Garlough's Thornton wins WEM Regional Award
Garlough teacher Kelsey Thornton named WEM Regional Award recipient
Posted on 05/23/2017
 Kelsey Thornton Picture
From left, Garlough Environmental Magnet School
Principal Sue Powell, 
WEM award recipient Kelsey
 Thornton
 and Wanda 
Summers Wall from the
Synergy & Leadership Exchange.

Kelsey Thornton, an English as a Second Language teacher at Garlough Environmental Magnet School, has been named as a regional honoree in the WEM Foundation’s 2017 Outstanding Educator Awards program, an honor that is accompanied by a $1,500 award.

The Outstanding Educator Awards are presented by the WEM Foundation and the Synergy & Leadership Exchange, honoring six Minnesota educators at the state level each year. In addition to the six statewide honors, additional educators are selected as regional honorees. The Ethics in Education award recognizes educators who embody ethical behavior and promote ethical development for students through classroom or school activities, policies or curriculum. 

Throughout her six years of teaching, Thornton has found she loves to incorporate group work in the classroom. She feels when students work together it increases student engagement and it reflects what most work in the real world is, working with others. “Students do not naturally or automatically know how to work with others to accomplish a task,” shares Thornton. “Working with others to solve a problem is something that must be explicitly taught. By modeling and explicitly teaching these things I am setting my students up for success. This language and behavior is not something that is only applicable to the classroom. It is applicable to any situation in the real world.”

In addition to her teaching duties, Thornton provides leadership for STARS, a program that provides students and families with opportunities after-school and during the summer. This program is designed to build skills in reading, math and writing, as well as help students develop better organizational and social skills. She also coordinates a program called Native Language Literacy in the evenings for the school’s Spanish speaking families. 

“Kelsey advocates in a manner that is calm, safe, positive, steady and persistent," said principal Sue Powell. "It is not just her words, it is her actions, her friendship and her commitment to what is right for humankind.”

Thornton is the fourth Garlough teacher to receive a WEM award in the last five years. She joins others in School District 197 who have been recognized by the WEM Foundation and the Synergy & Leadership Exchange:

2016 - Heather Wilsey of Garlough Environmental Magnet School received the Teacher Achievement Award 
2015 – Eric Friberg of Henry Sibley High School received the Teacher Achievement Award; Heather Wilsey received a regional honoree for Ethics in Education. 
2014 – Peter Bohacek of Henry Sibley High School received the Teacher Achievement Award; Jennifer Parker of Garlough Environmental Magnet School received the Ethics in Education Award
2013 – Deborah Krohn of Garlough Environmental Magnet School received the Ethics in Education Award
2012 – Dr. Charles Skemp of Henry Sibley High School received the Teacher Achievement Award
2011 – Ikhlas Abdelkhalig of Pilot Knob STEM Magnet School received the Teacher Achievement Award
2009 – Jennifer Parker, then of Pilot Knob, was a regional honoree for the Teacher Achievement Award
2003 – Anne Barnes of Friendly Hills Middle School received the Teacher Achievement Award
2001 – Alex Messicci of Somerset Elementary School received the Ethics in Education Award