May 7, 1997 in Idaho

Leading Teachers Traveled Different Roads To Excellence

By The Spokesman-Review

One dramatically changed her way of teaching. One found special ways to help troubled kids. One set up a “Teacher Leader” program to help her peers.

They are Eileen Gruenwald, Lynn Morris and Patti Perry, and they are the Coeur d’Alene School District’s Teachers of the Year.

The titles were bestowed Tuesday night.

Gruenwald teaches math at Coeur d’Alene High School, Morris is a counselor at Lakes Middle School, and Perry teaches second grade at Fernan Elementary.

Gruenwald was picked to represent the district in state competition. A teacher for 24 years, she began teaching “applied mathematics” in 1992 to show students the connection between math and real situations.

In her resume submitted for the Teacher of Year award, Gruenwald described the effort that went into using teamwork, projects and open-ended questions, then analyzing the results of her teaching.

“No college course prepared me to make these changes or cope with these changes,” she wrote. “No one prepares you to face the opposition that comes from making changes.”

Morris has taught for 25 years. Her lengthy resume includes starting a “Care Team” of staff members who work to help kids who are at risk of failing because of drugs, family problems or the like. She helped start a career day and drug-free club at Lakes.

Perry has taught for 24 years.

At Fernan, she recognized a need for staff development at the school, and worked to establish a Teacher Leader program that includes informal discussion as well as formal lessons and support for teachers. She is working with principals to expand the program to other schools.

The three winners were chosen from among 40 teachers, who were nominated by their peers.

For the first time, the selection committee picked a representative from each educational level instead of a single Teacher of the Year.

Judy Drake, director of secondary education, said the committee decided to honor three educators because the district is growing and has so many teachers who deserve recognition.

, DataTimes

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