Coeur d’Alene honors exceptional teachers during awards event

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COEUR d’ALENE — Lakes Middle School teacher Rebekah Comstock has been named Educator of the Year for Coeur d’Alene Public Schools.

Comstock teaches art, leadership and yearbook. She was honored with the award Tuesday evening at the school district’s annual employee awards and retirement dinner.

“I'm actually still processing this whole thing,” she said Wednesday. “I am completely honored and completely humbled because there are so many amazing people who do the same thing I do day in and day out.”

Comstock has taught at Lakes the past two years. Before that, she taught fifth grade for 13 years at Atlas Elementary School.

“Relationships will always be the most important part of who I am, and I hope that when I build that connection with those I meet, I can help them to see their importance and value,” she said. “It doesn't matter if it is a student or a coworker. People are important and our words matter. We all need to be reminded of our influence and impact on others. I just try to live this truth out for myself and bleed it into my work.”

Comstock said she encourages her students to serve others.

“When we truly look beyond ourselves and are willing to serve and sacrifice, we find our lives more blessed,” she said.

“Any given day our service can look like high-fives in the hallway or a genuine comment of encouragement,” she continued. “Our sacrifice is giving our time to intentionally listen to the kids who carry a heavy burden. Every day we walk in the school doors with opportunities to potentially change the trajectory of our students’ lives.”

For teachers, Comstock said, their actions and relationships matter.

“We must lean on each other when the day gets tough and remember that this career is so much more than a job — it’s a calling.”

Comstock earned degrees in elementary education and sociology from the University of Idaho.

The Coeur d'Alene Education Association and school district also paid tribute Tuesday to high school teacher of the year Jared Helm, the theater teacher at Coeur d’Alene High School; elementary teacher of the year Nancy Nuttelman, a first grade teacher at Dalton Elementary School; rookie teacher of the year Jessica Gaynor, who teaches English, world history and contemporary issues at Venture High School; and classified employee of the year Nicole Olson, the district’s administrative assistant for curriculum and assessment.

Attendees also saluted 27 employees, with combined service of 524 years in the school district, who are retiring.

The CEA presented its Friend of Education Award to Kootenai Environmental Alliance.

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