Congratulations to Deephaven Elementary's very own Janetta Gong, for her selection as one of the recipients of the University of Chicago's Outstanding Educator Award! This award recognizes thoughtful, engaged teachers who "go beyond everyday teaching and leave an impression that is carries over a lifetime." Each year, the University of Chicago invites freshmen students to nominate an exceptional former teacher for the award. Ms. Gong was nominated by 2019 Minnetonka graduate Dean Matteson.
"I nominated her because she left much more of a lasting impression than other teachers," explained Dean. "I think that can be attributed not only to her excellence as a teacher, but because she cared about her students in and out of the classroom. Her genuine want to help students succeed by ensuring they stay challenged is an amazing quality that is not often found."
Ms. Gong teachers first grade Spanish Immersion at Deephaven Elementary. Her prime focus in teaching is always her students, and she shows extreme dedication to helping them succeed and find their place in her classroom. "I do all I can to elicit creative and unique contributions from my students to build their skills so that they feel empowered to tackle anything," says Ms. Gong. "I want my students to feel learning is exciting and that they all have so much to give this world!" Clearly, Ms. Gong's efforts to connect with her students pay off: kids learn to feel successful and confident in their learning, and leave her class knowing they are loved and accepted at school.
As for the award, Ms. Gong says she feels honored to know that she had such a big impact on her students' lives, even from a young age. "It feels wonderful to be remembered for the things I most hope to foster," she says. "My hope is to keep all the doors open for all my students to pursue their dreams, to find vocations and avocations that help them bring dignity, health, and joy to others while they build these elements in their own lives. I know Dean makes the world a better place, and I am humbled and grateful to have been a part of his journey."
Ms. Gong is grateful for all the people who have supported her in light of the award, and for the exceptional community at Deephaven Elementary that fosters a kind, respectful and fun environment for students and staff alike.