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Schaefer Named Teacher Of The Year

Lee Strubinger

A kindergarten teacher from Elkton Elementary School is the new South Dakota Teacher of the Year.

Rachel Schaefer has taught at the Elkton School District since 2015. She’s also worked as an administrator at the Boys & Girls Club of Brookings.

Schaefer says growing up she always knew she would be a teacher. She says teaching ended up being more than she initially thought.

“I think it’s the change that you see every day in the kids that you work with. And it’s the changes that you celebrate with them as they grow, whether it’s socially, emotionally or academically. You get to see their world open up and it isn’t just a one time deal. It’s literally every day with one of my students that I see that," Schaefer says. "That is very rewarding.”

Shaefer says she’s humbled and honored by the award.

Early on in her career, Schaefer collaborated on a research project that looked at the influence of materials on a child’s education.

Schaefer will go on to represent South Dakota as a candidate for the National Teacher of the Year award in Washington DC in the spring.