N.D. – Students at Wishek Elementary School love Mrs. Goering.

“She’s probably one of my favorites,” third grader Payton Ketterling said.

“I was pretty bad at social studies, but she’s helped a lot,” third grader Eugene Eckert said.

The North Dakota Geographic Alliance thinks she’s pretty great, too — naming Cathy Goering its 2020 Teacher of the Year. Principal Renae Bosch presented the award at a surprise assembly attended by all students in the district.

“She loves teaching. She loves seeing the faces of her kids when they light up. Cathy has been chosen as the 2020 North Dakota Geographic Alliance Teacher of the Year,” Principal Bosch announced to a gym full of applause.

The third grade teacher has been at the school for 13 years. Starting in September, all North Dakota educators could nominate a teacher of any subject. Then the NDGA’s board of directors chose a winner.

“I have said to myself so many times, I love my job, I love my job. I’m so very grateful that I do get to do this,” Goering said.

Goering worked as a hairstylist for 10 years before switching careers — and it wasn’t the easiest change at first.

“I went back to college when I was 38 years old. I lived in Zeeland and drove the 200 mile round trip every day for four years to get my degree,” Goering said.

She says it was definitely the right choice.

“I love the students and I love the kids,” Goering said.

The kids seem to feel the same way.

“She was a phenomenal teacher,” sixth grader Carter Ketterling said.

“She’s the best teacher,” third grader Jocelyn Rodriguez said.

The North Dakota Geographic Alliance has been been giving out Teacher of the Year awards for more than 20 years.