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Year End Award Winners Honored Throughout ISD 728

annual awards Interim Superintendent Bruce Watkins traveled throughout ISD 728 the last several days of the school year to honor a select group of teachers, staff and one lucky volunteer as he handed out the Year End Awards for 2017.


We’ve included a quote from the award winner’s nomination, which was submitted by a colleague at his or her school.


Congratulations to the following employees and volunteer:


Early Educator of the Year

Beth Britt

Handke Center


beth britt


“Beth is constantly recommending further educational opportunities for families, whether it be trying a toddler program, early childhood screening, or preschool class. This person follows up with every referral she makes, ensuring that each family finds an experience that fits their needs. She is an educator that makes others believe that hope truly inspires and empowers.”

Elementary Teacher of the Year

Becky Brzinski

Rogers Elementary STEM Magnet School





“Becky finds creative way of reaching to present difficult content and ideas to her students. EVERY day, she works hard to prepare, to think freshly about the material she's teaching, and to find current examples that will grab her student's interest. Becky makes the classroom magic happen, regularly. She elicits her students' best efforts and engages their minds, so that they leave class still alive with ideas.”

Secondary Teacher of the Year

Jennifer Sevaldson

Rogers High School




“There are a lot of incredible teachers at Rogers High School but none of them have had a greater impact than Jennifer Sevaldson. As a colleague, she inspires me to grow as a teacher and work as hard as I can to improve our building. What she does for students is impossible to explain in words. She has changed the paths of countless students for the better.

Staff Member of the Year

Sandra Olson

VandenBerge Middle School




“Sandra has the most patient, calm, and caring demeanor of any teaching assistant or paraprofessional I've ever seen. Each day, she buzzes around VandenBerge Middle School from the moment she steps in the door to the moment we walk out, helping students become the best they can be.

Staff Member of the Year

Troy Johnson  

Elk River High School/VandenBerge Middle School




“As the community of Elk River continues to grow and become more diverse, Troy is there to help provide guidance and support to staff and students, continuing to learn about the differences that make up the student population, and he works hard to make a better connection and provide support academically, emotionally, and behaviorally for those students.”

Volunteer of the Year

Grandpa Bob McFarlane

Otsego Elementary School




“Grandpa Bob has not only made it his job to help serve the OES students, but they also supports and values each and every staff member. He can be found cleaning up the staff lounge every afternoon, making a pot of coffee each morning, and every Thursday he is our "popcorn man" while making sure there is plenty of popcorn for each teacher.” 

Special Teacher Award

Peter Newland

Elk River High School




“Mr. Newland is one of the most passionate educators I have ever known, he has made an incredible impact on his students and our staff. These impacts will last a lifetime. He makes you want to be a better person and educator, demonstrating our values that every day. Peter’s passion goes beyond the classroom walls and this teacher works with staff continuously to not only improve their craft but how to tailor it to those students that have not been successful.”