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Rochester Catholic Schools’ educator receives state award

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- The pandemic has taught all of us to appreciate our teachers more than ever before, but one Rochester Catholic Schools' educator is being recognized at the state level for her commitment to learning.

Monica Steinmetz has been a teacher for 30 years at St. Francis of Assisi School and currently teaches 6th grade.

She was nominated for the WEM Outstanding Educator Award back in 2018 and was named the regional winner in 2019.

Just last week she received a phone call telling her she had received the State of Minnesota Teacher Achievement Award.

"It was a very emotional phone call because it encouraged me to go back and reflect on my two years of writing the application," Steinmetz said. "But more than that, it's the memories of the students, the families, my colleagues, the community members that have really partnered with Rochester Catholic Schools in providing atmospheres for teachers to really excel."

Steinmetz is one of six teachers being honored for outstanding accomplishments and one of two recipients of the Teacher Achievement Award.

"There's six categories and my category is teacher excellence, teacher achievement," Steinmetz said. "It means that I've taken the time to work with students to find their passions. To try to help connect that to real life curriculum, to get them involved in the community, to match them up with mentors, to push them perhaps beyond the potential that they thought they could reach. And to help them to be positive citizens in our world."

Steinmetz doesn't like to think she is standing out from her colleagues, rather she stands together with them; whether it be to ask questions, show support and collaboration or share ideas all in an effort to make quality educators.

"It's a wonderful honor," Steinmetz said. "Not just for me, but for all of the Rochester Catholic School Systems."

The honor also comes with a $15,000 award.

Steinmetz said she is unsure what she will do with the award, but mentioned she would like to share it with the people who have helped Rochester Catholic Schools.

Sarah Gannon

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