Wendy Hoffmeister, best teacher, believes in her algebra students at Middle Park High
Just about every incoming student gets a math class from Wendy Hoffmeister, the algebra teacher at Middle Park High School.
“I call them my ‘little freshmen,’ even though some of them are taller than me,” she said with a laugh.
Named Best Teacher in this year’s Best of Grand, Hoffmeister has been teaching for 31 years. She went to college to be a teacher and has taught in New York, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Texas and now Colorado.
She first came to Middle Park High School in 1997 and taught there through 2000, before her husband’s job forced the couple to move. But they came back to Granby in 2014, and Hoffmeister has been in the same teaching position ever since.
Hoffmeister cites her role models as the reason she got into teaching. Choking up with tears, she recalled the coaches, coworkers and teachers who brought her down this path.
“I still, 31 years later, get caught up,” she said. “They believed in me for who I was then and that’s what I try to do with all these kids.
“You know, ‘I believe in you, in who you are now — not what you’re gonna be someday because you’re gonna be something great someday — but right now. You’re all awkwardness and with all this stuff you’re going through; I believe in you right now.’”
Algebra’s not an easy subject for many students. For Hoffmeister, the most rewarding part of her job is helping those students through some of their challenges.
“Kids sometimes have a real mindset about math, especially when they get to this level,” she said. “We can work on a concept and work on a concept, and then I will see it. It is visible when they get it, and what was once a struggle is now a success.”
Despite spending her career teaching the same subject, Hoffmeister constantly challenges herself to improve on it. One way she did that was by earning a National Board Certification, a voluntary advanced teaching credential that goes beyond state licensure.
It took her three years to go through the performance-based, peer-reviewed process to demonstrate her proven impact on student learning and achievement. Less than 3% of teachers nationwide are National Board certified.
“I am always trying to do what’s better for my students;I’m always trying to find a new way to do things,” Hoffmeister said.
Three other teachers at Middle Park are also National Board certified, and Hoffmeister thinks that speaks to the quality of the educators who surround her.
“I work with a lot of amazing people,” she said. “Through COVID and through fires and through everything, everybody deserves a ‘Best of award’ in my opinion.”
Along with her teaching, Hoffmeister is the advisor to the National Honors Society and Youth and Government club, which gives students an opportunity to write bills and try to get them passed over a week at the state capitol.
Extending her appreciation for Grand County, Hoffmeister said the local backing for the schools here is second to none. She highlighted all the community programs and businesses that lend a helping hand.
“Every aspect of everything, there’s somebody in our community that will support it,” she said. “That, to me, is just amazing.”
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