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State Teacher of the Year: Which local teacher received the honor?

Posted at 5:38 PM, May 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-02 18:38:33-04

DE PERE (NBC 26) — Bethany Counard, an eighth-grade English language arts teacher at West De Pere Middle School, received one of the highest teaching honors in Wisconsin: State Teacher of the Year.

  • The Department of Public Instruction presented Counard with the award in a surprise ceremony Thursday — in front of the entire student body and Counard's friends and family
  • Counard is one of five 2025 State Teachers of the Year across the state
  • State superintendent Dr. Jill Underly presented the award, and cited Counard's ability to connect with students inside and outside the classroom as a reason for her selection
  • Teachers of the year are selected from a pool of recipients of Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowships
  • Video shows the reaction of Counard and the student body when her award was announced

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

We're at West De Pere Middle School, where an English language arts teacher received one of the highest honors a teacher can receive here in the state of Wisconsin.

This was the reaction of the student body, and Bethany Counard herself, as Counard was named a 2025 Wisconsin teacher of the year in a surprise ceremony.

She has taught eighth grade ELA at West De Pere Middle for the past six years.

Counard was shocked to see her family and friends in attendance for her special moment.

"Teaching is such a team profession," Counard said. "I felt so overwhelmed to hear my name. It was overwhelming."

State superintendent Jill Underly said Counard's commitment to a student-led environment in and out of the classroom was noticed by students and her peers.

Counard is one of just five teachers statewide to receive the honor.

The state superintendent reminds everyone that next week is Teacher Appreciation Week, so be sure to thank a teacher like Ms. Counard next week.