by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor
St. John Lutheran School has its second teacher of the year in seven years.
Laurie Maynard, who teaches kindergarten through second-grade, was surprised to find out about the award Monday morning at the start of her day. She was a given a package to open, and inside, was a sash that states: “Teacher of the Year.” The honor is for the 2018-19 school year.
Last year, the honor went to Rogers City high school teacher Mike Kosiara, who retired at the end of the last school year.
Maynard teaches the kindergartners and first-graders in the morning, while the second-graders join the classroom in the afternoon.
“We work hard every day to learn to read, write and solve math problems,” said Maynard at the beginning of the school year. “Learning is an adventure that I am able to share with my students.”
Maynard is known for even-tempered style of teaching, and it does not matter how rambunctious her young students get.
Monday afternoon, she was trying to get through the story of Moses and all her students had to do was sit on the rug in front of her, look at the picture and listen. Some were sliding away or chatting, when she started a little chant to get them back on track.
“Yes!” they all said in unison, obviously doing it before.
“Class? Class?” she continued.
“Yes! Yes!” they said back to her.
“If we don’t get started…” Maynard said, leaving the rest for the students to finish.
“We will never get finished!” the kids said at the top of their voices. Then, Maynard tried to continue with the lesson. She never raised her voice. Other staff members say she never gets flustered or upset. It’s an attribute that makes her a special educator in the community. She has been a St. John teacher since 2011.
Born on Kinecheole Air Force Base in the Upper Peninsula, she moved with her parents to Homestead, Florida at a young age.
In the seventh-grade, her family moved to Rogers City. In high school, Maynard was part of the Rogers City Hurons’ volleyball state title run of 1987 that ended second in the state.
“Volleyball was my thing,” said Maynard, who earned a scholarship to continue her playing days at Glen Oaks Community College and coached when she returned to the area.
She realized that teaching young people was something that she wanted to continue. “I was a babysitter starting when I was 8. I should have known.”
Maynard earned a bachelor’s degree in education with a focus on language and history.
“After I started teaching, I enrolled in college again and earned an early childhood education degree.
“I have been teaching for 17 years and thank God for that blessing every day. I truly enjoy helping students learn.”
Maynard loves teaching at St. John, and like many others, calls the school family.
“We are all concerned about helping each other,” said Maynard. “We get to encourage kids to find Jesus and to know that we are here for them. It is an amazing atmosphere to work in.”
St. John preschool teacher Jennifer Voigt was named the 2011-12 honoree.