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Mindi Blokzyl Named Teacher of the Year Nominee

Posted Date: 03/29/2021

Clearwater USD 264 is proud to celebrate the nomination of Mrs. Mindi Blokzyl, First Grade Teacher, as a nominee for the prestigious Teacher of the Year award from the Kansas Department of Education. She is one of the finalists in elementary education from Region IV. 

Blokzyl has been teaching for ten years, three of which are at Clearwater. 

“While Mrs. Blokzyl has high expectations for her students, she also creates an atmosphere where students can have fun and know that making a mistake is an opportunity to learn,” Principal Mike Welty shared.

There are a few areas that Blokzyl really excels and stands out as an exceptional educator. She incorporates art and creativity into her classroom; provides opportunities for students to dig deeper into content; and builds strong relationships with her students, fellow teachers, and parents. 

To incorporate creativity into learning,  her first-graders connect the content that they study during the week with an art project. These cross-curriculum art projects help students investigate, explore and understand the ideas that they have learned.

“She is creative with these projects, and students enjoy making the connection to their learning,“ Welty remarked. 

Blokzyl provides opportunities for students to extend their knowledge by allowing students to work together exploring unsolvable math problems. This challenge provides students with math practice and motivates them to solve problems and discover patterns. She constantly engages students in more complex thinking by having them create problems for their classmates to solve.

Perhaps Blokzyl is most admired for her connection to each student and her positive relationships with fellow teachers and parents. 

Fellow 1st Grade Teacher Danyell Martens said, “Mindi is a very caring, passionate and innovative teacher who creates the ultimate learning experience for each and every student. She has impacted so many people’s and student’s lives.” 

An important part of Blokzyl’s approach to teaching is to build positive relationships with everyone and to teach her students to do the same by cheering one another on and supporting one another. 

“My favorite part of being a teacher is building a relationship with the students. In education, if we can get the students bonded to the teachers, we can give them the tools not only to handle the stresses in their lives, but also to learn to help each other,” Blokzyl said. “If we could keep building the mindset from Capturing Kids Hearts ‘one claps, we all clap’ -- to learn how to cheer each other on -- I feel like this will help the students look into each other’s lives and think about helping rather than hurting. I would like to model this behavior for others and make relationships with others.”

The goal of the KSDE Teacher of the Year program is to build and use a network of exemplary teachers who are leaders in the improvement of schools, student performance, and teaching profession. We are #ClearwaterProud of Blokzyl and her dedication to teaching. Congratulations!

Mrs. Blokzyl works with her first graders on the 'ur' sound.

KSDE Teacher of the Year semi-finalists were announced on March 27, 2021.

Mrs. Blokzyl shows her first graders how to get out of a finger trap.