ANACONDA - An educator in Anaconda was given a special award for her dedication and hard work.
“And we cannot think of a person more deserving in the district than her,” said Anaconda Assistant Superintendent Dan Laughlin.
Denise Flachmeyer, with Lincoln Elementary in Anaconda, was awarded the 2022 Paraeducator of the Year by the state Office of Public Instruction’s Comprehensive System of Personnel Development division. The surprise announcement was made in the school’s gym recently.
“I was super shocked, I just can’t believe it. My family did a great job hiding it from me,” said Flachmeyer.
For the past 10 years, Flachmeyer works as a paraeducator by assisting teachers in classes with students with special needs. She said being honored like this is nice, but that’s not why she does her job.
“I love the kids and anything I can do for them to make their life better, to help them learn,” said Flachmeyer.
What do students think of her as a teacher?
“She’s the nicest teacher ever,” said one student.
What makes her such a great teacher?
“Anytime you have to be sad, she gives me a hug and makes me un-sad,” he said.
Flachmeyer is known never missing work and spending her own money for supplies.
“I know my own two kids worked with Denise when they were in elementary school and they still lover her to this day,” said CSPD Region IV Representative Sara Novak.
The work of paraeducators like Denise are invaluable to educators in classrooms like this all across the state.
“We couldn’t do all we do without the help and support of our paraprofessionals. They’re the backbone of our programs and schools, they are the boots on the ground, they often times don’t have breaks throughout the day, they’re attached to students, they work with students, they are the student’s safety net,” said Novak.