by Ian Ferguson
Education – and especially Blaine education – runs in Jamie Kamrath’s family.
Her mother and her aunt were both teachers, and she has followed in their footsteps. She has been a third grade teacher at Blaine Elementary School for going on 20 years, starting out as a teacher’s assistant when she was in high school. Her aunt, Kamrath and her two children were all students in Blaine.
Kamrath was named Blaine School District’s 2013-14 Teacher of the Year in June. She described herself as “shocked,” and “very pleased,” by the honor, which her supervisors and colleagues bestowed to recognize her skill, dedication and value to the district.
“It was nice to be recognized, but it takes everyone working together to do what we do,” Kamrath said.
A letter from superintendent Ron Spanjer explained why Kamrath deserved the honor.
“Jamie is a leader who works collaboratively with multiple groups of people and seems to have an unending energy as she steps forward to take on leadership responsibilities at Blaine Elementary School and beyond,” the letter reads. “Jamie is respected by students, families and colleagues as a highly organized and purposeful teacher.”
Along with being an active leader in her grade level, Kamrath has often stepped forward as a leader in the district. She agreed to participate in the first round of the Teacher Principal Evaluation Project, a state initiative to evaluate and improve teaching practices. She also helped with district-level scheduling by joining a K-12 leadership group as a Blaine Education Association representative.
“Jamie is a student-centered teacher with a deep commitment to the wellness of the children she serves in Blaine,” the letter continued.
Kamrath said she is settling into the 2014-15 school year. At this time of year, Kamrath’s third graders are working on multiplication, learning about culture and reading fluency.
“I have a good group of kids and we’ve been getting into our routines,” she said. “The early start has been good – it’s nice to get that extra time with the kids.”
Kamrath said she became a teacher because of her family ties to education and because she wanted to give back to the community that raised her. Her favorite part of being a teacher?
“It’s working with the kids, and seeing the excitement in their eyes when they understand something for the first time,” she said.