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For Immediate Release: Sept. 16, 2007
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

Sioux Falls educator named state Teacher of the Year

Sharon Andrews, a 5th grade teacher at Challenge Center School in the Sioux Falls School District, has been named the 2008 South Dakota Teacher of the Year. Education Secretary Rick Melmer made the announcement this evening at Governor Rounds’ Teacher Leadership Conference in Pierre.

“Our 2008 Teacher of the Year has a love for learning and discovery. She is committed to making classroom experiences relevant to real life and encourages critical thinking and collaboration among her students,” Melmer said. “Her individual connections with students are critical to her success as an educator.”

Andrews has been teaching at Challenge Center, a school that serves high ability students, for seven years. Prior to that, she taught at a math and science magnet school in Little Rock, Ark. Before entering the classroom, she spent many years teaching piano. It was her passion for scientific inquisition that drew her to the classroom. And her philosophy of teaching – which focuses on creating an environment of free expression, discovery learning and critical thinking – reflects that passion.

Andrews has a master’s degree in elementary education and a doctoral degree in elementary curriculum and instruction. She serves on the board of directors of the South Dakota Association for Gifted Children. She is a member of the National Science Teacher’s Association and a candidate for National Board Certification. She received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2003 and the PTA Life Achievement Award in 2006-07.

South Dakota’s Teacher of the Year is selected from among seven regional finalists. This year’s finalists included:

Sandra Johnson, Tri-Valley School District

Sharon Andrews, Sioux Falls School District

Stephen Morgan, Mitchell School District

Mary Wienbar, Iroquois School District

Marjean Huber, Bison School District

Linda Clair, Stanley County School District

Tim McGowan, Rapid City Area School District

As the 2008 South Dakota Teacher of the Year, Andrews will receive the use of a car for one year from Billion Automotive in Sioux Falls; a $14,000 technology package from the SMARTer Kids Foundation; a $3,000 cash award from the South Dakota Community Foundation; a $3,000 cash award from Citibank; a $1,000 honorarium from the South Dakota Board of Regents; and a gift card from the South Dakota Retailers Association.

Andrews will represent South Dakota in the 2008 National Teacher of the Year competition.