Wal-Mart names teachers of the year
Students don’t forget a good teacher. Nobody knows that better than Glenwood Springs High School math teacher Joseph Sustar and Rifle High School English teacher Keri Wagstrom. Both were named Wal-Mart teachers of the year last week. Wal-Mart names one teacher of the year for each of its stores, where students were able to nominate a teacher by filling out a form. Each winning teacher will receive $1,000 for their school.Sustar, who previously taught for two years in New York City, teaches geometry and several algebra classes, and helps coach boy’s basketball at GSHS.Principal Paul Freeman said Sustar, who is finishing his first year teaching in Glenwood Springs, has a keen intellect and possesses a remarkable social intelligence. “There is no idea that you can throw at him which he doesn’t quickly absorb,” Freeman said, adding that when Sustar works with students, he quickly gets a feel for their learning style and emotional state, weighs that information and “pitches it where the kid needs it.”Kids feel safe around Sustar, Freeman said, and he inspires them to become successful. Sustar said the award is a tribute to the 60 other teachers who have helped him this year. “I was just flattered,” he said. “It totally caught me off guard. Every day in teaching, it’s a struggle. … To have that kind of feedback (from students) is definitely affirming that you’re doing something right.”Wagstrom teaches 11th grade English and advanced placement literature at RHS. “It was an honor to receive the award because students voted for it,” she said. “It’s really great to have acknowledgment from the students for the work that I do, and I’m really excited that I won the award, I guess, because it shows hard work does pay off and the students know that I care.”The prize money will be spent on new advanced placement literature textbooks, Wagstrom said.
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