Will goes out on top, Olson named staffer of the year

TEACHER OF THE YEAR  —  Gavin Grammar, winner of the Teacher of the Year award for 2010-11, presents Shelley Will, a third grade teacher, with the District 10 Teacher of the Year award for 2012-13.  I-O Photo by Buck Traxler



By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor

Initiated 16 years ago, the Conrad School District began a recognition program to honor the individuals that are deserving and give their best effort for the students of the community.

Superintendent of Schools Craig Barringer commented, “We would not be the envy of the Montana educational community if it were not for the people like those being honored today.”

Opening the event were Barringer and UMS Principal Tara Thielman who presented a number of service pins.

Recognition awards for years of service were awarded to individuals and then retirement awards were presented to Roxy Zomer, Linda Garnett, Barbara Brownell, Terry Will, Shelley Will, Erik Gustafson, Wendy Gierke and Linda Carlson.

Following that portion, Byron Carter, last year’s Employee of the Year, and Barringer presented the Outstanding Classified Employee of the Year award.

Ernestine Olson who has been playing the piano for over 31 years in the school district was named the Employee of the Year.

She was nominated by Todd Truscott the district school music instructor.

In part, he noted that at the district music festival, Olson played for more than 10 students and “ran all over CMR and was never late for one students’ song.”

She also plays for the Beehive assisted living center, for the Extended Care Unit at the PMC and Horizon Lodge as well as for two churches. “If it is music in Conrad, she plays for it,” he said.

Then it was time for the grand award.

Barringer and last year’s winner, Gavin Grammar presented the Outstanding Teacher of the Year award to Shelley Will, a third grade teacher at Meadowlark School.

She was born and raised on a family farm outside of Brady for which she is still involved with their operation.

Will has been a dedicated instructor in the Conrad school system for 25 years earning her Master’s Degree. She is a compassionate and dedicated professional.

Barb Brownell, who won the award in 2011, said of Will, “She builds character and confidence in her students.”

She went on to add, “Education is a bridge that carries our youth to new horizons. She is a superior architect.”

Looking back, Olson joins Betty McBratney, Leona Linn, Barb Brunner, Donna Schlepp, Afton Lamoreaux, Jeff Sullivan, Molly Jimmerson, Linda Carlson, Tammy Jones, Sandy Shirley, Becky Meier, Roxy Zomer, Brenda Slezak, Ed Corder, Tammy Totdahl, Carol Johns and Carter as past honorees of Classified Staff.

Will joins a “Who’s Who” of instructors that began with Bill Jimmerson, followed by Chuck Powers, Cheryl Schlepp, Linda Garnett, Carol Gunderson, Tara Thielman, Monica Tomayer, Jim Carroll, Deb Perry, Beth Ann Bolmeier, Carol Brownell, Janie McFarland, Carol Mielke, Karen Lee, Barb Brownell and Gavin Grammar.

Will’s name will be forwarded onto the state Teacher of the Year Program.