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Fridley Public Schools is proud to announce the 2017-2018 Teachers of Excellence. Five teachers, who represent each of the district's schools (including an Area Learning Center/Fridley Community Center group), were recognized at the annual staff Opening Workshop held Monday, August 27, 2018. Each of the teachers selected are representative of all excellent teachers who work hard every day to deliver high quality education to all students enrolled at Fridley Public Schools.

NICOLE ALLEN - Fridley Community Center

The 2017-18 Area Learning Center/Fridley Community Center Teacher of Excellence is Nicole Allen. Allen is the district’s deaf/hard of hearing teacher and works on the Early Childhood Special Education team. She works hard to provide early intervention services that help support growth and development and prepare all students for kindergarten and beyond.

Allen always prioritizes students and their families. She goes above and beyond to meet the needs of all her students, and she does so with a smile, great care and compassion for all.

According to ALC Principal Dr. Jason Bodey, Allen’s ability to work with students is remarkable. “I’ve watched her skillfully support young students with special needs to be included in our preschool classrooms, all the while contributing to the classroom to make it a better experience for all students in the room,” said Bodey.

Congratulation, Nicole, and keep up the great work!

ANDREW HAAHEIM - Fridley High School

The 2017-18 Fridley High School Teacher of Excellence is Andrew Haaheim. Haaheim constantly goes above and beyond to assist others whenever help is needed. According to Fridley High School Principal Patty Hand, he is always willing to put in the effort to ensure students are finding success.

“He takes care of things that are not part of his teaching responsibilities and does these things as he knows they genuinely support our building climate among our students and staff,” said Hand. “It is so clear through his interactions with everyone at the high school; He cares so deeply for his students, colleagues and the families he works with;”

He is excellent at student engagement, pushing them to always do their best and hold them accountable. Haaheim has also taken a building leadership role in supporting the work of Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Learning, driving the staff toward deep understanding of the pedagogy. Additionally, Haaheim is an Instructional Leader, advisor of Improv Club, helps run the Fridley Fine Arts Festival and works in staff development on a regular basis.

Congratulations, Andrew, and keep up the great work!

MIKE KOZAREK - Stevenson Elementary School

The 2017-18 Stevenson Elementary School Teacher of Excellence is Mike Kozarek. Kozarek has been a valued staff member at Stevenson for 16 years, teaching 4th grade and serving as an instructional leader for four years. According to Stevenson Principal Daryl Vossler, Kozarek continuously goes above and beyond in many aspects of his job.

“Mike has been an integral part to strengthening our school in a number of ways inside and outside the classroom,” he said. “He has led our PBIS team, been a mentor to new teachers, worked to strengthen processes and even organizes holiday gatherings. If you need something done, Mike can handle it all.”

His students love the humor and fun that he brings to the classroom everyday. His colleagues appreciate his positive attitude and hard work he puts in to making Stevenson Elementary the best it can be.

Congratulations, Mike, and keep up the great work!


KARI REITER - Fridley Middle School

The 2017-18 Teacher of Excellence is Kari Reiter. Reiter goes above and beyond in many ways and is an immeasurable support system for every teacher at Fridley Middle School. She has served as the International Baccalaureate Math Leader, coaches varsity sports, has led many staff development sessions, presented at the IB of Americas Conference, and builds dynamic relationships with students and families.

According to Fridley Middle School Principal Amy Cochran, Reiter comes to work every day with an upbeat and positive attitude. 

“She is always willing to help any staff member for any reason and is known as the teacher who ensures everyone is involved and participates,” said Cochran.

Reiter has started the new school year in a new role as the district’s International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Coordinator.

Congratulations, Kari, and keep up the great work!

MARGO ROTHENBACHER - Hayes Elementary School

The 2017-18 Hayes Elementary School Teacher of Excellence is Margo Rothenbacher. According to Hayes Principal John Piotraschke, Rothenbacher is committed to building self-efficacy in students. “Whether it is working with kids one on one, in small groups, in response to emotional or social needs - her goal is to help everyone become better and to build their skill set.”

Rothenbacher, who serves as the school counselor, aims to teach all students interdependence so they can always make logical, character-based decisions that better the entire world. Rothenbacher is responsive and positive and is often the one who says “I can” or “I will” when asked to volunteer or complete a task.

"She has positive, nurturing, honest and constructive relationships with many Hayes students," said Piotraschke. He added that Rothenbacher is able to understand and support students on an individual level and her commitment has an incredible impact on her ability to work with problems and build long term solutions. She is also able to develop supersonic bonds with parents - bonds that are built through trust, love and support. She is devoted to supporting her Hayes family. She assists, comforts, challenges, helps others reflect and is always willing to do anything to help.

Congratulations, Margo, and keep up the great work!


Fridley Public Schools Teachers of Excellence (1986 - 2018)



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