Treaty Rock Elementary School teacher Karen Lauritzen is Idaho’s 2023 teacher of the year.
State superintendent Sherri Ybarra surprised Lauritzen Thursday morning with the news, along with balloons and a $1,000 check, the State Department of Education announced in a press release.
Luaritzen hopes to be an “ambassador between teachers, parents and our communities,” she said in her application for the award. “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!”
A blue ribbon panel selected Lauritzen from a pool of 13 finalists. The title makes her a spokesperson for Idaho educators — and secures her nomination for the National Teacher of the Year award.
Lauritzen has taught at the Post Falls-based elementary school since 2012. She has served on Treaty Rock’s behavioral leadership teams and was the school’s own teacher of the year in 2021.
During her 20-year career, Lauritzen has worked in Arizona and Alaska. She is the vice president of the Post Falls Education Association, a founding member of Citizens for Post Falls Schools and has “successfully advocated” for school levies, the SDE’s announcement reads.
Lauritzen is a 2002 graduate of the University of Fairbanks in Alaska and holds a Master of Arts in Special Education from Indiana’s Ball State University. She is finishing up her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Idaho.
Treaty Rock principal Katrina Kramer said Lauritzen connects with her students “on a personal level (and creates) a positive classroom community where students are honored for their contributions and work hard to improve themselves.”
“On top of planning amazing lessons, Mrs. Lauritzen takes on leadership roles throughout the district and at the state level,” Kramer added. “She is gifted in making connections with people from all walks of life, in a variety of settings.”
Ybarra praised Lauritzen’s work with students.
“Her ability to bring real topics to life in the classroom is unparalleled, and her dedication to creating opportunities for her students to learn goes beyond the classroom walls,” Ybarra said.