Mike Sommerness, Pequot Lakes middle level and high school band teacher, was named 2013 Teacher of the Year by his peers on Tuesday, May 28.
Following the announcement, three students played a tune from the balcony over the cafeteria where staff gathered at Eagle View Elementary School.
Karen Jacobson, choir teacher at Pequot Lakes High School who works alongside Sommerness, said the school is “privileged to have a teacher of his caliber.”
“He not only knows and loves his craft, but he willingly shares that skill and that love with each student,” Jacobson said.
Andrea Besnett is the school’s classroom music teacher who also works with Sommerness.
“Mike uses music to teach kids about life,” she said. “The love that he has for kids makes those lessons come easily through him.”
Sommerness has been teaching at Pequot Lakes for nine years. He works with many different ensemble and community groups, including jazz band, jazz combo, Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts music, band in the park and more.
Other nominees for Teacher of the Year included Allison Reigel, first-grade teacher; Nikki Stark, high school math and chemistry teacher; and Megan Zierden, first-grade teacher.