Cyndi Jakel, the fifth and sixth grade reading and language arts teacher at Sleepy Eye Elementary School will bid farewell on Friday.
Recently she accepted a position as a literacy coach at Jefferson Elementary School in New Ulm where she lives with her family.
Cyndi began her career not as a teacher, but as a social worker. For three years she worked in a tutorial center and realized that she loved learning and teaching.
She went back to school and received her Master’s degree in curriculum. Her first teaching job was in Sleepy Eye in 1995. She was hired as a fourth grade teacher.
However, her husband’s employment required her to move and she had to leave her teaching contract with Sleepy Eye Elementary School behind.
She then taught first and sixth grade at Maple Lake Elementary School until her husband’s job brought them closer to home. She applied for an opening at Sleepy Eye Elementary School and has been teaching fifth and sixth grade reading and language arts for the past eight years.
In 2009, Cyndi was nominated by the Sleepy Eye Eistrict as Teacher of the Year locally. That same year, she was a finalist as Teacher of the Year at the state level. While teaching in Maple Lake during her absence from Sleepy Eye, she was also nominated by her peers for Leadership in Teaching.
In November of 2011, Cyndi was the recipient of the Golden Apple Award presented by KEYC TV Channel 12.
“My favorite part of being here has been connecting with students and helping them grow as learners,” Cyndi said. “I have truly felt privileged to work with a phenomenal staff here in Sleepy Eye.”
Cyndi said the hardest part of leaving is saying goodbye, adding that New Ulm is not that far away and she plans to stay in touch.
As for advice she may have for students, she said,
“Challenge yourself to be the best person you can be, find your passion and make a difference. And of course, read, read, read!”
The Sleepy Eye Public School board accepted Cyndi’s resignation effective on Friday, Jan. 18.