Katherine “Katie” Zak, a first grade teacher at Lakeview Elementary School and the 2017-2018 Wentzville School District Teacher of the Year has been named a Missouri Regional Teacher of the Year. She was selected as one of 10 awardees for the St. Louis Region and one of 32 awardees across the state who are now eligible for selection as the Missouri State Teacher of the Year.
Mrs. Zak has worked for the Wentzville School District since 2005. When asked about her philosophy of teaching, she shared that it is based on three precepts: all children are good, all children can learn, and all children can be successful. “My job,” said Zak, “is to ensure every student reaches their full potential.”
Mrs. Zak’s principal at Lakeview, Mr. Doug Holler, shared that she is a team player who is committed to seeing her students thrive. “Mrs. Zak meets each of her students at their own learning level and challenges them to learn and grow. She is patient, kind and compassionate and she makes learning fun and relevant.”
“You have been chosen by your peers as a teacher of excellence and selected by an elite panel of educators for one of the most prestigious honors that can be bestowed upon anyone in the profession,” wrote St. Louis Regional Professional Development Center Director John Waters in a letter congratulating Zak on her selection. “We commend your hard work, your commitment to excellence, and your continued dedication to changing Missouri’s future – one student at a time.”
This is the third year that the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has instituted a Regional Teacher of the Year recognition designed to focus public attention on excellence in teaching and to honor classroom teachers in all regions of Missouri. Candidates are judged on how they are respected by students, parents, colleagues and the community, whether or not they play an active role in the school community and provide quality leadership among their peers, and they must be able to demonstrate a strong ability to foster excellence in education through improved student learning.
“When my students overcome obstacles or achieve academic success, I am reminded why I became a teacher,” said Zak. “It is in those moments that I feel my work is truly making a difference. As educators, our greatest contribution is the positive impact we can have on our students. I absolutely love being a first grade teacher, and am proud to work alongside such dedicated and talented teachers in the Wentzville School District. I am the teacher I am today because of all the amazing educators I have had the benefit of working with and learning from.” Mrs. Zak will be honored at a reception at Education Plus on July 23.