Two former Northland College graduates who teach in the Lake Superior region have been named as recipients of the first annual statewide educator awards.
Nicole Boettcher, who graduated from Northland College in 2010 and now teaches at Washburn Middle School, received the Early Career Educator Award, an award presented to an outstanding educator within the first three years of her or his professional career.
Ron Cline, who graduated from Northland College in 1982 and teaches at Ashland Middle School, received the Pre-Service Educator Mentor Award, presented to an outstanding educator who has demonstrated a sustained pattern of mentoring pre-service educators for at least five years.
Northland College presented its two local recipients with engraved plaques at the annual Honors Day celebration Thursday, April 3.
Boettcher was one of 24 to receive the Early Education Award in Wisconsin and Cline was one of twenty-five to receive the Pre-Service Education Award in the state of Wisconsin. Both were given their awards at the Wisconsin Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (WACTE) meeting in Madison last month.
The WACTE along with the Northland College Educator Preparation Program determined the winners. The WACTE is a professional organization composed of the Wisconsin institutions that prepare individuals for initial teacher licensure.
Washburn Elementary and Middle School Principal Al Krause nominated Boettcher, naming a few examples to explain: In collaboration with other teachers, Boettcher led a group of students in a field trip to a Lake Superior beach for clean-up day, taught fifth graders how to test water quality, examine sediments, check PH balance, as well as bacteria and dissolved oxygen levels in the water.
“Nicole has developed into a true professional in her first few years of teaching,” Krause said. “She willingly accepts new challenges and has emerged as a ‘teacher-leader’ in our district.”
Associate Professor Dr. Annette Nelson, who is director of the Northland College educator preparation program, also noted Boettcher’s commitment to excellence.
“She works tirelessly on behalf of her students, and she has earned the respect of her colleagues and the larger community,” Nelson said. “Her training from Northland College has enabled her to integrate her science topics with other academic areas, and her students are successful as a result.”
The same can be said for Cline, who has taught science in Ashland for fifteen years. “Mr. Cline has continually modeled the attributes of a true professional educator,” said Principal Paul Gilbertson, who nominated Cline. “Mr. Cline is a true professional who is willing to share his experience and expertise with aspiring educators.”
Nelson added, “The educator preparation program at Northland College has been fortunate in having Ron Cline serve as a cooperating teacher for our pre-service teacher candidates — he is an outstanding role model.”