2020 South Dakota Teacher of the Year named

A Harrisburg educator has been named the 2020 South Dakota Teacher of the Year.

Amanda Harris, a fourth-grade teacher at Endeavor Elementary in the Harrisburg School District, won this year's award.

Secretary of Education Ben Jones made the announcement Thursday evening at a banquet in Oacoma.

Harris has taught in the Harrisburg School District since 2013, according to the Dept. of Education. She has served on curriculum committees in her district and regularly presents at educator conferences. She has started several afterschool clubs at her school, including a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) club and stop-motion movie making club. She also helped start her school’s theater company.

A statewide panel of educators selected Harris from among five regional finalists. The other finalists were Jean Gunderson, K-6 Title reading, Elkton Elementary; Dina Vander Wilt, kindergarten, L.B. Williams Elementary (Mitchell); Nicole Dallman, third grade, Mobridge-Pollock Upper Elementary; and Penny Shuster Louks, eighth grade English language arts, Belle Fourche Middle School.

As recipient of the honor, Harris receives prizes including a $5,000 cash award from the West River Foundation and a $1,000 honorarium from the South Dakota Board of Regents to present a series of professional development seminars to aspiring teachers. In addition, Harris will represent South Dakota as a candidate for the National Teacher of the Year award.