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Helmut Schmidt, Published February 05 2013

Horizon’s Karen Taylor named Moorhead Teacher of Year

MOORHEAD – If Karen Taylor gets the chance, she’ll make literacy a top priority for Minnesota.

“Literacy is a huge issue for me,” Moorhead School District’s 2013 Teacher of the Year said on Tuesday.

Research shows that students who don’t read, write and communicate well are at greater risk of dropping out, the eighth-grade Horizon Middle School language arts teacher said.

“We need to do a lot more for kids who are not reading at grade level,” said Taylor as she prepared for her first class of the day.

“Sometimes, you have to go get them,” she said.

The 43-year-old Oakport Township woman is in her eighth year of teaching in the Moorhead district. She started teaching in 1995 in the West Fargo School District.

“It’s just an incredible honor to be honored by your peers,” Taylor said.

Her bosses are impressed with how she teaches her students and her peers.

Jeremy Larson, Horizon’s assistant principal, said Taylor helps with staff development at Horizon and Moorhead High School, and is a mentor for young teachers.

“Karen is a very good choice. She’s very dedicated,” Larson said. “She’s a good resource for us to have as far as overall staff development.”

Superintendent Lynne Kovash is impressed with how Taylor connects with her students.

“The thing that I’ve noticed with her is the way that she can engage her students. … I think she has a wonderful way of doing that,” Kovash said.

“I think she’s a great representative, really showing the power of teaching and that connection to students,” Kovash said.

Taylor has a bachelor’s degree in English and education from Minnesota State University Moorhead and is working on a master’s degree in K-12 reading at Minnesota State University Mankato.

She loves teaching at the middle school level.

“I enjoy the enthusiasm and the potential” of the students, Taylor said. “They’re kind of embarking on the rest of their lives. They’re enthusiastic and adventurous and they make me laugh.”

Taylor is eligible to be the state Teacher of the Year. That honor will be announced May 5.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

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