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Fargo Public Schools honors special ed instructor as Teacher of the Year

Special education teacher Amanda Boyeff waves to family, friends, students and colleagues Friday, April 20, 2018, after being named Fargo Public Schools' 2018 Teacher of the Year in a ceremony at Lincoln Elementary School. Helmut Schmidt / The Forum

FARGO – Amanda Boyeff, a special education teacher at Lincoln Elementary School, has been named the Fargo Public Schools’ 2018 Teacher of the Year.

The announcement was made in a surprise presentation in Lincoln’s gymnasium Friday, April 20, at the close of a concert by the southside school’s chime and vocal choirs.

“I love my job. I say that every day. I have the best students,” a joyful Boyeff told the crowd.

“I can’t believe this is happening. I work with the best people. I am thankful for this place and the people,” Boyeff said, earning rousing cheers and applause.

Boyeff, 37, of West Fargo, is a graduate of Williston (N.D.) High School.

She received a bachelor's degree in elementary education and master's degree in special education from the University of North Dakota. She started teaching in 2003 in Grand Forks Public Schools and joined Fargo Public Schools in 2004 as a special education teacher at Lincoln.

Superintendent Jeff Schatz praised Boyeff for her “compassion and caring,” and said she rose to the top of this year’s list of Teacher of the Year candidates for “her dedication to her students” and “the caring approach she brings to work every day,” as well as with enthusiastic endorsements by her colleagues and parents.

Boyeff said she always knew she wanted to be a teacher and gravitated early on to special education. “I’m grateful I got this job out of the gate,” she said, calling Lincoln Elementary her home. “It’s family to me.”

Boyeff hopes that more people come to recognize the important work teachers do. “I think, sometimes, people don’t realize how much work it is to be a teacher,” she said.

Boyeff’s name will be forwarded to the state Department of Public Instruction as a candidate for North Dakota Teacher of the Year, which is awarded in the fall.

The 2017 Fargo Teacher of the Year was Leah Juelke, an English language arts teacher at South High School. Juelke was also named the North Dakota Teacher of the Year during a ceremony in late September at South High.

Lincoln Principal Megan Kiser said Boyeff makes her students feel successful, valued and loved, on a daily basis.

She’s “changed their lives for the better,” Kiser said.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.

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