Longtime Glenwood Educator Surprised By Recieving Lakin Teaching Award

Glenwood Middle School science teacher Tom Berke with some of his sixth grade students.

Glenwood Middle School 6th grade science teacher Tom Berke said he was surprised to learn he had been selected as a recipient of a Charles E. Lakin Outstanding Teacher Award. He was presented the award during a surprise ceremony at GMS on May 9.

“It was a pleasant surprise to say the least,” Berke said. “I’ve been telling people, you’re not in it for the recognition but it is nice every once in awhile. It feels good to know there’s people out there who appreciate what you’re doing.”

Berke was among 180 educators from 19 school districts across southwest Iowa nominated for the award, according Green Hills Area Education Agency Supervisor of Communications Devin Herrick.

Berke was nominated for the award by colleague Colleen Confer.

“He is one of the most connected teachers in our building,” she said. “Tom’s positive attitude is portrayed throughout the building. He believes in the ability of each and every student and he shares that through moment-to-moment interactions.”

GMS Principal Heidi Stanley echoed Confer’s thoughts during the award presentation ceremony.

“For us to be able to celebrate Mr. Berke in this way is a tribute to the great job he does every day,”

Berke has taught in the Glenwood Community School District since 1993.

“Dan Tuma (principal) hired me at West Elementary,” he said. “That was my first job in the district.” she said.

The Charles E. Lakin Outstanding Teacher Award is given annually to four outstanding southwest Iowa public school teachers from non-urban schools within a 40-mile radius of the late philanthropist Charles Lakin’s hometown of Emerson.

Each of the four Lakin Award winners receives $10,000 for personal use and their respective district receives an additional award of $2,500.
Berke said he’s still uncertain what the $2,500 will be spent on.

“That’s a really good question because they do a really good job in Glenwood of replenishing any science supplies that I need,” he said. “I’m going to be looking into maybe some new equipment – some things that will make some of the concepts that I teach a little bit more hands-on than they are right now. I’m hunting for stuff, believe me.”

The Opinion-Tribune

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