Excellent Educator: Stillwater High School’s Joanna Tom

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – You know you’re doing what you love if you’d do it without getting paid.

One Twin Cities educator is known to step up without asking for anything in return.

Joanna Tom at Stillwater Area High School gets paid a paraprofessional wage. She comes in early and stays late in order to ensure learning in students, never once asking to be paid for the overtime.

Her dedication to putting students first is what makes her this week’s Excellent Educator.

“Joanna, in a nutshell, is basically an exceptional educator and person all around. She is intelligent, compassionate, dedicated and very giving,” Allison McGinnis, Tom’s co-worker, said.  “Students see her not only as an excellent resource for academic assistance, but they have come to know her as someone they can trust with personal issues.”

“She’s more of a person-to-person than student-to-teacher,” Allison Wood, one of her students, said.

Tom also leads the district’s American Indian education program. She applied for and received a $34,000 grant for the district.

Part of the funding is used to identify American Indian student achievement and areas of need and to foster positive self-identity in American Indian students.

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