Fort Madison teacher Chari Purchatzke was awarded the February WGEM Golden Apple Award.
Purchatzke currently teaches at Lincoln Elementary. She has spent her entire 33 year teaching career in the Fort Madison school district teaching kindergarten.
“I just really have always enjoyed kids and being able to be a part of watching them grow up and learn so much,” Purchatzke said. “It’s just a lot of fun, so that’s kind of why I stuck with this age.”
“There’s been change through her career, kindergarten is learning more and more as time goes on and she’s been able to go with the flow,” Lincoln Elementary Principal Tracy King said.
Purchatzke’s students say she is a great teacher.
“I like that she teaches us,” kindergarten student Taylin Bergquist said.
“She’s a good teacher. She does good math things. She lets us do good things,” student Tanner Hellie said.
“I like her and she’s nice,” student Bryan Burch said.
Retired teacher Kristy Reid and Purchatzke were hired the same year to start teaching at Fort Madison’s Denmark Elementary.
“I would say with Chari teaching is a profession, but it’s also a passion. There’s not one aspect of the job that she does not cherish,” Reid said.
Reid says Purchatzke’s devotion to her students and their families are what set her a part.
“Constantly positive with students trying to figure out ways to have them be successful. And if there’s a way to do it, Chari will do it,” Reid said.
“She always puts what’s best for kids first,” King agreed.
Purchatzke’s thirty-third year teaching will be her her last one, she plans to retire at the end of this school year.
“Just seeing the same group of kids make the progression from day to day, month to month. that part will be missed,” Purchatzke said.
Purchatzke says she won’t leave the classroom completely. She does plan to substitute teach after retiring.