SHERIDAN — Sheridan County School District 1 has selected Tongue River High School family and consumer science teacher Pat Mischke as the district’s Teacher of the Year.
In addition to the recognition, the honor includes the privilege of applying to receive the Wyoming Teacher of the Year Award.
Superintendent Marty Kobza announced the honor last Tuesday at a faculty meeting and the application for the state award was filed Monday.
“Mrs. Mischke was chosen as Sheridan County School District 1’s Teacher of the Year in honor of her decades-long commitment to and passion for family and consumer sciences and consistent willingness to evolve the program to meet today’s challenges and opportunities,” Kobza said in a press release Wednesday. “She also sets the vision for our district-wide career and technical education programs, which ensures we help our students prepare for success in the marketplace in some of the most sought-after fields, like welding and nursing.”
Mischke joined SCSD1 in 1996 after previously having taught in Sundance and Rock River.
She said the thing she is most proud of in her career is how she has integrated FCCLA into each of the seven classrooms she has led.
The Family, Career and Community Leaders of America is a national Career and Technical Student Organization that provides career preparation opportunities for students in family and consumer sciences education, among other things.
“The FCCLA is important to the kids because it connects classroom work to real life experiences and gives them great leadership opportunities,” Mischke said.
TR guidance counselor Pete Kilbride has worked with Mischke for eight years and agrees her work with the FCCLA is the highlight of her contributions, noting that they compete at the state level convention every year and continually have students qualify to compete at nationals, though the group is certainly not the only notable mark on her resume.
“There is a very healthy level of respect that the students have for her,” he said. “She’s very much a mother; when a kid needs to be scolded she’s not afraid to scold them but she does it in a way that they are receptive to her direction.”
He added other notable attributes of Mischke’s are her willingness to give up her kids if they’re needed in another curricula area or testing, her great relationship with the rest of the staff, her strong reputation among Wyoming communities and her year-round work with the kids outside of the classroom.
“She does catering throughout the year as well and the students help her,” he said. “When a kid is willing to give up a Friday night to work for her, you know they must like her.”
Mischke said she is joyful, yet overwhelmed, by the honor and found the state application process very interesting.
“In putting my papers together for the state I learned a lot about myself and in asking for letters of recommendation for it and hearing the responses people offer, I realized the impact of what I’m doing on others,” she said. “I think I work hard and it’s nice to be recognized for hard work but truly I have a fun job, I really do, and I just love what I do.”
One of the questions the application for Wyoming Teacher of the Year asked was if the applicant were to be selected, what would their message be during their year of honor and service.
Mischke said her message is that “teaching is an honorable profession and we need to be proud to be teachers and accountable for what we do.”
The district will hold an awards ceremony at Sheridan College on May 29 at 6 p.m. and Mischke will be honored at this time.