meets the students at their level and delights in seeing "the light bulbs turn on" when they learn something new.
Schliep has also become adept at technology as a way to connect to her students and is grateful for "the incredibly supportive parents, colleagues, PTO as well as the CF Education Foundation."
Nominated by fourth grade team member Lynn Wolter, Schliep expressed her surprise at receiving the honor of Teacher of the Year. "I was extremely flattered and caught off guard. "Each year there are so many amazing teachers recognized. I never expected anything like this; I am very humbled."
Schliep's future plans may include work in a college setting helping student teachers or teaching a children's literature class.
For now, she loves teaching here and "whenever I can find time, I am outside walking, biking or drawing with chalk with my kids at home." She and her husband travel to different stadiums just to experience new things together in their mutual love of sports.
"My family travels every year and we enjoy sharing our passion with our children."