By Kim Johnson

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Dan Estey may just be the very first teacher his young students at The Newman School Part of Talmud Torah of St. Paul have.

He says he likes to be the one to lay the foundation for them, to get them excited about school and learning.

It’s what makes Estey an Excellent Educator.

Ranging in age from 33 months to pre-K, the kids in Estey’s class are young, but he says he learns from them.

“I have a child who knows about super heroes, and they teach me about super heroes. I have a child that knows about dinosaurs, and they teach me about dinosaurs. So, I get to learn from a child every day,” he said.

He began his career 20 years ago after receiving training in Italy that he says opened his eyes.

“When I came back I realized we need to make a change in the early childhood,” he said. “I feel that it’s about the children, that it’s not always the teacher that is always giving a direct answer for something. If we want to find an answer to something, we’ll look at a book and we’ll find it together, so it’ll be co-learning.”

Estey teaches at a Jewish school, although he is not Jewish. He often has an assistant teacher in the classroom, who is from Israel and speaks Hebrew to the children.

But many times he is the one teaching them about Judaism.

“It’s part of the learning process,” Estey said. “To learn about the Jewish faith and holidays and the Jewish people, this school is built on a good community of people that’s welcoming to everyone.”

Kim Johnson


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