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Lifelong Learning

Reinertsen Teacher of the Year guides students to reach their full potential

February 15, 2018

As a teacher for 28 years, Mary Stich is inspired by the quote, “Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story” (Josh Shipp). Stich strives to be that adult.

“I have a strong desire to help and connect with others,” said Stich, a second-grade teacher at S.G. Reinertsen Elementary School and this year’s Reinertsen Teacher of the Year. “Teaching has provided me with opportunities to build relationships and make connections with students and colleagues.”

Stich has been a second-grade teacher for Moorhead Area Public Schools since 2005. Prior to that she taught third grade for a year and second grade for 15 years in Rochester, Minn. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Minnesota State University Moorhead and her master’s degree in elementary education from Winona State University.

Josh St. Louis, principal at Reinertsen Elementary, said Stich is a leader in the school. Stich has been a building leadership team member, Education Moorhead representative, and a school mentor for new second-grade teachers at Reinertsen. She currently serves on the district math committee and district writing committee.

“She cares greatly for the success of all students, and is constantly reflecting on her practice to make sure she’s doing the best she can because kids deserve it,” said St. Louis. “Mary builds strong relationships with both students and staff, and it is obvious when seeing her interact with others that they value and respect her.”

Stich believes it’s vital for students to have opportunities to build confidence.

“My goal is to reach out and guide students to become aware of and strive toward their full potential,” she said. “My aspiration is to provide the tools and insight to assist in the learning process. I have fostered a safe and welcoming flexible seating environment to meet the needs of diverse learning styles. Students need to feel safe to take risks.”

According to St. Louis, Stich is a true professional.

“She comes to school every day prepared for success with a positive attitude,” St. Louis said. “She strives to help her students be successful academically, socially and behaviorally in all situations. Mary is willing to take risks in the classroom as evidenced by the flexible space she has created for student learning, and she has a calm demeanor that permeates her classroom and the second-grade wing.”

Photo: Mary Stich, second-grade teacher at S.G. Reinertsen Elementary School and this year’s Reinertsen Teacher of the Year, discusses a book with a student.

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