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Three teachers honored with local 'Star Excellence' awards

Three teachers were presented Star Excellence Awards from the Education Foundation of Hudson during the 2008 Senior Recognition Awards Night at Hudson High School Wednesday, May 14.

The three winners were Cheryl Klanderman, Dave Grambow and Murlona Austrum.

Klanderman is a first-grade teacher at Hudson Prairie Elementary; Grambow is a special education teacher at Rock Elementary and will be the principal of Willow River Elementary this fall. Austrum is a retired teacher having taught first and second grades at Houlton Elementary and North Hudson Elementary.

The Education Foundation is a community-based, private organization that provides financial support for innovative educational programs in both public and private schools in Hudson.

Foundation President Doug Stohlberg presented the Star Excellence Awards.

"Tonight's winners were selected among many deserving teachers and staff members nominated by parents and students -- those on the receiving end of the teaching profession," Stohlberg said.

Each winner received an engraved vase and a check for $3,000.

Austrum is a retired elementary teacher who taught school for a total of 33 years, including 15 years in the Hudson School District, teaching first- and second-grade classes at both Houlton Elementary and North Hudson Elementary.

"Known for her caring attitude and top-notch teaching style, she gave 100 percent to every student, every class and every project in which she has been involved," Stohlberg said. "Austrum is known as a caring and dedicated teacher who devoted countless extra hours during her career to make sure every student succeeded.

Austrum, who retired in 2002, is married to David, and they have three adult children, Kristin, Kara and Kael.

Grambow is an elementary teacher who has been a part of the Hudson School District for 13 years at Rock Elementary. He taught third and fifth grades and now works in special education. Grambow was recently promoted and will be principal of Willow River Elementary this fall.

"Dave is a dedicated teacher who has succeeded in the classroom with each and every challenge he has faced," Stohlberg said. "He now touches the lives of students and families with special needs and goes out of his way to find ways for each child to succeed. He teaches children of various learning levels that anything is possible."

Grambow and his wife, Lori, have three children, Lindsey, 17, Lance, 12, and Lauryn, 8.

Klanderman is an elementary teacher at Hudson Prairie Elementary. She has taught 15 years total, with six years in Hudson -- first kindergarten and now first grade.

"Described as creative, loving and patient, this winner also dedicates much of her spare time to her students," Stohlberg said. "She is a sincere and caring individual who has the best interest of each student at heart.

"She demonstrates outstanding values and is described as a 'great example of what a teacher should be.' She sets expectations and provides the opportunities for students to be successful."

Klanderman and her husband, Mark, have three children, Emily, 16, Andy, 14, and Bethany, 12.

In addition to Stohlberg, foundation board members are Dr. Ron Bernth, Nola Gehn, Clarence Malick, Jodell Krause, Vickie Harris, Arnie Fett, Bob Benoy and Marion Schultz. Steven Keller is the organization's part-time executive director.

In addition to the Star Excellence Award, the foundation oversees a number of programs that benefit students in local schools. Among them are Star Grants, Star Initiative Grants, Student Strength Grants, Connections Grants and the Raider Pride Alumni program. The foundation typically funds innovative programs that would not be included in a school's normal budgeting process.

The foundation has supported local education with approximately $960,000 in funding since its inception in 1990.