Teachers play one of the most important roles in the lives of our children. They’re role models, supervisors, instructors and supporters. Wearers of many hats, it’s no wonder that our region’s most dedicated teachers were recognized this year as nominees for Teacher of the Year—and one of them took home the grand honor itself.
This year, Ali Alowonle and Corey Bulman were both nominated for Teacher of the Year for the excellence that they demonstrated in the classroom. Alowonle is a navigator teacher for fourth- and fifth-graders at Excelsior Elementary, and Bulman is an English teacher at Mound Westonka High school. In May, Bulman was chosen as Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year.
Alowonle wanted to become a teacher from an early age. Through her career as a navigator teacher since 2009, Alowonle works with gifted children. “Gifted children are often misunderstood and have difficulty in traditional classrooms. I wanted to reach these gifted students to ensure that they had meaningful experiences in school,” says Alowonle. She creates curricula that helps her students to become highly engaged and to think deeply about new concepts. Her favorite thing about teaching is the connections that she gets to make with her students and their families.
Bulman pursued teaching as a means of connecting with young students to have a positive impact on their lives. Bulman, who has been a teacher for 17 years, has a passion for English and especially for reading. “Teaching keeps me young. When you work with young people, you always get to see the world through a fresh perspective,” says Bulman. He says that the world needs good teachers and recommends that anyone considering a career in education should volunteer at a school to see if it’s a good fit.
Congratulations to both of these excellent educators.