Caitlyn Graf, a math instructor at Milbank High School, has been named South Dakota Region 1 Teacher of the Year. Graf received the surprise announcement today along with her classroom of students.
Dr. Joe Graves, South Dakota Secretary of Education; Justin Downes, Superintendent of the Milbank School District; and Amanda Hargreaves, an assessment specialist with the South Dakota Department of Education and South Dakota Teacher of the Year in 2021, informed her of the accolade. In September, she will advance to the South Dakota Teacher of the Year competition.
Upon learning of her award, Graf said, “I am incredibly honored to have received this award. I am blessed to work with such amazing co-workers and students. It seems surreal”
She then recalled, “I used to joke with Mr. Bloem about moving back to Milbank to teach, and now here I am. I never dreamed I would earn an award like this, though. I hope he and my former teachers know how much of an impact they had and still have on my life.”
“This award really is about the students though,” she continued. “I’m so grateful for my students and how wonderful they are. Their effort in the classroom this year was incredible, and I’m so proud of them.”
MHS Principal Dan Snaza congratulated Graf by saying, “Caitlyn has a drive to relentlessly work for her students. Emotionally, she’s all in! Like so many of our staff, she realizes positive relationships are key to student success.”
Graf was selected as Milbank’s 2023 Teacher of the Year in February. (Click here to Read the accompanying story.)
Graf (Wojahn) graduated from MHS and started her teaching career by attending Valley City University in Valley City, North Dakota. She received her education degree there and then taught two years at both Aberdeen Central and Oakes, North Dakota. After being hired by the Milbank School District in 2016, she earned her master’s degree from Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell.
Graf’s husband, Jackson, is a math teacher at Milbank Middle School. They have two daughters, Mona and Maggie.
Photos: Top- Mrs. Graf with her junior and senior math students. Bottom -Justin Downes, Dr. Joe Graves, Caitlyn Graf and Amanda Hargreaves.
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