By Lorrie Ham
The Mound Westonka School District's first "Feature Teacher" of the new school year is Mary Jo Blanchard, a high school art and Honors English teacher. Blanchard has taught in the Westonka District for 15 years, following one year teaching in Stewartville, MN, and 10 years each in the Twin Cities Catholic Middle Schools and Minnetonka Elementary Schools. She teaches Honors English 10, ceramics, digital art and Art I, and in the past, taught seventh-grade art and study skills, and eighth-grade English and speech.
Blanchard received a Bachelor of Science degree in English and Art from Minot State University. She also received a Master’s Degree in Education from Hamline University in St. Paul.
Outside of the classroom, Blanchard coached the speech team for five years; served as National Honor Society and Exchange Student advisors for three years each; was a member of the eighth-grade transition team for four years, and Fine Arts Department Chair for one year. She has served on the Technology, Attendance Appeals, Shared Decisions and Ninth-Grade Advisory committees. Blanchard has also been instrumental in preparing and setting up Westonka’s annual student art shows, including Minnesota State Fair; MSHSL Regional Art Show and All District Band and Choir Concert and Art Show.
“Thank you, Lord Fletcher’s, for acknowledging and rewarding the efforts and success that teachers bring to the community,” said Blanchard. “I must say that teaching in the Westonka School District has been a powerful and positive experience for me; I have grown professionally and personally because of my interaction and work with the administration, staff and students.”
“Mrs. Blanchard is one of the most kind-hearted, talented teachers and artists that I have ever met,” said Assistant Principal Marty Fischer. “She is able to use this combination of skills to build strong and lasting relationships with students. She and her Fine Arts colleagues have spent extensive time to brag about and display our students' artwork--in the school, around the community, and at the State Fair. In addition to all of this, Mrs. Blanchard has accepted the changing world of technology and embraced it in her classroom. She is well-deserving of this award.”
Each Feature Teacher winner receives a certificate for a brunch for two at Lord Fletcher’s.
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