Excellence in Education Award

GKMS Teacher Karmen Ewald Receives 2022 Excellence in Education Award

Karmen Ewald, a 7th grade English Language Arts teacher at Genoa-Kingston Middle School, is the recipient of a 2022 Excellence in Education Award — an honor given to educators in DeKalb County through the DeKalb County Community Foundation.

Winners are nominated through a “joint effort” between teachers, community members and
administrators throughout the county, according to the organization. The awards “recognize
respected professionals who inspire the love of learning in students,” and are also “admired
individuals who play an active role in their schools and communities.”

In addition to the award and recognition during a presentation ceremony, winners also receive
$1,000. Ewald’s award was presented to her Monday night by student Reagan Tomlinson, who
also read a letter. Emily Fowler, a 7th grade teacher at GKMS who nominated Ewald for the
award, was unable to attend the event, but a quote from her praising her friend and fellow
educator was read aloud.

“In the classroom, Karmen makes learning fun and applicable to students,” Fowler’s letter read.
“She makes sure that every student is receiving assistance in exactly what skills he or she needs in order to be successful. I have always admired her ability to form close, meaningful, and
authentic relationships with her students. Students succeed in Mrs. Ewald’s class because they feel safe, respected, and cared for. She is truly an advocate for all students.”

Ewald, who has been teaching for 20 years—19 of those in Genoa-Kingston Community Unit
School District #424 — said she was grateful for the award, and that her dedication to her
students is what drives her.

“The thing I like most about teaching is my students,” she said. “I love interacting with them, I
love learning from them, I love helping them understand the content of any course, and I love
when they see the connection between what they are learning and their lives.”

Ewald also gave praise to the GK staff that she has worked with for so many years.

“I also think that I would not be here today without the great teachers and staff that I work with
everyday,” she said. “District 424 is my family, and I couldn’t imagine working with better
people, students, and staff alike.”

GKMS Principal Craig Butcher said the feeling was mutual, describing Ewald as being “well-liked and respected by her students and colleagues because of her genuine care and compassion for all.”

“She loves being a teacher, and develops positive relationships and long-lasting bonds with
students,” Butcher said. “Students excel in her class because she challenges them and creates an
environment where students feel safe to take risks. On behalf of GKMS and myself, we
congratulate Mrs. Ewald on earning the Excellence in Education Award!”

Supt. Brent O’Daniell agreed, and said she truly “defines what it means to be a ‘Cog.’”

“We are so proud of Karmen, and all our nominees for the Excellence in Education Award!”
O’Daniell said. “Karmen continually stretches our students to achieve our mission statement of:
‘Preparing students to excel and contribute to their community.’ Congratulations Karmen! And
continue to lead by example!”