NICOLLET, MN - Every now and again Katy Meister likes to stop class for an impromptu dance party.

She said, "We just take that break whenever we need to.  The kids react well to that.  They all think I'm funny.  If I ask them in fifth grade they probably wouldn't think that anymore."

Her upbeat energy keeps these first graders engaged.  During lessons, she cleverly coerces the class into concepts that are above their grade level.

During a math lesson, Meister asked the class, "How much is 15 dimes?"

Meister challenges her kids to think critically and to never give up.

"At first you don't succeed, the old, try, try again, but we take it a little farther and say, you know, we don't say 'I can't', we just haven't gotten it yet."

That upbeat energy and positivity even rubs off on the other teachers.
 
Ashley Pope, a first grade teacher at the school who frequently collaborates with Meister said, "Katy is just such a deserving teacher.  She's phenomenal.  This is our 5th year working together as a first grade team and I can't think of a better person to work with."

Parents have marveled at the methods Meister uses to craft these first graders into life-long learners.
 
Principal Todd Toulouse said, "She's such a great asset.  She has a great approach, just positive, constantly positive.  The collective efficacy that she has in working with her colleagues is just bar-none."

That is why Katy Meister is a Golden Apple recipient.

"Ah, well, I'm extremely honored.  It is a joy and a pleasure to come to work every day.  I have wonderful colleagues and even better students to work with." She said.