3 Lakota educators were surprised with $1K for a school project of their choice

Three Lakota School educators were surprised by their colleagues last week as winners of the district’s top annual awards.

The two teachers and one school administrator all were chosen by a selection committee of the Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty in partnership with Lakota School officials and included input from school parents.

This school year winners are: Audrey Young, a counselor at Freedom Elementary: Jennifer Dietsch, choir teacher at Ridge Junior School and Andrea Blevins, principal of Endeavor Elementary.

Each of them were surprised with flowers as Lakota district officials sprang the news on them.

“The Educator of Excellence award reminds us just how high our teachers, support staff and administrators set the bar for one another,” said Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller.

“The caliber of professionalism and dedication described in all 30-plus nominations should make Mrs. Young, Mrs. Dietsch and Mrs. Blevins especially proud of their recognition. It was an exciting few days sharing the news with them,” said Miller.

Foundation President & CEO, Erin Clemons, said “as a community foundation, we believe that a strong school system means a strong future for our community. This award is one way we can support outstanding educators who work diligently every day to make the future a little bit brighter.”

The grade level awards include a $1,000 grant for the implementation of a special project or program at the recipient’s school, made possible this year through sponsorship from Phelan Insurance.

According to a statement released by Lakota, Young has made a “positive impression on the Freedom (school) community.”

“Referred to as ‘the heart of the school,’” Young was commended for her calm presence and solution-focused counseling in helping children get what they need socially and emotionally. Young has also applied her expertise in trauma research to help train and lead her peers district-wide and will represent Lakota at the state counselor conference next year, said school officials.

School officials said Dietsch’s dedication beyond the classroom over her 19-year history at Lakota was evident through the mix of nominations from students, parents, colleagues and alumni.

“Dietsch’s ‘amazing energy’ and ‘vast professional knowledge’ inspires her music colleagues across Lakota as much as it does her own students,” said officials.

Parents nominating Blevins described the transformation at Endeavor since her arrival two years ago as “electric.”

“The school came alive again,” one parent wrote.

Officials said Blevins was commended for not only rejuvenating her staff, but also unifying the entire Endeavor community and putting student relationships at the center of everything she does.

“She walks the line perfectly of being firm and fun,” wrote one parent.

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