WS Schools Teacher of the Year Julie Bruckner is shown above in her fourth grade classroom. 

With a career in education that has spanned more than 25 years and taken her across the state of South Dakota, it is here in her hometown of Wessington Springs that Julie Bruckner has received the school district’s highest honor: Teacher of the Year.

“I was very surprised when I heard the news,” Bruckner said about learning of her nomination.

A student-focused approach comes naturally to the teacher who “loves working with kids and has always gravitated towards kids.” That didn’t go unnoticed by her peers within the district, as nomination forms naming Bruckner Teacher of the Year were submitted. 

Teacher of the Year nomination forms point to Bruckner’s ability to go “above and beyond in her classroom…creating practical projects that help our students make real world connections through their learning.”

Bruckner’s ability to integrate technology into the classroom also put her at the top of the list among fellow teachers in the district: “Mrs. Bruckner is also very good at implementing technology in her classroom. Because of her knowledge, she is also a great resource for the teachers in our elementary building. Julie has taught me creative ways to implement technology in my classroom, and I am very grateful.”

The goal of the Teacher of the Year Program is to recognize and honor the tremendous contributions of outstanding classroom teachers.

Each District Teacher of the Year, including Bruckner, becomes a nominee for his or her district’s Regional Teacher of the Year (TOY) Award. From there, a Regional TOY becomes a nominee for the South Dakota TOY. 

Bruckner’s dedication to kids and the greater community reaches far beyond the classroom. She also serves as a coach for the robotics club, which recently earned a trip to state competition. She’s also a 4-H leader and a CCD teacher. Additionally, she is the president of the Wessington Springs Teacher Association, a board member for the Wessington Springs Area Community Foundation and a member of the Build Springs board.    

If chosen as the South Dakota TOY, she then becomes a candidate for the National TOY.