In celebration of the 90th American Education Week, Northfield Public Schools and the Northfield Education Association (NEA) honored several staff members for years of service to the district and awarded three recognitions at its annual Staff Appreciation Breakfast on Nov. 23.

A group of teachers receive the Years of Service awardYears of Service awards were given for 20 years of service to Elizabeth Bade, Mary Beck, Cathy Bennetts, Monika Burkhead, Dana Engstrom, Starr Kahl, Tony Mathison, Lisa Nelson, Mark Woitalla and Mary Wojick. Joanne Olson received an award for 25 years of service, and Daryl Robinson received an award for 35 years.

Two teachers receive the Friend of Education awardThe NEA gave its Friend of Education Award to Chip DeMann, Store Manager, volunteer and former president and board member of the Northfield Historical Society. DeMann works with Northfield Middle School students on special history projects, and he played an active role in assisting Northfield eighth graders to write and publish “Caught in the Storm,” a history and travel guide that chronicles the drama of the James and Younger Gang in their attempt to get out of Minnesota after a failed robbery at the First National Bank.

Two adults receive the Para-Professional of the Year awardNorthfield Middle School Educational Assistant Kimberly Tousignant was named Paraprofessional of the Year, and the Teacher of the Year Award was presented to Northfield High School social studies teacher Kevin Dahle.

Special Education teacher Candace Hard praised Tousignant’s caring and communication. Tousignant admitted to making a job transfer from elementary to middle school, in large part to support a group of her students who expressed apprehension about their own transition. NEA President and math teacher Ray Coudret described Dahle as “a unique and inspiring teacher.”

Two teachers receive the Teacher of the Year awardThe annual theme of American Education Week, Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility, reflects the National Education Association’s call to provide students with quality public schools so that they can grow, prosper, and achieve in the 21st century.