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Pam Daly and Ruth King are Detroit Lakes' Teachers of the Year

Pam Daly with her seventh and eighth grade English students at Detroit Lakes Middle School.1 / 2
Ruth King with her first grade students at Rossman Elementary School in Detroit Lakes. (Brian Basham / Tribune)2 / 2

It's the kids that make their job enjoyable, worthwhile and the reason they teach.

Pam Daly and Ruth King were named Teachers of the Year for the Detroit Lakes Public School District. Daly teaches seventh and eighth grade English at the middle school, and King teaches first grade at Rossman Elementary.

"I know seventh and eighth grade wouldn't be some people's choice, but they are so excited," Daly said of her students. "I can make jokes, I can be silly, I can be whatever I want and they're accepting and they'll be honest with me. They're not too old that they think they're too cool. It's fun to watch them learn. They get proud of themselves, and that's a really cool thing."

"I love it here," King said. "I get to be goofy and creative. There's never a dull moment."

Those who nominated King said, "She is always sharing her wonderful ideas and lessons... She is exactly the kind of teacher I would want to teach my own kids."

Comments on the nomination form for Daly include, "This teacher makes every student feel important and smart... She is positive, dependable, compassionate and has a sense of humor."

Daly worked only half a year in Grand Forks after graduating from the University of North Dakota, before she came to Detroit Lakes.

Teaching is something she's wanted to do since she was little. She would bring her schoolbooks home and teach her sister, "whether she wanted to or not," she said with a laugh. "And then we'd have parent teacher conferences with my parents."

She has been with the Detroit Lakes district since 1995.

"I love reading, I'm fascinated by that," she said of her reason for going into English as opposed to teaching a different subject. "Unfortunately, I had a teacher in eighth grade I didn't think was the best. Then I had an awesome teacher in high school that showed me the power of literature and if you can dig into it, the fun you can have with it."

"I come from a family of teachers," King said. Her mom and two of her three siblings are teachers. "It's in my genes I think."

She attended Moorhead State University to earn her degree and after graduating, taught two years in Park Rapids before coming to Detroit Lakes.

Since her move here, she's taught every elementary grade but fourth and in every elementary building -- Rossman, Lincoln, Callaway and Washington -- except Roosevelt. She has been at Rossman for 20 years.

"I love teaching kids to read. That fascinates me," she said, relating her favorite part of teaching.

As for being nominated, "it's some pretty serious company I'm with," Daly said.

Looking at the names on the plaque, there are some "awesome" teachers already listed as past Teacher of the Year award recipients.

"To get it with Ruth was really cool because I really admire Ruth," Daly said. "I admire how she approaches things and she always finds a positive way to get things done and said."

"My coworkers are awesome," King said. "It was very sweet of the people who nominated me, very kind. It's a great honor to be recognized by my peers."