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For Immediate Release: Oct. 6, 2008
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

Avon educator named South Dakota Teacher of the Year

Paul Kuhlman, a math and science teacher in the Avon School District, has been named South Dakota’s Teacher of the Year for 2009. The announcement came last night at Governor Rounds’ Teacher Leadership Conference in Pierre.

“Paul Kuhlman believes that teachers should be able to inspire their students to achieve more than they ever thought possible,” said Secretary of Education Rick Melmer. “He has high expectations for his students and great enthusiasm for his craft. We are pleased to honor him as the 2009 Teacher of the Year.”

Kuhlman’s teaching career spans 20 years. He has spent the last 16 years in Avon, where he teaches science and math courses at the high school and junior high levels. Kuhlman’s passion for learning is evident; it is also contagious. According to Avon Superintendent Tom Oster, 75 percent of the district’s high school students commonly enroll in upper-level science and math courses. Kuhlman also has started a science night at the school, and the crowd often fills the entire gym. He is widely recognized for his dedication and ability to engage students.

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

Darlene Dulitz, Webster School District

DaNann Kistler, West Central School District

Paul Kuhlman, Avon School District

Jody Erickson, Warner School District

Merretta Kahl, Isabel School District

Jay Mickelson, Pierre School District

Kimberley Webster, Custer School District

As the 2009 South Dakota Teacher of the Year, Kuhlman will receive the use of a car for one year courtesy of Beck Motors in Pierre; a $17,000 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.

Kuhlman was in Washington, D.C., at the time of the announcement. He is one of five finalists competing for the Discovery Education 3M Top Science Teacher. Gov. Mike Rounds and Melmer called Kuhlman from the awards banquet in Pierre. Kuhlman will represent South Dakota in the 2009 National Teacher of the Year competition.