Tes Ketelson, special education teacher at Montevideo Middle School, was nominated by her peers and has been awarded the title of this year's Montevideo Teacher of the Year.

Tes Ketelson, special education teacher at Montevideo Middle School, was nominated by her peers and has been awarded the title of this year’s Montevideo Teacher of the Year.

Ketelson has worked for the Montevideo School District for 13 years, but has taught special education for 24 years altogether.

“I previously worked in Marshall at their junior high for 11 years,” said Ketelson.

Ketelson graduated from Montevideo High School in 1988, and received her BA in Special Education from St. Cloud State University, and her Master’s from Concordia in St. Paul.

According to Ketelson, what drew her to her career was how much she loved working with kids.

“When I started teaching, the majority of students that I worked with had behavioral concerns. Over the years I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most awesome children. They may learn differently than other students, or sometimes just need extra supports to assist them in being successful in the classroom. Being a special education is an extremely rewarding career,” she said.

One of the best parts of Ketelson’s job is that she gets to work with her students in a 1:1 setting, or in small groups.

“One of the best rewards of this job is the bonds that are formed with the students and families,” Ketelson said. “There are kids that are unforgettable and have helped me to become a better teacher. I have been blessed to work with some amazing kids that have and continue to teach me new things every year.”

Along with rewards, Ketelson also faces challenges in her work.

“One of the challenges is always time. Making sure that each student that I work with is getting the appropriate services to meet their goals as well as making sure they are provided the same academic opportunities as everyone else,” she explained.

Ketelson would also like to recognize her fellow staff, as without them her job could not be done alone.

“I work with some spectacular paraprofessionals that work with the students and they are my eyes and ears in the classroom,” she said. “They do an awesome job and make my job easier.

“The MMS has the best team of special education teachers I could work with,” Ketelson continued. “Amanda Macziewski, Laura Herfurth, Dana Harrington, and Zack Koepke.”

She added that the team of 4th grade teachers she works with is spectacular as well, including Dave Vik, Kim Osman, Mary Sanders, Tim Epema, and Danielle Dehne.

She said, “They are always willing to go above and beyond for students. They are not just colleagues, they are friends and they make working at the MMS fun and exciting every day.”

Ketelson is honored to be awarded the title of 2020 Montevideo Teacher of the Year.

“I would also like to acknowledge all of our parents that guided their child’s learning by assisting teachers with the implementation of distance learning. Phil Jackson had an inspiring quote, ‘The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.’ Distance learning was truly a team effort.

“And,” Ketelson added, “congratulations to the Montevideo Class of 2020!”