English teacher receives annual Gold Star award

Jill Dally/Business Manager

English teacher Diane Flaherty was one of the 10 recently chosen as a Gold Star Teacher from over 900 applicants in Black Hawk County.

“I was totally shocked. I know my face turned six shades of red, and I teared up. My 7th period had no idea what was going happening. I was very humbled by the honor, considering how many wonderful teachers we have here and in the county,” Flaherty said.

Flaherty had no idea that she had won the award. Students and teachers alike believe she is a very deserving recipient.

“She puts so much time and effort into everything she does whether it’s involvement in the food drive, the numerous senior leadership activities or church. She always puts her whole heart and soul into everything she does. I know I can always go to Mrs. Flaherty if I ever need anything. I don’t think there is a teacher who deserves this award more,” senior Alice Miller said.

Flaherty’s involvement proves to be just another facet of her life that has helped her to bond with students and ultimately win the Gold Star award.

“Diane Flaherty is one of the best teachers I have ever seen.  Diane cares about students, sets high expectations and really goes the extra mile for every single student.  Her work with Senior Leadership just highlights her incredible work ethic and her commitment to students. Having hundreds of papers to grade on a weekly basis gives her plenty to do, but Diane volunteers her time to spend with senior leadership planning activities and developing strong relationships with each of the members. Some teachers are extremely intelligent and know their subject matter better than anyone. Some teachers are hard working and put in lots of additional hours. Some teachers form strong bonds with students and really connect with kids on a personal level. And then there is Diane Flaherty, she is all of those things wrapped up into an unforgettable laugh and rosy red cheeks. I am honored to work with her and proud to be her nephew,” counselor Ryan Flaherty said.

Administration believed there was no better teacher to win this award and were very honored to be working with Flaherty.

“Mrs. Flaherty has a huge heart and cares about helping others before herself. She is the first person to step forward for a new challenge or opportunity in our professional development process. She always leads by example and inspires those around her with her positive attitude and work ethic,” principal Dr. Rich Powers said.

The Gold Star Award finds quiet role models among the crowd. The award aims to find teachers who make an impact on their student’s learning process and on their lives. They look for teachers who are committed to their students, their school and their teaching. They find teachers who love their job and can go to work everyday knowing they are making a difference.
“I still love teaching. What other vocation can you do something different each and every day? When I see a student who has been struggling suddenly understand, that is like no other feeling in the world.  Each day is a new challenge, and I have learned so much about myself from my students and other teachers,” Flaherty said.

Flaherty said she teared up when she found out and was honored.

“Mrs. Flaherty does not teach because she has to teach.  Mrs. Flaherty teaches because it is in her heart to do so, a heart that beats with vigor, enthusiasm and grace.  She truly is one of those rare people you will find on this earth that gives everything and asks for nothing,” English teacher Troy Slater said.

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