2017 MN ABE Teacher of the Year
Ann Dziengel, longtime teacher with the Thief River Falls Adult Basic Education program, was recently named the 2017 ABE Teacher of the Year. The award was presented on August 17th at the statewide ABE Summer Institute Conference’s Annual ABE awards ceremony in St. Cloud.
Ann began her teaching career in September of 1989 and recently completed her 28th year as a teacher with the Northwest Service Cooperative Adult Basic Education program. Ann worked for several years teaching part time in the communities of Hallock, Karlstad, Warren and Greenbush. In June of 2001, Ann became the sole ABE teacher in Thief River Falls. What started out as a small classroom with one instructor serving few dozen learners per year, has now grown into a very busy classroom located on the campus of Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls, with a staff of two teachers who consistently enroll and instruct more than 100 learners each year in all areas of ABE, from the beginning levels of ABE to GED and college prep, from non-speaking ESL to preparing for the U.S. Citizenship exam. Although it is difficult to quantify, it is estimated that Ann has served more than 3000 adult learners in her career in ABE, resulting in literally hundreds of new U.S. Citizens, GED graduates, and college enrollees.
In a letter of support, Ann’s student, Tamar wrote, “Ann has this charisma for teaching (I guess that is why she has done it for so many years). She is very approachable. She comes to us (students) with the friendliest attitude and stays put until we understand what we are learning.” She pends the extra time, if needed, to make sure we comprehend the topic we are working on.”