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High school math teacher Talley named FF Teacher of the Year

Published 11:16am Monday, November 19, 2012

Fergus Falls Public Schools celebrated American Education Week on Wednesday by announcing Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the Year. Marsha Talley, a Kennedy Secondary School math teacher, was awarded Teacher of the Year. Joan Helgeson was awarded Support Staff of Year.

The selection process for Teacher of the Year involves teachers nominating their peers. Those that are nominated then complete a short questionnaire. Teachers then vote for who they think deserves the honor.

“Overall, my favorite engaging activities usually involve movement, art, real-world applications, or projects that incorporate multiple mathematical ideas resulting in a final product for the students,” said Talley.

Talley’s peers have said she works hard to engage her students in learning a sometimes challenging subject — math. Her creativity in her lessons involve students being active almost daily. One example is in her geometry classes where students’ homework is to watch a short recording, and then follows up with in-class activities to reinforce the lesson. Traditional homework is done during the class period, giving Talley the opportunity to evaluate individual needs and offer assistance to those who are having difficulty. Her enthusiasm is admired by her peers.

“I am so pleased that teachers think so highly of me,” said Talley. “It’s quite the honor.”

Talley has been teaching for 17 years, five of which have been in Fergus Falls. She holds a BA in math education from the University of Northern Iowa and master of education from Viterbo University.

Talley’s philosophy for teaching is to remain positive, keep the students active, infuse with enthusiasm, be creative, try new strategies, share the love of teaching.

Secretary Joan Helgeson is often called “the face of McKinley School.”

Helgeson is known to greet young and old warmly, with a smile and a laugh, as they enter the school and her office. Her peers say she has an amazing ability to accomplish the impossible with the many tasks that fall her way. Her work ethic, sense of humor and skills in building relationships with students, staff and parents were some of the factors that garnered Helgeson the Support Staff of the Year recognition.

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