Head of the Class: Woodson’s Alisha Galle honored as Austin’s 2019 Teacher of the Year

Published 9:24 am Wednesday, November 14, 2018

As Alisha Galle walked into Woodson Kindergarten Center’s gymnasium on Tuesday morning, she was greeted by the cheers from a couple hundred kindergartners and staff. After a moment of shock, the realization sank in and happy tears flowed down Galle’s face: She was named Austin’s 2019 Teacher of the Year.

David Brown, chairman of the Teacher of the Year Committee, presented Galle with her plaque in front of her students, family and fellow teachers. She also received a small gift made of wood that read: “It takes a big heart to teach the littlest minds.”

“Mrs. Galle is the best teacher in the entire city of Austin,” Brown told the kindergarteners. “For the rest of her teaching career, she’s going to be known as the 2019 Austin Teacher of the Year. Pretty cool, huh?”

Woodson Kindergarten Center teacher Alisha Galle becomes emotional after walking into a surprise assembly to announce that she is Austin Public Schools Teacher of the Year.

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For 13 years, Galle has been a kindergarten teacher at Woodson—it was the only place she knew during her career—and has cared for the youngest and littlest learners by creating a strong foundation to build on their educational experiences. Receiving the designation as Teacher of the Year came as a complete shock to Galle and, she was still in disbelief that she was recognized as one of the best educators districtwide.

“I was very shocked and surprised,” Galle said. “There’s so many amazing educators in Austin. I’m very honored to be chosen.”

Colleagues raved about Galle’s commitment to education as well as her work ethic and desire to put students first in all aspects of her teaching.

“She (Alisha) is a phenomenal part of our team,” said Principal Jill Rollie. “She is very deserving of this award. I know that the entire staff is happy for her to receive this acknowledgement. Alisha’s a team player and collaborative, a great support to colleagues and is very student centered.”

Woodson Kindergarten Center students watch on after Alisha Galle was named Austi Public Schools Teacher of the Year.

There were 27 nominations for this year’s award, according to Brown. What made Galle stand out amongst the applications was her dedication to creating the secure foundation for learners in the Austin Public Schools District by tracing the success back to its roots: kindergarten.

“You can tell by the students and staff as soon as you walked into the room the love that they have for her,” Brown added. Next up for Galle will be her submission by the committee to be in the running for the Minnesota 2019 Teacher of the Year Award.

What Galle loved most about teaching kindergarten was seeing her students grow up and seeing them develop. She also shared that there was hardly ever a day when a teacher at Woodson would walk through the doors in a bad mood.

“These students have a hug and a smile for you,” she beamed. “There is never a day that’s exactly the same.”