Erb is a retired first-grade teacher whose endless energy and enthusiasm for teaching is the inspiration for the annual award presented by the TK Education Association. TK Middle School band teacher Mark Hagemann explained that peers make the nominations for the award based on someone who goes “far above normal expectations” for students and staff.
High School teacher Kevin Kane nominated Ritsema for this year’s honor. In his nomination he wrote, “Liz is a dedicated teacher and a great role model for both students and staff. She continually goes above and beyond to improve both the TK school district and the community at large. She is an excellent role model for students as she interacts with other students, staff and community members in a positive and professional manner at all times,” he read.
He said she is likely best known for her work as one of the student council advisors. In that role she helps students organize homecoming, student events, pep rallies and service projects. “She also advises students who are not on student council and she’s a member of the MTSS team at the high school as well as a math tutor. Liz advocates for all students and she is a strong supporter of all staff throughout the district,” he said. “She also spends a lot of her own time advocating for students and other staff members. Probably the most important contribution she provides, however, is her unyielding positivity and encouragement. No matter the obstacle, difficulty or challenge, she remains positive and calm, setting an example for staff members and students alike.”
This is Ritsema’s 19th year teaching math at TK.
Recognition was also given to staff members who have reached levels of service to the district. Superintendent Craig McCarthy said it’s nice to recognize these milestone years. “There's not as much loyalty to school districts or organizations as there used to be. It's great that we have the retention at TK that we do because it's a fantastic place to be.”