Top 10

Kristina Vantassel

Marshfield, WI
Kristi promotes student success by creating lessons that help make learning math content memorable. Recently, Kristi worked with a local musician to create five math songs. Once completed, she created visuals for the songs. She also allows the students to make their own math videos. They can choose from many different project choices to complete their task. Kristi also works with academically low math students during her study hall period. Together they explore math concepts using manipulatives, visuals, and technology.

Even though Kristi is a sixth grade math teacher, she also works with students on creating poetry and writing books, as well as teaching them skills to make them better citizens. She tutors students after school in all subject areas and helps students work on organizational skills and confidence building activities.

Kristi uses contests in her classroom to motivate students and so they push themselves to take their skills to the next level. When she finds a contest appropriate for other students, she forwards the email to the colleagues she feels could benefit from the contest. Over the past two years, her math students have tied for third in the state, first in the nation, sixth in the state, and first in the region on math contests. This year, her students placed first as a team and second in the individual MathCounts Competition at the local level. It was their first year entering the 6-8 grade competition. Last year, Kristi was chosen for the Herb Kohl Fellowship Award, Crystal Apple Award, and a MathCounts Math Hero National Award.

Kristi and I started our own small business twenty years ago. We employee members of the community and have sponsored fund raising events at our facility. With the economy in the shape it is, we work extra hard to avoid layoffs. We treat our employees like a part of the family. We also help in the community by volunteering our time, donating plasma, making baked goods, and visiting with elderly community members. Kristi is also a supervisor for the Leadership Team.

Kristi works extremely hard and puts in many long shifts. Her days often run from 7:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. At that time, she comes home and corrects papers, creates lessons, and analyzes test scores. After receiving her bachelor's degree, Kristi returned to school to work towards her Master's degree because it was important to her to be up-to-date with the knowledge needed to be the best educator she can be. She is part of the school's Sunshine Club where she is responsible for welcoming new staff to the school. She is also part of a Professional Learning Community that focuses on student success.

One of the things I love most about Kristi is her infectious positive attitude. She really believes that if she is excited about a topic or event, the students will naturally become excited too. It gives me great pleasure to nominate my wife, Kristina for this award.