Community Ed Director Dave Maurer talks life-long learning at luncheon

Instill in our children a desire to learn, and become life-long learners, was the message Cambridge-Isanti Community Education Director Dave Maurer passed on to the new teachers.

2012 Isanti Ambassador Kirstin Knutson and 2012 Cambridge Ambassador Jazzy Erickson present new Cambridge-Isanti teacher Martha Jones with a welcome bag following the Aug. 24 new teacher luncheon.
2012 Isanti Ambassador Kirstin Knutson and 2012 Cambridge Ambassador Jazzy Erickson present new Cambridge-Isanti teacher Martha Jones with a welcome bag following the Aug. 24 new teacher luncheon.Photo by Rachel Kytonen

The 14th Annual Cambridge-Isanti New Teacher Luncheon was held Friday, Aug. 24, at First Baptist Church, hosted by the Rotary Club of Cambridge and Isanti, and the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Community Education is really about life-long learning,” Maurer told the new teachers. “Our world is constantly changing. New things and new jobs are being created all the time.”

Maurer mentioned things such as the Euro, Panera Bread, American Idol, computers, smart phones and Community Education didn’t exist when he was in high school.

“The implication for us and our children is that many jobs these kids will have don’t exist right now,” Maurer said. “How do you teach for jobs that do not exist yet?”

Maurer, who has four children with his wife Sally, explained three of his children are in college, but he still has a daughter in middle school.

“My sixth-grader needs to learn,” Maurer said. “She needs to learn the bricks and mortar stuff to be successful, but she also needs to learn how to learn so she’s prepared for her future. She needs a desire to learn and a desire to want to learn. She has some of this, but with your help and with parents help, we have the ability to nurture this or squash it; I hope you all will nurture this.”

Maurer mentioned a woman in her 80s earned her GED through Community Education.

Clark Johnson (center) presents Larry E. Ostrom (left) and Ed Burns with vocational service awards through the Rotary Club of Cambridge and Isanti.
Photo by Rachel Kytonen

“You are never too old to learn,” Maurer said. “My wishes and hopes for you as teachers is to support all children and their desire to learn. Help them to become life-long learners.”

Maurer challenged the audience to keep a healthy dialogue with their children on education.

“When you sit down at the dinner table each night, I want you to all go around the table and ask each other, what three things did you learn today?” Maurer said.

Cambridge-Isanti School District Superintendent Bruce Novak introduced the 24 new teachers in the school district.

“The state of Cambridge-Isanti is very healthy,’” Novak said. “We have a truly enthusiastic and passionate group of teachers and students. Every year, when we come to this luncheon, I’m humbled by the generosity and support from the community.”

Marc Johnson, executive director of the Foundation at Anoka – Ramsey Community College  Cambridge Campus, explained approximately 2,200 students are enrolled at the Cambridge Campus, with around 110 to 115 of those students receiving scholarships. He encouraged the new teachers to have students take advantage of financial opportunities.

Vocational Service Awards

Rotarian Clark Johnson presented Ed Burns and Larry E. Ostrom with Vocational Service awards. The award is given for “modeling exemplary vocational leadership consistent with the Rotary’s Four Way Test.”

Burns has been a welding instructor since 1976 and began with the Cambridge-Isanti School District in the fall of 1978. He retired at the end of 2011 school year.

Burns has earned many awards throughout his professional career, but noted his most cherished award was given to him by his students during an unscheduled pep fest in 2000. The award was given for his “selfless service” to the CIHS welding students and the VICA program (now known as SkillsUSA) and was signed by his students.

It was noted that Cambridge-Isanti student welders have won 54 of the 99 medals awarded in the state in “Combination Welding” competitions since 1980. The combination contest is the most difficult welding contest and is the only welding contest where the winner will go on to represent their state at the nationals.

A Cambridge-Isanti student welder has represented Minnesota at the Nationals 20 times in the past 33 years and placed in the top 10 at the nationals nine times.

Burns was honored by the award.

“What kept me here was the community support,” Burns said. “When I started here I went and visited with the industrial businesses such as Arrow Tank and Schlagel, Inc., and they told me anything I needed, they would provide it for me. Those were the two main businesses but others were always waiting in the wings to support me as well. The support kept me here as well as the kids—they were the greatest.”

Ostrom was hired as an art instructor at Cambridge-Isanti High School, and also selected at as a Teacher of Excellence. He also taught ceramics at Bethel University and art at Anoka – Ramsey Community College Cambridge Campus. He also taught ceramics and religion classes in Japan for three years at the International School of Sacred Heart.

Ostrom has traveled extensively throughout Asia and most recently in Peru, taking in as much ceramic history and aesthetics as time would allow.

Ostrom co-founded Rum River Stoneware in 1970 and later founded Ostrom’s Ceramics in his studio. He continues to make pottery and started selling at the Uptown Art Fair in Minneapolis and has had several gallery shows.

“I met Larry when we were in ninth grade,” Johnson said. “He’s a very dynamic person. When I heard Cambridge-Isanti hired him as a full time art teacher, I thought, ‘great, we have another quality teacher to entrust our students with.’ He’s really a teacher that makes a difference.”