Windom Area Middle High School teaching staff gathered outside the WAMHS office last week prior to starting their Professional Learning Communities for a short announcement.
Joni Fischenich was among them smiling until Amanda Wilson announced the longtime English Language Learner teacher as the district’s 2021-22 Teacher of the Year. Almost instantly, Fischenich was moved to tears of disbelief and joy. She came forward as her husband, Dave, and sons, Joe, a physical education teacher in Windom, and Sam, who lives and works in New Ulm, stepped out of the office to congratulate her. Sam was joined by his wife, Kelsey, and their 18-month-old daughter, Addison. The Fischenichs’ daughter, Sarah, a teacher in Colorado, was unable to attend.
Fischenich is in her 29th year teaching in the Windom Area School District. All of that time has been as an ELL instructor, part-time and later full-time, with nine years as a part-time kindergarten teacher.
For more on her selection as Teacher of the Year, see the Dec. 8 issue of the Cottonwood County Citizen on newsstands on Wednesday. A full-length feature on her will be included in the Dec. 15 issue of the Citizen.