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South Dakota Educators Show Pioneering Spirit

South Dakota Teacher of the Year Erica Boomsma is among 10,000 public school educators being recognized as part of National Teacher Appreciation Week. (South Dakota Dept. of Education)
South Dakota Teacher of the Year Erica Boomsma is among 10,000 public school educators being recognized as part of National Teacher Appreciation Week. (South Dakota Dept. of Education)
May 6, 2019

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Teaching is often called the toughest job in the world.

In addition to educating a diverse classroom, teachers are role models and mentors while still making education fun – and this is the week to thank them.

It's Teacher Appreciation Week, but in any school year week, 10,000 South Dakota educators show their dedication and determination to inspire children in the classroom.

Erica Boomsma, who teaches fourth grade in the Huron School District, is the 2019 Teacher of the Year.

She maintains that teachers understand that when you teach children, it not only improves their lives, but also the lives of their families and communities.

"It does take a certain person to get out there and go search for brand new things, new methods, so our children are successful,” she states. “And I think the teachers in South Dakota are really good at that, because we kind of have that pioneer spirit of getting out there and finding a way on our own when we have to."

The National Teacher of the Year Program began in 1952 and continues as the oldest, most prestigious national honors program that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching.

An educator for 17 years, Boomsma says even as a girl, she dreamed of being a teacher.

"I loved, first, my students,” she states. “I love teaching and I've loved teaching my entire life.

“You know, you hear about teachers who as little kids will play school. I was that little girl, and I would teach to my stuffed animals, and I would teach to my brother and sister."

Mary McCorkle, president of the South Dakota Education Association, points out teachers might spend most of their time in the classroom, but they also are advising, coaching, monitoring lunch and recess periods, and even helping students catch the bus.

"We encourage the public to thank educators – to let educators across the state know that all of their hard work doesn't go unnoticed,” she stresses. “I don't think there is a person who doesn't have a teacher who made a tremendous impact."

If you'd like to thank a teacher, the U.S. Department of Education is using the hashtag ThankATeacher on social media throughout the week, where people can share messages about educators who've made a difference in their lives.

Disclosure: South Dakota Education Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Education. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Roz Brown, Public News Service - SD