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home : news : news April 29, 2016

1/31/2014 8:21:00 AM
Deanne Coleman is elementary teacher of the year

by Sue Sullivan

Deanne Coleman, Elementary Media Specialist at Cannon Falls Elementary, is Teacher of the Year at the school.

She has classes with students in grades K-5 for 50 minutes each week. During these class sessions, students learn library/media and computer skills. Deanne is also responsible for the media center collection, purchase of new materials and maintenance of the current collection, and assists students and staff in finding materials they need for research/information or reading for pleasure.

Having taught for 27 years, Deanne began her career as a long-term substitute in Cannon Falls, then worked for a year as a media specialist for the eight elementary schools in Merrill, WI. She returned to Cannon Falls when the elementary media specialist position became available again in 1988.

Her career began as a librarian so sharing books, authors and illustrators with students and staff will always be her favorite part of the work. She considers technology an added bonus that helps her connect with each grade level curriculum and give students the tools to investigate, interpret and share what they learn.

Deanne's educational inspiration came from her high school choir director. "She (Bea Burmeister) was a caring dedicated teacher who provided music education for students in grades K-12 in a small town," explained Coleman. She thought that it would be fun to have that job. However, her lack of piano skills put an end to a music education career.

The exposure she had encountered in the teaching field kept her focused as she pursued her degree in elementary education at The University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and the eventual media generalist degree she earned from Mankato State.

Raised in a family of eight children, she was born in Oskaloosa, IA, at number six. When she was in second grade, her family moved to the Austin area, and then to Whalen when she was 16. Coleman's dad taught high school agriculture in Iowa and farm management at the technical college (now Riverland Community College) in the Austin and Winona area, along with managing a farm of his own.

After raising eight children, her mom went back to school to earn her RN degree, and worked as a nurse at St. Marys and Methodist Hospitals in Rochester. Deanne's parents gave her the support she needed to pursue whatever career path she chose, leading by their example.

She now lives near Castle Rock with husband Joe. They have two boys, 18-year-old Gabe and 17-year-old Ben.

Her patience and caring as an educator was cited in her nomination by third grade teacher Laurie Turner and Elementary phy ed teacher Sue Bremer, as well as her passion for sharing her knowledge with others.

Humbled by their nomination and the award she exclaimed, "I work with a community of exceptional educators and to be recognized by them is a huge honor!"

Summing up her educational philosophy Deanne stated, "Teaching for me is about giving students the basic tools they need to continue to grow and learn. I hope to provide a foundation and an excitement for learning in a safe and caring environment. After students leave my class, I want them to understand the concepts that were taught, and use them to solve problems or answer questions they meet in the next class, or the next day, or a year from now. I also hope to provide them with a love a reading that will carry them through their lives." She espouses technology as an enhancement of the learning process.

Enjoying a good cup of coffee and a good book are part of her daily routine. Living in a rural wooded area allows her to be outside and take walks, go snowshoeing, and cross country ski in winter and in the summer months to go canoeing, camping, and biking. "I also have a passion for gardening and can't wait until the soil is warm enough to dig in!" she exclaimed.

Deanne plans to continue teaching in Cannon Falls for several more years meeting challenges and changes her career brings. "Beyond that, I am anxious to see where the world takes my boys as they become adults and move on to establish their own lives and careers. Being able to enjoy more time with family and friends both near and far is something I look forward to."

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