Wilsey receives Outstanding Educator Award
Garlough teacher Heather Wilsey receives Outstanding Educator Award and $15,000
Posted on 04/13/2016

From left, Garlough Environmental Magnet School WEM Award recipients Jennifer Parker, Heather Wilsey, and Deborah Krohn, and Wanda Sommers Wall from the Synergy & Leadership Exchange.

Heather Wilsey, a first grade teacher at Garlough Environmental Magnet School in District 197, has been selected as a recipient of the 2016 WEM Outstanding Educator Award for Ethics in Education, an honor that is accompanied by a $15,000 award.

The Outstanding Educator Awards are presented by the WEM Foundation and the Synergy & Leadership Exchange, and honor six Minnesota educators each year. Wilsey is one of two teachers in the state receiving the Ethics in Education award, which recognizes educators who embody ethical behavior and promote ethical development  for students through classroom or school activities, policies or curriculum.

Wilsey is in her 13th year as an educator and her seventh with District 197. In addition to her time at Garlough, Wilsey also taught at Pilot Knob and Somerset Elementary Schools and served in the Peace Corps.

She was presented with the award in front of colleagues on April 7. The surprise reception also included visit from her husband and two daughters. 

“It was very powerful to be able to share this award with my family,” said Wilsey. “They mean the world to me. My husband first encouraged me to go on the Peace Corps trip to Ecuador and got me started on the equity track. Now having my own children, I really understand the trust that parents place in me to help their children be successful.”

In addition to her teaching duties, Wilsey serves as co-coordinator of Garlough’s equity committee, which facilitates awareness and the integration of different perspectives in order to better advocate for families within the school. She is also a member of the District 197 equity team and continues to take classes focused on helping all students find success in the classroom.

“I was originally trained in the responsive approach to classroom management and have served as a mentor for other teachers in this area,” said Wilsey. “The responsive approach focuses on respect for students and helping each student become a contributor to the classroom community. In addition, I have taken classes on increasing achievement for English Language Learner (ELL) students.”

Wilsey was named a regional award winner in the area of Ethics in Education in 2015, and is the third Garlough teacher to receive an Outstanding Educator Award. She joins others in School District 197 who have been recognized by the WEM Foundation and the Synergy & Leaderhsip Exchange:

2015 – Eric Friberg of Henry Sibley High School received the Teacher Achievement Award; Wilsey was 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.