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Porath named Perham-Dent Teacher of the Year

Diana Porath and her husband, Deland. Submitted photo1 / 2
Diana Porath is Perham-Dent School District's 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year. Submitted photo2 / 2

Diana Porath has been named Perham-Dent School District's Teacher of the Year.

Porath has worked for the district since 1978, and has been teaching math at the Perham Area Learning Center (ALC) for the past nine years.

"She's an amazing woman and educator, as many of her colleagues would agree," said Jace Hennagir, director of the ALC. "In her nine years at the ALC, she's continued to positively impact the lives of students. Most come to us 'hating' math, but they leave with a diploma and a good understanding of mathematical concepts. What's more, they all say that Diana was their favorite teacher while at the ALC."

Every November, the Perham Education Association nominates and votes for the district's Teacher of the Year. The executive committee of the association has stated that Porath was selected not only because of her own stellar career as an educator, but also as a representative of the many outstanding teachers employed at the ALC and throughout the district.

"Several teachers were nominated this year, each and every one worthy of the award," the committee stated. "Diana was selected to represent all of the dedicated, hard-working teachers who go above and beyond what is expected of them every day. Diana has a big impact on many students' lives, and we wanted to recognize that."

"Diana Porath is one of the hardest working educators I have ever had the pleasure to teach with," said retired Perham High School math instructor Tom Spencer. "Diana is always thoroughly prepared and willing to put in extra time to help her students achieve their goals. A true professional in every way."

Porath graduated from South St. Paul High School in 1965, and went on to obtain a degree from the University of Minnesota in Mankato. She majored in math with a physical education minor. She has a lifetime certificate in teaching, something that's no longer available to teachers. Today, teachers need to renew their license every five years.

She graduated from college in December of 1969, and started teaching in January at Sioux Valley School near the Minnesota-Iowa border. She taught there until 1971, when she moved to the Perham area with her husband, Deland. The couple has two daughters: Illene and Lois.

Reflecting on her career, Porath said, "I guess I always wanted to be a teacher. It is such a good feeling to be able to explain a concept (especially in math) and see the lights go on when a student understands it. I guess I learned that from my uncle, who taught math at Mankato. He had a way of explaining to me, which I picked up on and always tried to put things in a way that my students could understand or relate to."

When she's not teaching, Porath explores a wide variety of hobbies and interests. She likes to fish, garden, knit and crochet; she plays the guitar and organ at church; and she has a black belt in Taekwondo.

As Perham-Dent's 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year, Porath could choose to compete in Education Minnesota's statewide Teacher of the Year program, the state's oldest and most prestigious recognition program to honor excellence in education.

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