Meet the 2022 South Dakota Teacher of the Year

Local News

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — There’s a new South Dakota Teacher of the Year.

The winner for 2022 teaches in the Brookings School District.

A statewide panel chose Stephanie Ballard from a group of five regional finalists.

You can find Ballard at the front of a classroom today thanks to the teachers who inspired her as a student.

“Kindergarten to sixth grade I was homeschooled and I entered the public school system in Minnesota and I loved public school. I loved being homeschooled, but I just always loved school,” 2022 South Dakota Teacher of the Year Stephanie Ballard said.

Ballard says she’s deeply humbled and appreciative to be named the 2022 South Dakota Teacher of the Year.

“There’s a lot of great teachers in my school; there’s a lot of great teachers in my district; and we have awesome educators all over the state,” Ballard said.

Ballard currently teaches special education math at George S. Mickelson Middle School.

“When those students are successful she loves to celebrate those successes with those students, and sometimes when they need a little extra she’s always there to help them out. She really looks at the whole child and wants what’s best for them,” Principal Todd Foster said.

Ballard says education is a career field truly focused on helping others.

“I’ve been through a lot in my personal life the past few years. I’ve been through some hard circumstances and I found that having a successful and fulfilling life is about helping others, and so I love that I get to come to school every day and not focus about what’s hard in my personal life,” Ballard said.

Instead, this teacher of the year focuses on helping those around her be successful, including her students.

Ballard will represent South Dakota as a candidate for the National Teacher of the Year award, which will be announced in the spring.

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