Photo by Matt Stensland
Hayden Valley Elementary School first-graders point to their teacher, Lori Hornstein, middle, after learning Thursday she was named a Peabody Energy Leader in Education.
Steamboat Springs Based on her remarks after being named a Peabody Energy Leader in Education, Lori Hornstein’s commitment to education was clear.
When it came time for the Hayden Valley Elementary School first-grade teacher to speak, she directed the attention away from herself and toward the crowd of students gathered for the assembly. Always an educator, she told the students she wanted them to focus and do well on upcoming Transitional Colorado Student Assessment Program testing.
“They make all of us in our school look good,” Hornstein said.
She then led the students in singing the ABCs.
This is Hornstein’s 26th year teaching at the school, where she has taught students in kindergarten through third grade.
Thursday’s assembly was meant to surprise Hornstein. That was tough, though, because the school had a surprise assembly in January to honor kindergarten teacher Laura Voorhees as a Leader in Education.
It was obvious another teacher from the school was being recognized when Peabody Energy Leaders in Education Program Manager Maureen Moore walked into the gymnasium. She flew into Hayden from St. Louis, where Peabody is based. Peabody is the world’s largest private-sector coal company and runs Routt County’s Twentymile Mine southeast of Hayden.
“I bet we have someone here that turns on electricity in your minds every day,” Moore said when introducing Hornstein to the students.
Principal Rhonda Sweetser said Hornstein is known for dedicating extra time to her students and often can be found at the school on nights and weekends.
“One of the people that is always here is Lori, and that’s after years and years of teaching,” Sweetser said. “She just believes in giving it her all and being ready for everything she has to do.”
Hornstein also has won the praises of parents.
“They realize her dedication and that she is a teacher who realizes parents are an important part of the education team, and she expects the highest level from all students,” Sweetser said.
Students appreciate her, as well.
“She’s really smart, and she teaches us a lot,” said Joseph Hockaday, one of Hornstein’s students.
Hornstein’s husband, Donovan, was at the assembly to congratulate his wife. Hornstein said she was shocked and surprised by the recognition.
“I’m still shaking,” she said after the assembly.
Peabody is recognizing about a dozen educators this year in Routt, Moffat and Eagle counties, where Peabody has mining operations or corporate offices.
In addition to Voorhees and Hornstein, Hayden High School teacher Kevin Kleckler was honored in February. In Moffat County, Craig Middle School seventh-grade science teacher Brynna Vogt was given the $1,000 award that teachers can use in any way they like.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com