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Timber Lake educator named S. Dakota Teacher of the Year; Mitchell teacher was finalist

OACOMA — A Timber Lake educator was named the 2014 South Dakota Teacher of the Year Thursday night at the Systems Change Conference in Oacoma/Chamberlain.

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Vicki Harmdierks, principal of Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, said LuAnn Lindskov received the Teacher of the Year award. Lindskov is an educator at the Timber Lake School District. As the South Dakota Teacher of the Year, Lindskov is now a candidate for the national award.

Other finalists for the award were Sonya Fossum of the Mitchell School District, Mindy Foltz of the Rosholt School District, Donna DeKraai of the Brookings School District and Tammy Jo Schlechter of the Custer School District.

In April, Fossum tied with Lisa Neugebauer, of Second Chance High, for the local Teacher of the Year award in Mitchell.

According to Mitchell High School Principal Joe Childs, Fossum was selected as a finalist for the state Teacher of the Year award by the Region 3 Education Service Agency, which is based in Platte and serves more than 30 schools in south central South Dakota.

According to the South Dakota Department of Education’s website, a school district may choose to set up its own selection process for choosing a district Teacher of the Year, or use guidelines created by the Department of Education. The guidelines can be altered to fit a district’s needs.

District Teacher of the Year winners become eligible for their region’s Teacher of the Year award. If selected as a regional Teacher of the Year, educators are then nominees for the South Dakota Teacher of the Year.

The most recent South Dakota Teacher of the Year to come from Mitchell was Pat Moller, a Mitchell Middle School math teacher, who was named the 2012 S.D. Teacher of the Year.

— The Daily Republic’s Chris Mueller contributed to this report.