VFW honors Braham’s Burke as Minnesota K-5 Teacher of the Year

The Department of Minnesota Veterans of Foreign Wars honored Braham Area Elementary School’s Joan Burke as their Minnesota “Grades K-5 Teacher of the Year” during the VFW 109th Annual Grand Banquet Program at the Mid-Winter Conference.

Braham Area Elementary teacher Joan Burke accepts her "Teacher of the Year" award from VFW state chairman Jimmy White.

The banquet was held at the Minneapolis Marriott-City Center on Jan. 21.

Also honored were “Grades 6-8 Teacher of the Year” Kelly McDermott from Hidden Oaks Middle School in Prior Lake and “Grades 9-12 Teacher of the Year” Connie Ferris from Osakis High School.

Jimmy White, Minnesota VFW’s Teacher of the Year Chairman, in handing Burke her Crystal Apple Award, complimented Burke by saying, “Teachers change our society one day, one class lesson, one student at a time. There’s no more important job, and there’s no one who does the role better.”

In receiving the Teacher of the Year Award, Burke said, “Thank you to the Minnesota Veterans of Foreign Wars for giving me the honor of being the MN Elementary Teacher of the Year 2012. It is humbling and yet exciting to be recognized by the VFW for teaching good citizenship to our young students. I will cherish this experience for a very long time.”

Burke also thanked the local veterans who take the time to raise the flag at Braham Elementary on Veteran’s Day and then spend time in the classrooms visiting students. She concluded, “Our Veterans are truly the greatest teachers of citizenship on Nov. 11.”

Burke was nominated as the Elementary Teacher of the Year by the Braham VFW, went on to win the District 6 VFW Award and then the State Award.

She will represent Minnesota in the National Citizenship Education Teacher Award Program, with the national winner being announced sometime in February.