by Lorrie Ham
The Westonka School District’s Feature Teacher for November is Beth Harstad, a fourth-grade teacher at Hilltop Primary School. Harstad has spent her entire 26-year teaching career in the Westonka District, where she has taught the first, second and fourth grades.
Harstad earned her Bachelor’s degree from Mankato State University and her Master’s from the University of Minnesota.
Outside of the classroom, Harstad has coached girls basketball and served on every Hilltop Committee and Curriculum Lead at least once, including Student Council, Shared Decisions and SIT. Harstad has co-chaired Wolf Ridge for the past 15 years and has attended the annual spring trip for over 20 years. She also taught and currently teaches Community Ed classes like snowshoeing, cross country skiing, movie nights, gym games and running club, to name a few.
Harstad taught summer school for many summers and co-directed the Musical Wheels for Hilltop. She also coached Odyssey of the Minds, which is currently called DI.
Harstad’s other life experiences include being a mom to three “amazing” kids.
“I think Harry Callahan said it best, ‘Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters,’” Harstad said. “I have a few daily quotes that I say to kids – ‘Life is good!’ ‘We work hard, and we play hard!’ and ‘Get outside and get your free vitamin D!’ My goal every day is to assume positive intent with each student, parent and staff member I work with each and every day.”
Harstad received 10, 15, 20 and 25 Years of Service Awards from the district. She also received a 20 Year Award for Wolf Ridge Leadership.
“I would like to thank Lord Fletcher’s for honoring teachers in the Westonka District,” Harstad added.
Each Feature Teacher winner receives a certificate for a brunch for two at Lord Fletcher’s.