2022 Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to the 2022 Detroit Lakes Teacher of the Year Nominees!

Mindy Nielsen, Kellie Wolf, Shea Thorwaldsen, Cara Meyers, Jessica Johnson, Rob Ullyott.

Mindy Nielsen was drawn as the 2022 DL Teacher of the Year.


Cara Meyers

Cara deserves the Teacher of the Year award because she makes an effort to get to know all ALC students, even though she does not teach all of them. Each of our students knows Cara and has a relationship with her, even if they don't have one of her classes. She works had to form a relationship with each student and is very supportive of them. She is also a great co-worker, and helps staff often and is also supportive of them too. She is just overall, such a rock star and asset to our school!

Middle School

Jessica Johnson

Jessica is an outstanding teacher and advocate. The relationships she builds with kids are genuine and lasting. She is so positive and plays a vital role in the success of her students.Jess works with EBD middle school students and has such a neat understanding of their needs to be successful. She will do whatever it takes to allow the best learning environment for each of her students. Her patience and willingness to go the extra step does not go unnoticed by her colleagues, but also, of course, her students. We are beyond lucky to have her in our district. Jessica Johnson is the best, simply put. If you didn't know, she works with the EBD students at the middle school, which basically makes her a saint. She makes our building a better place through her dedication to students and her creative teaching approaches. Jessica can connect with, communicate, and reach even the hardest of students. She never seems flustered or even negative. She handles everything with grace. She's compassionate, she's organized, and she's thorough in all that she does. Her kids come out of her room with life experiences, life skills, and empathy for others. DLMS is so lucky to have Jess Johnson and all she does for our students.


Kellie Wolf

Last year Kellie took on the challenging task of being the distance learning teacher for her grade. She worked very hard at providing quality lessons and at building important relationships with her students. In fact when some of her students came back for in person learning they wanted to continue with Mrs. Wolf. She offered to have lunch with those students. This year Kellie took on the challenging task of being the talented and gifted STEAM Teacher. She works well with colleagues asking them important questions on how they wanted her to teach their shared students. She provides very engaging lessons and students are exciting about the new learning opportunities. Some of my students have shared how excited they are to be going to Mrs. Wolf's class! She is kind, hard working, engaging, and works tirelessly at providing a quality program for our Roosevelt Students.


Mindy Nielsen

There are not many people who have the patience and grace with students that Mindy has. She is always calm, cool, and collected even in difficult situations. Another reason why she is deserving, and one of the things I admire most about her, is that even though she has taught for like 10+ years (😉), she’s not the type of person who stays within her comfort zone. She’s constantly trying to learn about new ways of teaching, using technology, and so much more. She does her own research when it comes to these types of things as well and is always willing to share what she has found and answer questions. She is an encyclopedia of knowledge in so many different areas. She’s also just such a positive person to be around and a great contributor to the culture that we’re so lucky to have here at Rossman!

High School

Rob Ullyott

Rob does an outstanding job connecting with students. I continually hear wonderful, positive comments from students about how great of a teacher he is and how much they love his class. He gets students involved with each other and creates relationships while making History class fun! Whether they are doing joke of the day, nominating each other for student of the month or he is trying to convince them to go out for wrestling...they love the atmosphere in Mr. Ullyott's classroom. I also can't forget to mention the yard stick shenanigans he is known for. He is a respected role model and a great teacher! Rob is one of the most encouraging and supportive teachers in our building. He has jumped into the BARR process at the high school this year and is working every day to support his students. Kids want to take his AP US History class because they know it will be engaging and a good class experience. They know it will be more work, but because of the atmosphere in his classroom they are ready to that work. Not only does he support students, he is an amazing collegue to work with. He serves on our building leadership team and is always 100% positive. He puts thought into topics and brings up questions that make the rest of us think about all sides of a situation. I believe he truly wants what is best for our building, students, and community. Every year he is one of our main teachers organizing our Veteran's day events. His excitement and energy is contageous. After his teaching career comes to an end, he could certainly go into public/motivational speaking. I know if I ever need anything from Rob it won't be an issue. He is always ready to help another person. I believe he comes to work each day trying to make it better than the day before.


Shea Thorwaldsen

Shea is flexible and has taken on new roles with a can-do attitude. She eloquently speaks for our department when needed. We can't spell "teamwork" without her! Shea is a leader in the ECSE department. She shows up every day with energy, passion and dedication for each child and family she serves. She is always willing to study, learn, and seek out the needed information that will allow her to be the best teacher she can be. She tells it like it is with honesty and integrity and is a wonderful supportive friend, mentor and partner to everyone in the department. Shea is a natural leader. She is a good communicator, listener and collaborator. She has a passion for our littlest learners that clearly shows in her fun, caring, gentle, empathetic, and respectful interactions. Shea often goes above and beyond to be our departments cheerleader. She organizes ordering Little Laker clothing for Lincoln Staff and can sometimes be responsible for uplifting messages around the building. She has taken on the role of PLC leader and she has also been the teacher for the blind and visually impaired--while going to school to get this licensure. Like so many of us in the last year and a half, she successfully managed quarantines, school closures and not being able to visit families in person. Shea is a great addition to the early childhood special education team and we are so happy she is here. "The Early Chidhood Special Education (ECSE) team is very fortunate to have Shea on our team! She has been part of this team for ~10 years and has worn many hats over the years. She started her career teaching 3-5 year old students requiring special education services at the Lincoln Education Center and Mahube Head Start. Over they years she as transitioned to serving Infants-Three year old children and their families. She is a PLC leader and has taken ownership and pride completing a coaching-based initiative for our infant/toddler's families. During the majority of Shea's teaching career, she has been enrolled in college! She has earned a variety of teaching credentials and earned her master's in special education in 2019. She currently working towards her blind and visually impaired BVI credential, serving students Pre-k to Grade 12. She is a true teacher at heart. She brings great knowledge, pizzazz, fun and a caring heart to Detroit Lakes Public Schools! "