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Heidi Dresser sees the NCTE award as a testament to the excellent staff and students at NY Mills Schools.

NY Mills teacher wins awards

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New York Mills English teacher Heidi Dresser has won a National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) High School Teacher of Excellence Award.

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The recognition humbles one of the most loved teachers among students at NY Mills High School.

"I was completely surprised by this. It is a huge honor to be recognized by such a respected group of professionals," Dresser said.

"I was nominated by two-time past MCTE president Paul Carney, who is also my mentor at M State in Fergus Falls. After the MCTE board approved his nomination, he presented me with the award on Saturday, April 24 in Duluth at the MCTE Spring Conference.

Dresser will be flown to Orlando, Fla. for the NCTE conference in November to accept the award.

"I see the award as a testament to the excellent staff and students with which I work here at NYM Schools."

Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation (Great Lakes) is also recognizing Dresser as a College Access Champion.

Great Lakes said Dresser is dedicated to promoting college access to her students and changing their lives for the better through higher education.

"I believe an important part of my job is to instill in my students a confidence in their ability to succeed in academics," Dresser said. "My students should leave my building and enter a college environment with a foundation of solid skills on which to build their lives."

Dresser is one of 25 Minnesota award recipients who received a total of $125,000 as part of Great Lakes second annual College Access Champion Award program. This year's program sought applications from teachers, librarians, counselors, and administrators in the 414 high schools designated as serving low-income communities throughout Minnesota. As a College Access Champion, each award recipient received up to $5,000 applied as a full or partial payment of their outstanding federal student loans.

"The College Access Champion Award recognizes educators who make the biggest impact on student decisions to go to college," said Richard D. George, President and Chief Executive Officer of Great Lakes. "Our College Access Champions are passionate about opening the doors to higher education for students who grow up in less-privileged circumstances or who may be the first in their family to attend college. This award honors those who are building brighter futures for their students and their communities--and continuing to move Minnesota forward."

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