Chris Dobis, a 2016 MREA Educator of Excellence, has been nominated for the National Rural Teacher of the Year Award, presented by Monsanto. In addition to national recognition, the selected honoree will receive $2,000 for professional development and classroom supplies.

DobisDobis serves as a third grade teacher at Pioneer Elementary in Pierz, Minnesota.

“Mr. Dobis takes a both personal and analytical approach to developing and adapting his lessons to ensure every student succeeds,” MREA Executive Director Fred Nolan said.

Dobis led efforts to turn Pioneer into a 1:1 device school, increase student engagement and significantly impact student achievement. The results have been clearly demonstrated in the classroom and through test scores. Pioneer’s third grade students outpaced the state average by at least 13 percent when combining math and reading scores on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA). Learn more.

“His classroom and teaching strategies are designed with student outcomes as priorities,” Pioneer Principal Tom Otte. “He designs his work to allow students to develop an intrinsic desire to learn while routinely track and analyzes data based on normed benchmarks.”

Mr. Dobis can rarely found in front of the classroom. Instead, he’s working alongside students, guiding, motivating and establishing their love for learning, his fellow third grade teacher Denise Girtz shared.

MREA nominated Dobis for this honor.

“His colleagues call him a true ‘facilitator of learning’ because of his ability to instill the desire to learn in his students,” Nolan said. Through setting learning goals to tracking their personal progress, his students take the lead on their individualized learning plans.”

Dobis builds his classroom around the experience he’d like to have.

“As a student, I enjoyed going to class when my teachers took the time to know and understand me, beyond my assignments and test scores,” Dobis said. “Since the beginning of my teaching career in 2006, I wanted to make sure my students felt welcomed, comfortable and knew my classroom was a place where they could be themselves.”

And he really believes in them.

“It’s amazing what students can achieve when given high, but realistic, expectations,” he said.