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An award for the Wise

Staff Writer | May 17, 2021 1:07 AM

COEUR d'ALENE — A wise woman said Tuesday, "I may be the tallest person in the room, but I'm not the only teacher in my classroom.

"The students are also teachers and learners. I learn right along with them."

Amy Wise, a fourth-grade teacher at Atlas Elementary, imparted this wisdom following the announcement that she is the Coeur d'Alene School District's Teacher of the Year.

"It's pretty humbling because there are so many great teachers in the Coeur d’Alene School District that are amazing and do amazing things, especially this year," Wise said. "We have seen the best of the best come out and meet the needs of kids. I feel super honored I can represent our district."

Wise knows her district well, as a mom and a teacher. She has taught in the Coeur d'Alene School District since 1986, and all five of her own children have gone through Coeur d'Alene schools. Her youngest is now a high-schooler.

When asked what keeps her coming back each year, she said it's "the kids, the kids, the kids."

"Children are precious," she said.

Wise loves building relationships with Atlas families and working as partners with parents.

"Parents share with me the most precious thing in their life, and I see and honor the responsibility that comes with educating all the children in my care. We want an excellent life for them so we work together to provide that," Wise said. "Relationships are crucial. I love the kids in my room, and I want them to know that I love them."

She holds her colleagues in the highest esteem, as well.

"I have learned so much from all the educators that I have worked with over the years," Wise said. "Teaching is a craft that requires a group effort and lots of continuous reflection."

Atlas Principal Heather Somers said this award for Wise is "very well deserved."

"She's amazing," Somers said. "She's a lifelong passionate learner who publicly shares her craft with other teachers, coaches and trainers."

In her letter to the state committee, Somers described Wise as a risk-taker and one who goes "above and beyond with energy, dedication, determination and most importantly, with the needs of the students and staff as her primary focus."

"She is never hesitant to take on tough situations, while providing and advocating support for the families of her students," Somers wrote. "She is readily accessible and is seen as an expert in intervention, workshop, discourse, planning and community. She provides student agency while holding all learners to a high level of understanding."

Wise and other district teachers of the year across the state will vie for Idaho Teacher of the Year, who then serves as Idaho’s nominee for the National Teacher of the Year program, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers. The 2020 winner was Stacie Lawler at Timberlake Junior High in Spirit Lake.


The Coeur d'Alene School District's Rookie of the Year is Coeur d'Alene eSchool fifth-grade teacher Bri Barber.

Middle School Teacher of the Year is Lisa Barnett at Lakes. High School Teacher of the Year is Brittany Pfundheller at Lake City.


Courtesy photo

Coeur d'Alene eSchool fifth grade teacher Bri Barber is the Coeur d'Alene School District's Rookie of the Year.