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2018 Dennis Lesh Teacher of the Year awarded to Rhonda Westerhaus

06 June 2018
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Each year, Pratt Community College awards a faculty member the Dennis Lesh Foundation Teacher Recognition Award at commencement. The prestigious award is based on nominations from students, faculty and staff.

Rhonda Westerhaus, education instructor, won the award this year.

“Rhonda is an extremely optimistic and positive person in everything she does,” said Carol Ricke, business instructor. “She shows a genuine concern for her students. She’s always working hard to make sure they can be successful in and out of the classroom.”

Westerhaus is the sponsor of Club International and is known to support students in many ways. She attends athletic events, academic ceremonies, and assists with student activities every chance she gets. She is also known for her enthusiasm and caring nature in the classroom.

“Rhonda is a busy person that really enjoys helping out,” said Ricke. “Students are at the top of her list to support. She is the first one to provide help to students when they need something. The support is in both, in and out of the classroom. I can’t think of anyone on our campus that provides as much support to our students than Rhonda.”

Westerhaus has spent the last 26 years teaching. She loves putting ideas together and helping students connect those ideas. She believes disinterest from the students is the most challenging part of her job, but enjoys coming up with ways to make her subjects more intriguing for the students.

Westerhaus is a member of the Stafford and Kingman High Schools’ advisory committees. She is currently the co-chair on the Faculty Assessment Learning Committee (FALC) and a member of the American Association of Teachers of German, which provided her a trip to Germany to improve her proficiency in the language last summer. She has also served on the Foundation board and Auction Committee for many years.

“I am very appreciative to the students and faculty who nominated me,” said Westerhaus. “It is an honor to receive this award.”

The Dennis Lesh Foundation Teacher Recognition Award is awarded annually to a Pratt Community College teacher who is recognized as an excellent teacher, student advocate and exhibits general care and concern for the student body. The recipient is presented $1000 during commencement to be used to enhance the recipient’s skills and abilities.