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Southern Door Elementary Teacher Named Rural Teacher of the Year

Jessica Meacham knows there’s something special about teaching at a rural school.

“I’ve taught in inner city schools, I’ve taught in suburban schools and one of the biggest differences I’ve noticed working with a rural school is how tightly knit the community is and how supportive it is,” Meacham said. “When you leave your house you always run into people and students you know and that’s just a neat thing.”

It’s more than just bumping into students at church and the grocery store. Meacham, a first grade teacher at Southern Door Elementary School, feels like she’s a part of their families.

Jessica Meacham works with students at Southern Door Elementary School. Submitted photo.

“With students’ families, they have their child’s best interest in mind and I want to help them achieve that, so we work together as a good team,” she said.

On Thursday, Nov. 14, Meacham was named the Wisconsin Rural Teacher of the Year by the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance. She’ll be entered in the national competition, and find out in August if she receives one of four national awards.

She was recognized for her commitment to helping individual students succeed and drive to teach relevant technology in the classroom – just look at her classroom blog for proof (http://www.jmeacham.com/).

“I think the opportunities to collaborate and network and develop partnerships is very difficult because of the rural setting, but I don’t think educators like Jessica allow that to stop them from really reaching out and embracing the world and bringing the world into the classroom for their students,” said Southern Door School District superintendent Patricia Vickman.

For Meacham, ignoring technology isn’t an option. It’s pervasive in our daily lives, and it isn’t going away.

“It’s not something that’s just in an education setting or college setting or technical setting,” she said. “It’s something we use in our personal lives to make life easier, keep organized. I use it all the time and I see other families doing that too.”

Meacham has taught at Southern Door for 11 years, and before that worked in the Twin Cities.