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Minnesota State Mankato alumna is named Educator of the Year

Educator of the year: Anne Henning knew she wanted to be a teacher since second grade. By Chad Richardson

2015-01-26

Many college students begin their studies without a firm decision in regard to their major.

Anne (Rambacher) Henning of Hastings wasn’t one of those students.

She knew exactly what she wanted to do when she got to college. In fact, she knew exactly what she wanted to do when she was in second grade.

“From second grade on, all I wanted to do was teach,” Henning said. “We’d have career day at school, and my mom was like, ‘Don’t you want to try something new?’ I’d say, ‘No. I want to be a teacher.’”

Henning’s motivation to become a teacher had little to do with the profession’s noble mission. Rather, she just wanted to be able to have a messy desk and not get in trouble for it.

“When I first started, I wanted a messy desk, just like my second grade teacher,” she said. “I thought that was the neatest thing – she never got in trouble for it.”

Over the years, Henning learned there was more to teaching than just being able to have a messy desk, and the more she learned the more she knew she’d taken the right path.

“Once I got into college and started taking teaching classes, my passion for it evolved,” she said. “In seven hours a day, how do get you a kiddo from here to there? That stirred the passion.”

Henning’s co-workers nominated her for the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year award and she learned recently she was the winner.

“I had no idea any of this was happening,” she said. “Scott Pap and Julie Malm came up to me and said, ‘We have to talk to you.’ I was like, this is not good.

“They told me I’d won the award and I was like, ‘What?’ I started crying. I didn’t know what else to do. I never saw it coming.”

Henning said she was especially surprised because she still considers herself a relative newcomer, even though she’s been teaching since 2004.

“For someone to feel like I was experienced enough to get an award like this – I couldn’t even wrap my head around it,” she said. “I was honored they thought of me in that way. It’s an honor and an overall awesome feeling.”

Henning graduated from HHS in 1997 and went to Minnesota State University, Mankato, to study education. She got a job out of college doing extended day kindergarten in Hastings at Pinecrest Elementary. That job ended and she took a position at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School here. She took a position in Apple Valley then came back to Hastings and taught first grade at Kennedy Elementary before taking her current position of fourth grade teacher at McAuliffe. This is her fifth year at McAuliffe.

“My plan was always to come back to Hastings and teach,” she said.

Henning has taken advantage of the fact that she’s allowed to have a messy desk (“organized chaos,” as she put it) but the best part of the job is seeing her students progress over the course of nine months, she said.

“When they start fourth grade and as they end the year, just the growth they make floors me every year,” she said.

Henning was married last summer to Jeff Henning.

Her parents are Dee and Fred Rambacher of Hastings. 

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