MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This week’s Excellent Educator involves a lot of surprises. Not only do we barge in on her classroom camera rolling, but we brought some unexpected faces with us.
There are a lot of people who love Mrs. Karen Pappas at Four Season A+ Elementary in St. Paul. For nearly three decades she has cared deeply about each one of her 1st grade students.
“I love my kids and it’s about them what can I say,” Karen Pappas said.
The party is set, a cake ready to be sliced, signs of congratulations on the wall. Current and former co-workers stay hidden ready to surprise their colleague.
“We knew when we were gathering around today we weren’t going to see her if her kids are there because she is with them at all times, she just really wants the best for her first graders and she does that every day of her career,” said Joan Rourke, a former co-worker.
This week’s Excellent Educator’s biggest fans – her husband, son and daughter – are even in on the surprise and have seen her dedication first-hand.
“Her lesson plans are always on dining room table, it’s the first thing you have to clean off the table because she’s always working hard,” said Jon Pappas, Karen Pappas’ son.
Her daughter, Anna Pappas added, “She just won’t stop, I asked her about retirement and she said ‘hmm I don’t think so’.”
Karen Pappas’ love for first graders hasn’t wavered over the past 29 years she’s been teaching.
“At the beginning we start with these fresh little minds and by the end they’re independent little thinkers and they blow your mind,” she said.
She teaches at the school she helped create 18 years ago. Four Seasons A + is an integrated arts elementary school that values music, theater and dance.
“They tap into something that brings their confidence up, say you can’t read but you can succeed in dance, you come back and say I can to dance, I can do reading, I can to do music I can attack math,” she said. “It works, it really does.”