Teachers of the Year

By Shelby Stewart-Soldan
Staff Writer
Brandon Twp. —On Jan. 30, three educators were honored in the Brandon School District with teacher of the year awards.
At the secondary level, the recipient was high school teacher Jenny Gieselman.
“From the time I was an upper elementary student, I have always loved working with kids,” she said. “When going to college there was never a doubt in my mind that I wanted to be anything else but a teacher. What an amazing decision it has been.”
Gieselman also said she loves having the opportunity to make a difference for students everyday.
“I feel blessed that I have been able to make that dream come true right here in Brandon, where I have built so many relationships, all because I chose teaching as my career,” she said. “It was a huge surprise. We have so many amazing teachers in Brandon, to even be considered for the award is such an honor.”
At the early childhood level, the district honored Joanne Sotzen, an early childhood educator.
“I started teaching because of my passion to help children develop both academically and socially,” said Sotzen. “My philosophy of education is that all students are unique and have their own strengths and weaknesses in their abilities to learn. As an educator, it is always my intention to help students become the best they can be by trying and doing their best. I had always wanted to be an Early Childhood Educator. This is the first step to a child’s school experience and I want every child to feel safe, secure, and happy at school because then it promotes learning.”
Sotzen also said she loves to help families and working together as a team for their children, and watching how the children thrive and learn while in preschool.
“I was extremely honored to receive this award form Brandon School District and appreciate it so greatly,” she said. “We have a great group of Early Childhood Educators at Brandon Preschool and we all collaborate and support each other. I am so fortunate to work with a great team! This community has been my home where I raised our two children, both Brandon graduates, and I am grateful to be an educator teaching the children within this community. I am proud to say I am a Blackhawk.”
The elementary teacher of the year is Oakwood kindergarten teacher Brandie Bevel.
“Educating children has always been a passion of mine because they are our future and to be able to inspire and educate them is what drives me,” said Bevel. “It feels great to be recognized as an outstanding teacher. I started my student teaching in Brandon and was thrilled to get hired in 2009. Over the past 15 years, incredible staff have helped lead, guide and coach me into the educator that I am today. I am so thankful for them. When I think about my former students my hope is that I inspired them to be the best person they can be.”

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