Teacher trophy

Ashley Werkmeister wins the Secondary Teacher of the Year Award

Jonathan Dekleva, Spotlight Editor

English teacher Ashley Werkmeister is the secondary teacher of the year, according to the North Platte Public Schools Foundation.

Ashley Werkmeister has been an English teacher at NPHS for 7 years. “I know English isn’t everyone’s favorite, but I try to keep everything fresh and exciting for them,” Werkmeister said. “Being recognized for that was emotionally overwhelming.”

Mrs. Werkmeister supervises her class having a discussion over a book. (Jonathan Dekleva)

Senior Jaylee Sheets said she thinks that Werkmeister goes outside of being a teacher. “She wants to know what’s happening in your life, how she can help you,” Sheets said. “She gives really good advice for the work that you’re doing as well.” 

Werkmeister said balancing work and her life outside of school is difficult. “ I don’t want my students to feel like I’m not paying attention to them, so if they need help at night, I do try to check my email,” she said. “Recently, I’ve tried to have a separate schedule, because I have three small kiddos, with another one on the way.”

Senior Nathan Morris said  Werkmeister’s classes are flexible to  meet the students’ needs. “It is a very open and comfortable environment where everyone is free to share their ideas and interpretations of what we read and the classwork we are doing,” he said. 

Morris says that Werkmeister works hard to make sure everyone understands, especially if they ask for help. “She has impacted me by helping me get past my writer’s block,” he said.

Werkmeister says that she is grateful to others who influence her work. “I really just want to thank everybody who’s had an impact on me, who makes my day bright and happy, even when I may not be the brightest or the happiest, because we all have those days,” she said.

Senior Claire Tegtmeier has taken three classes with Werkmeister, and says that it isn’t like a dreary English class. “You’re actually involved, and it feels good to learn,” she said. “She’s never going to tell you that your opinion of something is wrong, like your view on how a book turns out.”

Werkmeister’s 2020 Teacher of the Year Award. It reads “North Platte Public Schools 2020 Teacher of the Year 6th – 12th Grade, Ashley Werkmeister”. (Photo Courtesy of Ashley Werkmeister)

Werkmeister has helped students outside of class as well. “She’s always made me feel like even when things are really tough in classes, and I’m getting really stressed out with school that I can still make it through what I’m involved in,” said Tegtmeier.

In these English classes, Werkmeister works to make sure all students can be respected, said Tegtmeier. “It’s a class where if you bring something to the table, and everyone looks at this something, and even if you don’t agree, you will still be respected,” she said.

A few hours after she got the award, Werkmeister was walking in the parking lot and hurt herself. “I tried to go ice skating in the parking lot, and it didn’t turn out well. No, I was walking outside and hurt my ankle,” said Werkmeister. “It was glorious.”

Morris thinks that dedication is one of the main reasons Werkmeister won this award. “I believe Mrs. Werkmeister deserves this award because she shows dedication to everyone around her, whether it be her fellow teachers or her students, and everything she does, she does it wholeheartedly,” he said.

Tegtmeier says that Werkmeister deserved this award because of how she teaches. “I think when you walk into her class and see everyone engaged, writing their papers and getting their work done, it shows that she can really teach people and help them understand.”