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2021 Educator and Young Educator

Hastings Public Schools proudly announces

The 2021 Educator of the Year

   Jade Bartunek

Jade Bartunek

Ms. Jade Bartunek, a Kindergarten teacher at Watson Elementary, has been with the District twelve years.  Ms. Bartunek has served on various committees for Hastings Public Schools including curriculum committees and serving as the Kindergarten liaison for their PLC Team.  Ms. Bartunek has been active as a building representative with the Hastings Education Association and currently serves as the Vice President.

Here is a very small sample of what Ms. Bartunek’s nominating colleagues have to say:  
“What I value most about Mrs. Bartunek is that she sees each of her students as an opportunity to reach beyond and ‘outside’ limitations that may be placed on that child and she instead vowed to help them to achieve their ‘all time best’ each and every day as an important member of her classroom.”

“Mrs. Bartunek has a special way of making her classroom feel like a family.  She advocates for students, for families and for education as an institution.  Mrs. Bartunek is a team player and I truly believe that there is no extra mile she would not go to if it meant improved outcomes for children.”

The Educator of the Year Selection Committee, comprised of prior HPS Teacher of the Year recipients, said the following quote from Ms. Bartunek really stood out to them:  “Each year offers a new challenge and a different student who is crying out for someone to believe in them. Behavior is a language, a language that we all need to invest in.”

The 2021 Young Educator of the Year

   Karen Valdes

Karen Valdes

Ms. Karen Valdes, a 7th Grade Reading teacher at Hastings Middle School, has been with the District for five years. Ms. Valdes has served on various committees at Hastings Middle School including curriculum development for the Explore Reading Program.  Ms. Valdes is very active in the community particularly as a volunteer for the Mobile Food Harvest helping to provide food for many Hastings Public Schools families.

Ms. Valdes might be new to the District but she has made a big impact in a short time.  Here is a taste of what her colleagues have to say:
“Karen Valdes is a no-nonsense educator who loves each of her students….the love for each of her students, combined with her high expectations, and the understanding of reading standards, has allowed her students to blossom.”

“Karen strives to make her classroom, and her entire being, unconditionally welcoming. The students she teaches vary in backgrounds in terms of socio-economics, linguistically diverse, racial, religious, and varying levels of differences and trauma. She understands the difficulties these backgrounds can have on the adolescents she teaches, but she does not let those difficulties become a crutch for them.” 

“Karen Valdes is a gem to her students, parents, and fellow staff members.”

 Congratulations to these Outstanding Educators!!