Ralyna Schilling, Dr. Teri Morgan, and Tressa Wede, Mitchell; Darlene K. Binfet, Mobridge; and Donna Fischer, Yankton, were inducted into Honored Women Educators of South Dakota at its annual meeting held recently in Mitchell.
Honored Women Educators of South Dakota, first organized in 1954 as the Annie D. Tallent Club, honors women who have given distinctive service to their field of education.
• Schilling received her B.A. degree in elementary and special education from Dakota Wesleyan University in 1996 and her Master of Science in Education with a major in Leadership and Administration from Northern State University in 2005.
Schilling began her career in education as a special education teacher in the Parkston School District from 1996 to 2001. She has taught special education in the Mitchell School District in middle school and high school from 2001 to the present. She currently serves as the Mitchell High School Special Education Department Chair. Schilling has also been a member of numerous committees, including Date Retreat Team Member, Teacher of the Year and Professional Development committees.
A special interest of Schilling is music and she has directed Mitchell Middle School productions and traveled with the Midwest Ambassadors of Music.
One of her recommendation letters stated, "There is no doubt she places a premium on school involvement and professional development. ... But it is her complete devotion to her students that make her the best candidate. Mrs. Schilling delivers her absolute best every day, and her students are all the better for it."
• Morgan received her B.A. degree in English education with a Spanish minor from South Dakota State University in 1993, her Master of Science in Technology for Training and Development in 2002, and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2011.
Dr. Morgan's educational career began as the English and journalism teacher in the Parkston School District from 1994 to 1995. Since 1998, she has worked at both Mitchell High School and Dakota Wesleyan University in positions of Spanish instructor. Currently, she is the World Language Department chairperson at Mitchell High School.
She is a member of NEA/SDEA and the Mitchell Education Association, the S.D. World Language Association and the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.
Mitchell High School Principal Dr. Joe Childs stated, "[Dr. Morgan] has been a strong voice and steady guide as department chair of the foreign language department. As well, she has been a successful change agent as a member of our school's leadership team. Not only does Dr. Morgan provide insight and leadership, but she is also a pioneer of new technology and teaching guide to the group. Dr. Morgan is a strong advocate for her students, and she works tirelessly to provide professional instruction."
• Wede received her B.A. degree in elementary education from Dakota Wesleyan University in 1999 and her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from South Dakota State University in 2002.
Wede began her career in education as a sixth-grade teacher in the Irene School District in 1999. She has taught fifth grade in the Mitchell School District from 2004 to the present. Her professional memberships include SDEA, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development organization, and the National Association of Gifted Children. Wede has written many grants to secure educational technology for students and demonstrates leadership in the use of technology in the classroom.
A co-worker said this about Wede, "One of my favorite things about Tressa's teaching style is that she provides real-life experiences for her students to learn from. In 2016, [her] class of fifth graders, with the help of mentors from the community, created, planned, designed, and implemented an education center at the Corn Palace. The following year at the Mitchell Chamber Banquet, Mrs. Wede's classroom received the Tourism Excellence Award from the Mitchell Convention and Visitors Bureau."
Her principal stated, "When I think of Mrs. Wede's talents, she is a rare jewel who embodies what outstanding South Dakota educators do for our students. Her creativity and dedication to our school, district, and community are something very special."
• Binfet began her career in education in a first- and second-grade combination room in the Pollock School District. After completing her four-year degree, she taught second grade at the Freeman Davis Elementary School in the Mobridge-Pollock School District for 36 years.
Binfet was a member of several professional organizations, including a charter member of Delta Kappa Gamma, NEA/SDEA and the Pollock Education Associations, and a member and officer of the Oahe Area Retired school personnel. She is also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. Binfet has also been involved in numerous community organizations and service projects, such as the American Legion Auxiliary, Bridges Against Violence, and the community Angel Tree.
One of her recommendations stated, "Darlene Kay Binfet exemplifies a love for education and a love for working with children. Her warm personality created a disciplined classroom that was fun, cheerful and safe in a caring environment for little people that came from many different home environments. Darlene's teaching colleagues saw her as a mentor who was willing to take the time to help with a challenging situation, share resources or just listen."
• Fischer began her career in education with a temporary elementary certificate in a combination fifth- and sixth-grade class in Harvard, Nebraska. She then taught high school English at Moore, Oklahoma from 1968-1970. She then taught secondary English and coached oral interpretation at Yankton Senior High School from 1971 until her retirement in 1999.
Her involvement in professional organizations included NEA/SDEA membership, Delta Kappa Gamma, the American Association of University Women and the Yankton Federated Women's Club. Mrs. Fischer also served as a volunteer to many community organizations, including the United Way, the Banquet, Snack Pak, Spelling Bee judge, Library Board, the hospital and was a local and regional debate and oral interpretation contest judge, a judge for art and writing competitions, and conducted mock job interviews at the Yankton federal prison to help prepare inmates for securing post-incarceration employment.
A co-worker stated, "She challenged her students to do their very best. Donna was also a mentor for several student teachers who were carefully guided and who became ready for their own teaching."