A heartfelt moment was shared between those who attended the Amery Board of Education regular June meeting and there were also some misty eyes as the board recognized Amery High School teacher Derrick Meyer, the recipient of a 2020 Herb Kohl Foundation teacher Fellowship Award.
District Administrator Shawn Doerfler said there are 100 teacher recipients in the state of Wisconsin. This is the 30th year this award was been recognized in the state. “I can run through Derrick’s bio with the district, but we might be here a little longer than we would like to be. Rest assured, he spends a little bit of time doing Ag, a little bit time doing some FFA and a little time doing some Drivers Ed. We certainly want to recognize him because this is an exceptional thing,” said Doerfler.
Meyer said this is neat because he received the Herb Kohl Scholarship as a student as well. “I got it on both sides, which was really kind of a unique thing,” he said.
Meyer shared two of his former teachers had been Kohl teacher Fellowship award winners and it left an impact on him.
“I can think back to my favorite teachers in the whole world, Gwen Pickett my kindergarten teacher and my sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Fisher, both got it and it has always been a goal of mine to be just like them as they were some of my idols growing up, so it really is a true honor for me,“ said Meyer.
Meyer said he really needed to thank his family. “Thank you to my wife for being the backbone to our family and enabling me to do the things I do. I am a workaholic and she allows me to do that and our family really thrives because of her, so I want to make sure she gets the recognition she really deserves,” he said.
Meyer said he owed thanks to the administration of Amery Schools for allowing him to do the things he does. Meyer said, “I came from a school district where I was once written up because I took the kids outside to prune some trees around the school. I remember thinking it was not the kind of place where I wanted to work. I wanted to go to a place that allows me to help kids experience learning and Amery is the BEST at that.”
He said it is the only place he can think of that would allow him to train horses, landscape houses, have a green house and have all the animals at the school. He said, “How would you teach a small animals class without animals? It would be like teaching English without any books.”
He thanked Doerfler and High School Principal Josh Gould for allowing him to do the things he thinks are important and listening to his many “crazy ideas” as he is always thinking to the future of what he and the students could be doing.
Meyer's voice cracked with emotion when he said, “There are not many places you could do this. Not many places where you can live out your dreams, so thank you.”
Doerfer responded, “On a personal note, I can say the greatest pleasure I have ever had in education is the ability to work with teachers and other educators and Derrick is an example of that. I am going to say it, because the room is probably thinking it; we want to thank you on behalf of thousands of kids you have worked with in your time of education because they are the recipients of all of your hard work.”
Board member Char Glenna said, “I’ve known Derrick a long time. I have had four kids go through the program and I was an Ag teacher myself. We know how valuable those experiences are for our kids. There are truly kids who struggle having a place and Derrick really gives them a place to thrive, to shine and to have great careers. Some of these kids do not want to go on to post secondary education, some do, and that program gives all of those kids an opportunity to go as far as they want to go-either way they want to go.”