MAHS teacher Jenny Maras named Educator of the Year

The Morris Area School Board learned at the November meeting that one of the teachers at the school was named a Minnesota Educator of the Year for 2022. Jenny Maras is one of four teachers from Minnesota to receive the Minnesota Rural Education Association (MREA)  honors.

Maras was presented with the award at an MREA meeting on November 13 in Brainerd. Also attending was MAHS Supt. Shane Monson. Maras was able to address the conference attendees following a video of her teaching and comments from students. 

One of the students in the video stated that Mrs. Maras felt like a “school mom.” Another said that her class is something they look forward to every day. 

Maras thanked so many people including MREA, her students, the MAS administrators, fellow teachers and her family. She said that she knew she wanted to be a teacher when she knew what a teacher was. She talked about her rural story and how we can “reach our goals where the black top ends.”

“Mrs. Jenny Maras, high school business teacher, earned the Educator of Excellence award from the Minnesota Rural Education Association (MREA),” stated Superintendent Monson. “She works tirelessly to provide students with high quality, real world educational experiences.  Mrs. Maras is an example of the great student experiences at Morris Area Schools.  She represented our students, families, and the community with dignity and class.”

In her speech, Maras stated that her commute to work each day is like a postcard for rural life. She can watch cattle grazing in the fields, the fog rising over the river and the only traffic jam is when you have to go around a farmer heading to the field. She was drawn to this rural story at MAHS.

She feels blessed for the students who flood into her classroom everyday and says that these students “know I have their back. They can stop in to talk or get advice any time.” 

“I am thankful and blessed to be a teacher in small town, USA,” Maras told the crowd at the conference. “What does your postcard look like? You should not take for granted the rural Minnstoa stories that do not stop where the black top ends.”

MREA presents the Educator of Excellence Awards to recognize, reward, and promote excellence in education that achieves the highest outcomes for Greater Minnesota students. This award honors inspiring educators who demonstrate positive impact on students, leadership in the school and community, and innovative instruction. The state is divided into four regions with one Educator receiving the award from each region.

Other board discussion

Supt. Monson will hold another Conversation with the Superintendent on November 29 at DeToys from 7 to 8 a.m.  He will be holding these once a month to give the public an opportunity to ask questions and visit about concerns.  This is a very informal conversation.

The board members approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the teachers, staff and bus drivers at MAS to give each employee a $1,000 one time compensation for the unique demand and challenges of transportation in the Covid-19 pandemic. The board recognized that the employees were willing to work through the pandemic. This money is part of the ESSER funds the school received during the pandemic. This will be part of the December payroll and is for people employed between March 15, 2020 until the present.

The board members commended Supt. Monsoon for taking the needed time and steps to get this through correctly as it has been worked on for the last two years.

Monson gave a presentation on the Morris Area Schools World’s Best Workforce. The report contained five critical goals set for the school and how these goals were met. The report can be found on the school website.

The December board meeting, set for December 19, will also contain the Truth in Taxation Hearing that will start at 6 p.m.