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Olaf Netteberg named Nevis teacher of the year

Olaf Netteberg has 30 years of teaching under his belt.

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Nevis Teacher of the Year Olaf Netteberg received a handshake from Melinda Crimmins, the Nevis Federation of Teachers Union President.
Contributed / Nevis School
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Olaf Netteberg was selected by his peers at Nevis School last week as the 2022 Teacher of the Year.

He is in his 30th year of teaching, 28 of them at Nevis.

He describes himself as a “self-proclaimed shop teacher.”

“The title has changed over the years,” he said. “Now we’re classified as CTE teachers. That stands for Career and Technological Education.”

One of his biggest accomplishments has been leading the student house-building program.

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“We started our first house in the fall of 1996,” he said. “Most of our kids are going to be homeowners. It’s one of the biggest purchases of your life. They learn to ask about heating bills, insulation and the roof to be knowledgeable consumers.”

Being a robotics mentor and watching the team grow and advance is another of his biggest accomplishments. He was recognized for his efforts recently by being inducted into the Robotics Coaches Hall of Fame.

He said the best thing about teaching is the students, and that hasn’t changed over the years.

“Kids are still kids,” he said. “They want to be respected, and it’s all based on relationships. The biggest change I’ve seen over the years is the social acceptance of trades. We’re going to graduate 41 seniors this year and nine of them are going on to some form of two-year education. It’s the highest percentage in school history, and I’m proud of that.”

Melinda Crimmins is president of the Nevis Federation Union of Teachers. She shared some of the reasons Netteberg was nominated.

His positive relationships with students topped the list. Teachers commented on the genuine interest he shows in students and the real-world skills he teaches.

Positive relationships with other teachers were also highlighted, including being enthusiastic and uplifting, helping other teachers and coaches by building materials for their classrooms and athletic fields and his robotics and golf coaching.

“Olaf was recognized for making a difference with his students and fellow staff every day,” Superintendent Gregg Parks said. “We enjoy his energy, his ability to see the good, his ability to challenge and his ability to accept all for who they are.”

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Netteberg has also done a lot of coaching over the years. “I’m close to 50 seasons of coaching something,” he said. “I’ve coached robotics, golf, basketball and football.”

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Some members of the team set up the field and gave demonstrations at the Minnesota School Boards Association convention.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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