Congratulations to Lara Cook, Teacher of the Year at Providence Elementary

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Congratulations to Lara Cook, who has been named Providence Elementary’s 2018-19 Teacher of the Year! Just over eleven years ago, Cook returned to the classroom after taking a break to start her family of three children. She came back into the profession as a computer specialist at River Heights, then made her way to Providence Elementary where she currently teaches first grade. Cook describes her decision of returning to the classroom as an “easy yes.” She has now been teaching first grade for the past seven years.

Cook’s influence at Providence Elementary has been substantial. In addition to praising Cook’s teaching ability, Trudy Wilson, the principal at Providence, describes Cook as a “critical asset” when they first started using computers for end-of-level testing. Staff needed to learn the new systems and relied on Cook’s expertise to solve the various problems that occurred as they were rolled out. Even now, though computer-based testing is more widespread, Wilson says she refers to Cook as one of her “go-to tech teachers.”

Cook has a deep respect and adoration for her students. “I want my students to know how much I believe in them,” Cook said. “My hope is that they will believe in themselves the way I believe in them. Teaching is so rewarding because it gives me a sense that I am helping make the world a better place one student at a time.”

Her dedication to her students does not go unnoticed; she is known for putting in extra time and effort to meet the needs of her students. “Lara has the ability to recognize the learning needs of her individual students,” Wilson explained. “She addresses their needs in ways that students flourish and grow.”

Wilson praised Cook for her ability to organize, her patience, and her kind heart. She continued, “Lara’s students love and respect her because they know what she expects of them. They trust her to help them succeed… She teaches them hard things, and reassures them they can do hard things and amazingly, they do!”

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