Star Teachers Get Quite the Surprise in North Minneapolis celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week with a BIG surprise for teachers. Check out this segment on our local station in Minneapolis, KARE 11 News, to see the surprise in action.

On Teacher Appreciation Day, joined KARE 11 to surprise five Nellie Stone Johnson Elementary School teachers in their classroom. We were on a mission to recognize “NAZ Star Teachers” and award them each with $600 for classroom supplies. The awards were funded by KARE 11 and the Gannett Foundation.

Principal Amy Luehmann and the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) helped select teachers most deserving of the $600 award, an amount that would fund the average classroom for one full year.

“We created these awards to support the great work being done by The Northside Achievement Zone to permanently close the achievement gap and end generational poverty in North Minneapolis,” said Ann Ruhr Pifer, Chief Operating Officer of “Teachers are key partners in setting NAZ scholars on a path to college, and we believe that they deserve both recognition and support in the form of resources that they need to teach effectively.”

The five NAZ Star Teacher Award winners are Julie Tennessen, 5th grade; Sarah Crawford, reading support; Kathryn Peterson, 1st grade; Alex Lange, 5th grade; and Heather Davis, 5th grade. Each of these teachers have proven their commitment to helping NAZ scholars that need extra support in the classroom.

Fifth grade Nellie Stone Johnson teacher, Heather, was both surprised and excited when and KARE 11 walked into her classroom and presented her with a giant check for $600. When Heather asked what they thought their classroom needed, her students excitedly called out their ideas. The whole class cheered when Heather asked, “You guys are going to love this right?”


“We are honored to work with NAZ in recognizing these outstanding teachers at Nellie Stone Elementary,” said Ann Ness, Executive Director of “At the end of the day, it is the students of Nellie Stone Elementary who will benefit from these awards.” is thankful to the Gannett Foundation, KARE 11, and NAZ for joining us in acknowledging the hardworking teachers of Nellie Stone Johnson Elementary School.

If you would like to help put supplies in the hands of these award-winning teachers, you can search for their classroom pages here.