First Grade at South Park Elementary School, Rapid City
A Rapid City native, Rick Redetzke never thought of himself as a teacher until later on in life.
“School was not the easiest thing for me,” said Rick. “I decided at some point, if I can teach someone to read, maybe they wouldn’t face some of the same challenges I faced.” After 23 years of teaching, he continues to make an impact on his students’ lives.
“Rick’s calm spirit and direct way of engaging with his students is rare,” said Natalie Slack, a mom to one of Rick’s students. “He sets and maintains high expectations, gently guiding kids into full engagement and success.”
And high, attainable expectations are perfect for this age. First grade is where children begin to make connections from school to the world. “I attempt to challenge and foster the learning of all students, both on an individual level and with the standards designed for first graders,” said Rick. “It’s amazing to hear the children sharing their excitement and enthusiasm for learning.”
Not only is Mr. Redetzke known for a well-mannered class, but also his connection with all students, even beyond his own classroom.
“Rick makes a difference with children who struggle with their behavior,” said Behavior Strategist Beth Steen. On playground duty, Rick saw a boy going through an emotional catastrophe. “He was right there to give him support until the child could calm down,” said Beth.
Mr. Redetzke leaves an impression on his students, being visited by former students and remembered as a positive influence in their lives.
“He puts everything he teaches into a perspective that children can understand,” explained his former student Sumner. “His kids respect him and love him.”
Not only has Rick created a class of independent thinkers, but has extended his passion of helping others to everyone around him.