Liz Fritel’s experience growing up with younger twin siblings led to her interest in early childhood education.
“It was interesting how two children the same age from the same family were completely different. That is when I knew I wanted to learn more about how children grow and learn,” said Fritel, a kindergarten teacher at Probstfield Elementary and this year’s Probstfield Teacher of the Year.
Fritel earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Before coming to the district, she taught for two years at Our Redeemer Child Care Center in Moorhead and for three years in the preschool room at the Early Education Center at MSUM. Fritel has taught kindergarten at Probstfield Elementary for the past five years. She also serves on several committees and helped in planning the Minnesota Kindergarten Association Conference held in Moorhead in 2014-15.
According to Fritel, her personal belief about teaching young children is that every child has the potential to grow and learn.
“Each and every child has their own unique learning style,” she said. “We need to first recognize it and then teach to it. For some children, kindergarten is their first experience at being in a school setting. I try to make learning fun, engaging and challenging.”
“Liz’s passion of providing for the educational needs of every student is backed by strong knowledge of best practices in education, particularly in the area of primary grades,” said Robin Grooters, principal of Probstfield Elementary.
Fritel believes building strong relationships is important to establish trust among her students.
“I want them to play and explore the social and emotional aspects of themselves,” Fritel said. “When children feel safe and secure with themselves and their surroundings then the learning begins. Children will believe in themselves and start to take risks as learners.”
According to Grooters, Fritel has a positive attitude and lifts the spirits of those around her.
“Liz’s enthusiastic approach to her profession is driven by her love of working with children and her genuine concern for their welfare,” Grooters said. “Liz exudes compassion to each and every student, family and staff member she works with.”
Fritel appreciates the support she received as a first-year teacher in the district and tries to provide the same support system to her colleagues.
“Liz is always available to share her time and talents with other staff, and she is equally ready to learn from the input of her peers,” Grooters said. “She is highly professional in her communication skills and demeanor and is truly an ambassador for our district.”