LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Each week, WHAS11, in partnership with LG&E and KU, honors teachers in our communities who are going above and beyond to make sure their students excel.
This week's ExCel Award recipient is Laura Neuhauser, a fifth-grade teacher at Okolona Elementary. Mrs. Neuhauser helps to facilitate her student's teaching one another.
Mrs. Neuhauser is described as an engaging, fun and enthusiastic leader in the classroom. Colleagues said she's someone who encourages all her students to have their own conversations and make their own decisions.
Mrs. Neuhauser created a respectful classroom environment where students feel comfortable sharing their opinions and are open to learning more about their classmates' views.
"She takes all our work to the next level by giving hands-on education to help us grow," one of her students said in a video before the award ceremony. "She is funny, makes us laugh every day, and we learn so much in not so boring and dry way."
In the six years Mrs. Neuhauser has taught at Okolona, she's proven what makes her many students' favorite teacher.
Sue Bishop, a parent, joined the ExCel ceremony to make sure everyone knows why her kids love Mrs. Neuhauser.
"You have hit these kids in a spot that they needed," Bishop said. "Nurturing love, patience, calmness. They needed that during the whirlwind they were going through."
"From my heart to yours," Bishop said. "Thank you for being more than just a teacher to us."
Mrs. Neuhauser will receive a $1,000 check along with her golden apple award, but said how the money is used for her classroom is not entirely up to her.
"Voice and choice are really important in my classroom," Mrs. Neuhauser said. "So we're gonna do some writing next week and some research and get their opinion, cause they're way cooler than me and way smarter than me, and they will figure out something good."
In a nod to how her classroom has always been run, she said, "We'll be putting it to a democratic vote."
On behalf of WHAS11 and LG&E and KU, congratulations to Mrs. Laura Neuhauser of Okolona Elementary on your ExCel award!
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