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Scott Filius named Havre Teacher of the Year

Scott Filius is best known in the Havre community for his successes as the coach of the state championship wrestling team.

But his real success is in the classroom, where he has the ability to get the most out of every student, School Superintendent Andy Carlson said this morning.

Thursday night Filius was honored as the Havre Public Schools Teacher of the Year. Karen Nave, the 2012 Teacher of the Year, praised him as an "innovator, passionate ... a leader, kind and a gentle teacher" who is respected by students and peers.

Filius was given the award at the annual Pride Celebration at Havre High School.

Nave said Filius represented the idea that "teachers can change lives."

In accepting the award, he praised his colleagues for their work.

"It's nice to be recognized," he said.

"My kids really enjoy school," he said. "And for that, I thank you."

Carlson this morning said that he was happy that Filus was being recognized for his classroom work that many may be unfamiliar with.

Filius is now teaching the local history class to Havre students, an important job in a community that so values its local history, Carlson said.

Pat Tilleman, a food service employee at Havre Middle School was honored as the classified employee of the year.

School Board President Darlene Bricker, the master of ceremonies, said Tilleman was nominated for the honor because she was "a dedicated employee who was always easy and fun to work with."

"She is not afraid to try something new," said Bricker, quoting he person who nominated Tilleman. "She is a joy to work with."

Carlson praised Tilleman and other classified employees as the sometimes unheralded workers who feed students so they will be ready for class, drive buses so students arrive on time and keep the schools clean.

Retiring teachers were also honored at the event.

Karla Wohlwend, the retiring director of special education and personnel, recalled that when she was 7 years old, her only goal was to become a teacher.

She got her wish in 1957, she was thrilled when she got her first job — a teacher of 30 first-graders who had never been to kindergarten.

She was making $5,400 a year, and her husband, a high school teacher was making $5,800 a year.

He got $200 a year more because he was a secondary teacher and $200 more because he was a man," she said.

"Thankfully, things have changed," she said.

She said she looked at veteran teachers and asked herself, "will I ever be as old as they are?

"Forty-six year later, and I'm still doing this" she said.

She has spent the last 21 years in the Havre district.

High school teacher Karen Murri is retiring after 39 years in Havre.

"I want to thank everyone here for the blessings I have received working in Havre," she said.

"Thank you for the privilege of working in the Havre schools for 39 years."

Carlson praised both women.

He praised Wohlwend as his mentor, and Murri as a "consummate professional."

Both women, he said, are retiring on their own terms.

They could be doing their work well for another 10 years, he said.


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