by Lorrie Ham
The Westonka School District’s "Feature Teacher" for October is Ali LaLonde, a special education teacher at Grandview Middle School. LaLonde has taught in the Westonka District for nine years, following five years teaching in the Cochrane-Fountain City School District in Wisconsin.
She currently teaches small group language arts, small group math, seventh-grade co-taught language arts and students with cognitive disabilities.
LaLonde earned her Bachelor’s degree from Winona State University, where she studied Elementary Education 1-6, Developmental Cognitive Disabilities K-12 and Learning Disabilities K-12. She followed that with a Master’s degree in Teaching and Learning from St. Mary’s University.
Outside of the classroom, LaLonde has served as Chair of the district continuing education committee (seven years); a member of SEAC: Special Ed Advisory Committee (one year); Special Education Liaison (three years); Media Center Task Force (two years) and Special Education Lead (three years). She also attends all dances to support special ed students and supports students in community ed classes, such as the zoo sleepover.
“Ali is exactly the teacher every principal loves to have,” said Grandview Principal Christine Zachow. "She cares deeply about each and every student that she works with. She also builds very strong partnerships with parents so that we can work together to help their child realize their full potential. She is incredibly patient and kind, and at the same time she is constantly changing and adapting her teaching so that she can integrate all of the latest tools and techniques to make her classroom one that is engaging, fun and challenging."
“I have the best job in the world! I feel extremely fortunate to work with so many amazing students, families and co-workers,” said LaLonde. “Thank you for this honor.”
Each Feature Teacher winner receives a certificate for a brunch for two at Lord Fletcher’s.