teacher of the year

Teacher of the Year — Charlene Hinrichs, St. Francis Xavier Catholic School


We are pleased to announce this year’s Nola Family Teacher of the Year, a dedicated professional who cares for the children in her class as she would her own, who is everything to them, nine months at a time.

She makes teaching toddlers look easy, while it is anything but. She was born for this life and loves every minute. Congratulations! 

Charlene Hinrichs, Pre-K 2 Teacher, St. Francis Xavier Catholic School  

 I nominate Charlene Hinrichs as teacher of the year. She is a career teacher, having taught and worked in early childhood education since high school. It is what she was born to do.

Her job doesn’t get recognized by achievement tests and often not by people of other professions.  She is a professional educator for more than 20 students of the most vulnerable and crucial age.

She goes to work, so other people can.  It is a challenge, no doubt.  

People outside of the classroom often make comments to her about how she “has her hands full” or how they couldn’t do what she does.

 It is wild to imagine that some parents find it hard to run errands or go out to dinner with two children, and she gracefully accomplishes so many things with a full class and then goes home with enough energy for her four children. 

She is so selfless and full of love for what she does, sometimes she can’t see the view of others. Her heart is fuller than her hands.  

What makes her stand out from other teachers is her boundless energy and endless patience.

She takes the work of two-year-olds very seriously, and matches her love and playfulness with the important work of language skills, potty training, motor skills, and social and emotional development.

She is dedicated to her work, spending endless hours making memory books, planning little surprises and making her classroom fun.  

Her students go home and show off what they’ve learned to their moms and dads, and tell them all about Ms. Charlene, because she becomes their everything for the majority of the day.

With early bedtimes, she knows their day at school IS their whole day, and she is there to hold who needs to be held, kiss boo-boos and be an example of kindness in the world.  

She does all of this valuable work knowing that in a few years they hardly recognize her in the school yard, when once they needed her so dearly.

They will not remember the words to the silly songs or the special holiday activities, but they will know they were loved by Ms. Charlene.

One of her role models is Mother Teresa, and Charlene is mine. 

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