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Emmerich goes 'above and beyond'

Jody Emmerich works with preschoolers who have special needs and has been named Teacher of the Year in DL.

She “goes above and beyond her job, she mentors new teachers, does targeted services after work, she voices for her students and wants what is best for all of them.  She gets emotionally involved with her work and her students and is truly an exception to her profession.”

And that’s only part of the reason Jody Emmerich was named Detroit Lakes Teacher of the Year, according to the statements made on her nomination.

The school district held its 2014 Teacher of the Year Celebration at the American Legion Tuesday afternoon, but this year they did things a little differently.

“Rather than narrow it down to three, they wanted to celebrate more people, so we had 22 nominations,” said Pam Daly, a Detroit Lakes teacher and a committee member of Education Minnesota Detroit Lakes, which puts on the event.

Unlike previous years where the three finalists were voted on by their peers, this year names of the 22 teachers being recognized were thrown into a hat with the winner being randomly drawn.

“She couldn’t have picked a better choice because where she (Emmerich) works, very few people have contact with her, and she is just really, really outstanding,” said Daly.

Emmerich is an early childhood special education teacher who serves children age birth to seven years old with special needs.

She works mostly out of the Mahube Head Start facility in Detroit Lakes, and says her favorite part of the job isn’t just working with the children with special needs, but also with their parents.

“I get to foster that first experience with parents whose children will probably have to spend a lot of time in special education, and just being able to make that a positive experience for them and helping the kids become successful is probably my favorite part,” said Emmerich, who makes the commute from Dilworth where she lives every day.

Emmerich is on her 29th year teaching, 27 of which have been in the Detroit Lakes School District.