Denfeld News

May 5, 2010
Duluth News Tribune

East High School teacher wins Gold Star award
By Peter Passi

Cheryl Lien, a Duluth East High School teacher, was named the winner of the 2010 Goldfine Gold Star Teacher Award on tonight.

East Principal Laurie Knapp described Lien as a tremendous agent of positive change at her school, helping to create a welcoming environment and inspiring amazing school spirit.

“Cheryl builds relationships with her students. She gets to really know them, and they know she cares about them,” said Knapp.

In addition to her social studies teaching duties, Lien has served as a Knowledge Bowl coach, Student Council adviser, assembly coordinator/adviser, member of the academic committee and staff development secretary.

Lien described her job as rewarding.

“Teaching gives me a lot more back than I could ever give,” she said.

In all, seven educators were nominated for the award, and Superintendent Keith Dixon said selecting a winner is always tough.

“Simply being nominated for this award is a tremendous honor,” he said. “These are the best of the best.”

Other nominees for this year’s award included Holly Bowen-Bailey from Woodland Middle School, Peggy Ehlert of the Secondary Technical Center, Laura LaFontaine of Denfeld High School, Susan Solin of Morgan Park Middle School, Deb Wendling of Central High School and Dani Westholm of the Unity Alternative Learning Center.

The honor is accompanied by a cash award of $5,000, which was presented by Holly Sampson, president of the Duluth Area Community Foundation. She invoked the memory of one of the award’s founders.

“In the words of Monnie Goldfine, this is a check that has no strings attached. You are free to use it in any way you choose,” said Sampson.
But Lien said some of the money already is spoken for, as she had a standing agreement with students to buy pizza for them in the event she won the prize.

While Lien thanked the selection committee for the personal honor, she said the very existence of the annual award speaks well of the city.

“What it says is that Duluth believes in education, and that’s a message that’s really important,” she said. “We all know education is the solution to a lot of problems in our community.”

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