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  • Writer's pictureJamie Burdorf

BURDORF: Thanks to all in education

Updated: Nov 24, 2021


American Education Week was celebrated in mid-November, across the nation and right here in Shenandoah, too, and that prompted me to reflect on the important role that all those involved in education have in our lives.

A highlight here, of course, was the announcement of the annual awards for “Teacher of the Year,” “Support Staff Member of the Year” and the “Friend of Education.” Those were presented Nov. 17 at a special banquet at the school.

For 2021, “Teacher of the Year” is Brenda Wood (Flex Ed), “Support Staff Member of the Year” is Patty Roberts (ELL Associate), and the “Friend of Education” honor went to the employees of Pella Corp. for all their volunteer work in the schools. In addition, the 2020 “Teacher of the Year” Sarah F. Martin (Ag Teacher) was recognized, since no banquet was held last year due to the pandemic.

I grew up with both my parents as teachers, then one a principal and the other a guidance counselor. Suppers around the table almost always involved “school talk.” My siblings and I used to hate it. But now here in Shenandoah, I am married to the K8 principal, and our nightly conversations are much the same.

There is a special appreciation that comes with having someone being a part of the school system. Specifically, it’s not as easy as you think it is. This wonderful group of people -- teachers, administrators, secretaries, associates, coaches, janitors, bus drivers and food service workers -- go into work each and every day not knowing what to expect. But they’re going to do their best for their most important customers -- the students.

Education is a labor of love. Some days are easier than others, but this special group of people look for the small victories day in and day out. That kid who’s been struggling and finally has a lightbulb moment. The kid who hasn’t been able to manage his or her emotions and then has a breakthrough. The kid who finally confides in you about something important in his or her life. The hugs, high-fives and smiles!

Our staff here in Shenandoah is one we are lucky to have. Educating our kids is just a small part of it. You care for our kids day in and day out. We don’t always see the hours or work you put in. But I hope you know you have a community behind you, appreciating the work you’re doing not only during American Education Week, but every single day.

You can reach Jamie Burdorf, executive director of the Shenandoah Iowa Education Foundation, by phone at 515-520-7641 or by email at

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Buy SIEF Banquet tickets here!

Our third annual "Excellence in Education" banquet will be held on April 6th, with social hour at 5:00 PM and the meal and program beginning at 6:00 PM. The banquet will be held at the Shenandoah Elk


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