Thank a Teacher Campaign

Join us in thanking Prairie’s teachers for their time, effort, and passion!

The Thank a Teacher campaign is a great way to honor your favorite educators during National Teacher Appreciation Week!

Day in and day out, our teachers inspire and empower each student to be his or her best self. They provide them with challenges and experiences leading them to achieve extraordinary success.

Every donation, no matter the size, will directly support the work of our faculty!

ATTENTION PARENTS: Sign-up here to bring in a special treat during Thank a Teacher Week!

Saying Thanks

Mrs. Jenny Cobb - Middle School English

“In the years she has taught our children, Mrs. Cobb has truly defined the meaning of a great educator. She is devoted to her students and has great passion. Her enthusiasm to skillfully teach is only surpassed by her ability to challenge each student to achieve their greatest potential while making writing fun.”
– Sheryn Abraham, current parent – 5th, 7th, 8th and 10th

Ms. Liza Davis - Upper School English

“Ms. Davis is an excellent teacher, and she is one of my favorite teachers I ever had at Prairie! She had a huge impact on me as a student especially during my freshmen year when I really fell in love with English class through analyzing the messages of the many books we studied. We read many old books like Homer’s, Odyssey, as well as, the ancient epic, Gilgamesh. Ms. Davis taught us to really analyze works of literature for historical context, poetic devices, and symbolism. However, I think Ms. Davis was best at shining a light on the misunderstood, objectified, discriminated, and flat out ignored female characters of the books we read. This was extremely important for me especially as a young male teenager who did not see the female characters in all the power and strength that they truly embodied. Now, as a young adult, I see the social/gender inequalities that women face every single day in our society much more clearly, and I have gained a much greater respect and appreciation for women all over the world! Thank you Ms. Davis, you are the epitome of AWESOME!!!!”
– Nicolas Grotmol ’15

“As my primary English teacher throughout my time at Prairie, Ms. Davis had a formative impact on my development as a student. From her well versed knowledge of all things grammar, to her constructive and creative curriculum, Ms. Davis transcends simply teaching the English language by pushing students to practically apply their skills in an academic setting. Through facilitating class discussion and encouraging students to think beyond straightforward interpretations, Ms. Davis not only teaches students valuable analytical skills, but also compels students to form and articulate their own opinions. The skills that I learned in Ms. Davis’ classroom allowed me to leave Prairie with a sense of confidence in my reading and writing abilities that has proven invaluable in the college classroom. Thanks Ms. Davis for your continued investment in Prairie students as a teacher, mentor, and friend!”
– Andrew Herndon ’15

Mrs. Mari Grobschmidt - Learning Specialist

“Mrs. Grobschmidt’s classroom was a happy place for me and I looked forward to going to school each day. She was always understanding and worked hard with the students to make sure that no one was left behind. She encouraged us to never give up and to keep exploring creative ideas. I still remember that on the last day of school, the entire class loved her so much that no one wanted to leave and many were crying when our parents came to pick us up for the summer! I adored Mrs. Grobschmidt and loved having her as a teacher!”
– Margaret Zimmermann ’14

Mr. Ralph Henkes - Middle School Social Studies and Coach, former

“Coach Henkes was many things to me: teacher, coach, mentor, and later in life, a fellow soccer referee.  I started at Prairie in the 3rd grade, the second year of Prairie’s existence, and many teachers filled multiple positions.  Ralph was my social studies teacher in the middle school and he taught me how to play soccer, wrestle, and run track.  His passion for sports continued throughout his life and he stayed active in the officiating community. He passed on a love of athletics to hundreds of kids over the years, myself included. I still think of him.”
– John Rowland ’75, trustee, alumni parent, and current grandparent

Mrs. Kim Leinweber - 2nd Grade

“Our son, Alex, started second grade a bit worried that it would be tough, and not very fun. As he stated, somewhat indignantly: ‘How could it be any fun without free choice or center time?!’ After the first day, he came running out of school with a huge smile on his face. He couldn’t stop talking about what a great day he had, and how much fun second grade was. And since that day, he hasn’t stopped talking about how interesting, and fun, his days are. He attributes his happiness at school to the way Mrs. Leinweber teaches. Alex says ‘Mrs. Leinweber is so funny, and she makes learning fun.’ He loves to tell the story of how one day she announced to the class that a pesky classroom fly was their ‘new student.’ He also tells us about how much Mrs. Leinweber cares about him. One day she noticed how he did not appear to be his normal self, and suggested he should go visit the nurse. Sure enough, he had come down with a fever! Alex looks forward to school every day because of Mrs. Leinweber’s positive attitude, enthusiasm for teaching, and the genuine care she shows for her students. As parents, we love that she inspires him to come home fired up and wanting to learn even more about the things they discussed during the school day.”
– Sarah Friday ’91, current parent – Early School and 2nd

Mr. Fletcher Paulsen - Middle and Upper School Vocal Music

“Mr. Paulsen is an amazing teacher. One of my favorite things about him is his constant ability to make our class smile. Whether it be telling a story about a recent trip he took, leading us in vocal warmups, or just making us laugh, Mr. Paulsen is always engaging and memorable. Choir class is always one of the best parts of my day. In his class, everyone feels included no matter if they’re a future broadway star or destined to sing in the shower. Mr. Paulsen’s energy lights up the school and makes Prairie a more fun place to be.”
– Sarah Gesner ’20

Mr. Kevin Pearson - Head of Middle School, Dean of Middle School, and Art Teacher, former

“Where do I start? Mr. Pearson is a really cheerful person, I have no bad memories with him. He was laidback, always joking. One of his favorites was, ‘What is brown and sticky… A stick.’ On C days, he brought in donuts and milk to advisory. He would look out for you, but not get in the way. It was great to have him as a teacher and advisor.”
– Simon Skrzypek ’17

Señora Alice Place - Primary School Spanish

Hola. Elephante. Hermana. Perro. Plastico. Señora Place .

Some kindergarteners were asked about their favorite Spanish words and among the responses about family members and animals, there was a common refrain – Señora Place. The students spoke excitedly about how much fun she brings to their classroom in the form of songs, games, and videos. She is not only expanding their vocabularies, but their worlds.

Mr. Kevin Will - Upper School Science

“Mr. Will stands out in my Prairie years as someone who leads by example. He was a great mentor, role model, and teacher who made a significant impact on my education and personal development. Not only was he committed to holding students to a high standard of achievement, he also helped facilitate their success.”
– Amanda Rasmussen ’02

Ms. Linda Zolnosky - Upper School Learning Specialist and COMPASS Team Leader, former

“Linda Zolnosky was a mentor to me! I always admired her hard work, integrity, perseverance and love – just a few of the skills she so willingly shared with me. I wanted to ‘be’ Linda when I grew up! She taught me that one always did what is best for kids. She also taught our students the skill of self-advocacy and how to use their voice. Many students crossed her path and are better people because of Linda’s willingness to make them the best they could be. Linda brightened my day with humor and a smile. A true teacher in ways too many to mention! Thank you, Linda, you are an amazing professional and an even more amazing woman!”
– Bonnie Benes, Head of Middle School