School News

2024 Celebration of Excellence Teacher, Staff and Volunteer Award Honorees Announced

Minnetonka Schools has announced the award honorees for the 2024 Celebration of Excellence awards, an annual districtwide awards program that honors several outstanding teachers, staff and community volunteers.

This year’s event is Thursday, May 16 from 6-8:30PM at the Arts Center at Minnetonka High School. It is open to the public and will also be livestreamed on YouTube

Here are this year’s Celebration of Excellence award recipients:

MINNETONKA AWARDS FOR CHILD-CENTERED EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING

  • CLEAR SPRINGS: Paige Koehnen
  • DEEPHAVEN: Rachel Norton
  • EXCELSIOR: Amy O’Neill
  • GROVELAND: Megan Hill
  • MINNEWASHTA: Amy Gutierrez-Paine
  • SCENIC HEIGHTS: Heidi Volkart
  • SAIL: Kristen Moreen
  • MHS: Nick Bahr
  • MHS: Kristin Goeser
  • MME: Joel Newman
  • MMW: Jennifer Pearce

AWARD FOR CHILD-CENTERED EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING E-LEARNERS

  • TONKA ONLINE (K-5): Wendi Bottiger
  • TONKA ONLINE (6-12): Ben Stanerson

MINNETONKA EMPLOYEE AWARDS FOR CHILD-CENTERED EXCELLENCE

  • Paul Twenge - Administrator
  • Bill Keenan - Buildings and Grounds
  • Jim Dorf - Bus Driver
  • Amy LaGrange - Nutrition Services
  • Harriette Chwialkowski - Clerical/Office Assistant
  • Tara Kamann - Counselor/Professional Staff
  • Jackie Dickens - Nurse/Professional Staff
  • John Grotz - Technology/Professional Staff
  • Kelly Fidgeon - Paraprofessional
  • Miky Gee - Paraprofessional
  • Macall Brix - Explorers Staff
  • Anna Oasheim - Minnetonka Community Education Program Manager 
  • Kathryn Prell - Occupational Therapist

TEAM AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN COLLABORATION

  • Lisa Reed and Laura Rosati from MMW
  • Tonka Online’s K-5 Team
    (Merri Altieri, Reid Anderson, Samantha Bauchle, Wendi Bottiger, Courtney Davis, Cheryl Heaney, Joe Hessburg, Tim Ketel, Melani Schwartz, Kelli Whiteside)

COMMUNITY EDUCATION VOLUNTEER/BUSINESS PARTNER AWARDS

  • ECFE/Preschool Volunteer of the Year: Bryn Atherton
  • Youth Programs Volunteer of the Year: Susie Gillespie
  • Adult Programs Volunteers of the Year: Don and Mary Anne Draayer
  • Community Education Business Partner of the Year: Park Dental

SPINNAKER AWARD

  • Matt Chapman
  • Rena Dragseth
  • Amy Grady
  • The General Store of Minnetonka
  • Kyle Heitkamp
  • Molly Kerr
  • Karen Thoele and Steve Kniss

VANTAGE GOLD PARTNERS

  • Heidi Teoh
  • Jill Zullo

MOMENTUM GOLD PARTNERS

  • Aloft Aviation
  • Luther Automotive Group
  • Minnesota Asphalt Pavement Association
  • Walser Automotive Group

BRAD BOARD AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION

  • Jayna Rafferty, Multilingual Learners Teacher, Excelsior Elementary

JOYCE GUSTAFSON MEMORIAL AWARD

  • Anna Bjork, Multilingual Learners Teacher, Minnetonka Middle School East

JUDY ERDAHL MEMORIAL AWARD

  • Sarah Ridgway, Early Childhood and Family Education Teacher, MCEC

AWARDS ANNOUNCED MAY 16

  • Employee Service Awards honoring 20, 25, 30 and 35 years
  • 2025 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Nominees
     

If you have questions about the Celebration of Excellence program, please contact Dr. JacQui Getty, executive director of communications for Minnetonka Schools, at jacqui.getty@minnetonkaschools.org

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