A Dresden teacher was honored for her work in the classroom by the Missouri Drug Abuse Resistance Education Officers Association.
Jami Kahle, 40, an 11-year teacher at the school, was named Educator of the Year at the organization’s annual conference.
Kahle said she was surprised when she learned about the award, and moved when she received a standing ovation at the conference.
“It was extremely touching for me and everything that I had to say in my acceptance speech paled,” she said.
Each year, the Missouri DARE Officers Association names an Educator of the Year based on nominations submitted by DARE officers in the state.
The winner, selected from the nomination essays, is then eligible for an international DARE Educator of the Year award.
Kahle was nominated by Pettis County Sheriff’s Deputy Kelly Simons.
“The thing I like the most about the program is that someone talks to the kids about good choices and it doesn’t have to be about drugs or alcohol, but about coping strategies,” Kahle said.
Kahle helps her students with the essay they must write to graduate the DARE program and shares her experiences.
She said she has been surprised by some of her students’ experiences involving drugs and alcohol.
“It’s been kind of educational on my part,” she said.
Kahle got into teaching because she wanted to help students the way teachers had helped her, particularly in high school.
“I had some great teachers in high school that if they hadn’t given me a chance, I wouldn’t have gone as far as I did with my education,” she said.
Simons, the DARE officer for the Pettis County Sheriff’s Department, said Kahle made her feel welcome when she first started with the program almost nine years ago.
“For a first-time dare officer, it's very intimidating and overwhelming ... and she was very warm and very welcoming. And she is always willing to help in the classroom,” said Simons.
Simons said she nominated Kahle because she works to help children be successful, not just in the classroom but throughout her life.
"She's very dedicated to her kids, and not just the kids in her classroom but any kid in the school," she said.
Kahle buys students school supplies, coats or anything they need, she said.
"Anytime throughout the year you go by her door, the kids' artwork is hanging outside the door. She believes in no student left behind, and she does that not just with the educational and state requirements” but outside the classroom as well, she said.
"She's very creative and good with the kids, and just an awesome teacher," Simons said.
Kahle said she didn’t know she was nominated for the award.
“I always wanted to help kids; I always wanted to make a difference. So I was really shocked when (Simons) called me this summer” to tell her about the award, she said. It was “totally humbling.”