Karen Lauritzen, a fourth-grade teacher at Treaty Rock Elementary School in Post Falls, Idaho, has been honored as the 2023 Idaho Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made by Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra during a surprise visit to the school. Lauritzen, who is also the co-president of the Post Falls Education Association, was recognized for her outstanding dedication to her students and the broader education community.
During the surprise announcement, Superintendent Ybarra praised Lauritzen’s commitment to going the extra mile for her students and highlighted her exceptional ability to establish strong connections with students and their families. “Karen’s talents go beyond a mastery of teaching. She has created tremendous connections with her students and the wider school community, and she excels in the art of building classroom relationships,” said Superintendent Ybarra.
Karen Lauritzen, who has been teaching at Treaty Rock Elementary since 2012, has also been actively involved in the school’s behavioral leadership teams, providing valuable professional development to both the school and district staff. Her dedication to teaching excellence was recognized when she was named the Treaty Rock Elementary School Teacher of the Year in 2021. In addition to her role as an educator, Lauritzen has been a prominent advocate for education in the Post Falls community. She is a founding member of Citizens for Post Falls Schools and has successfully advocated for essential school levies through grassroots efforts.
“Mrs. Lauritzen excels in building relationships with her students, among her students, and with the families of her students,” said Mary Ann Pattis, a fellow teacher at Treaty Rock Elementary. Lauritzen believes that creating a sense of belonging and respect among students lays the foundation for their academic and personal growth.
As Idaho’s Teacher of the Year, Lauritzen now has the opportunity to represent Idaho educators and advocate for the teaching profession at the state and national levels. “I hope that as Idaho Teacher of the Year, I will be able to be an ambassador between teachers, parents and our communities,” Lauritzen said in her application. “Our communities, state and nation would benefit from relationship building that starts in our humble public school classrooms. I would be honored to lead the way.”
Karen Lauritzen’s commitment to her students, her passion for education, and her dedication to building relationships make her a deserving recipient of the 2023 Idaho Teacher of the Year award. Her impact extends beyond the classroom as she continues to advocate for educational excellence and support educators in making a positive difference in students’ lives.