Early Childhood & Youth Development teacher earns DCTC’s highest faculty honor
Jill Behnke, an instructor in the Early Childhood and Youth Development program at Dakota County Technical College, was named the 2011 Outstanding Instructor of the Year during a Campus Focus event held May 5, 2011, on the college’s Rosemount, Minn., campus. The award represents the highest honor DCTC bestows on a faculty member.
Jill Behnke began teaching at DCTC in 1985. She holds both master and bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, Wis. She has worked as a preschool and kindergarten teacher and also as a preschool director. Certified to administer and interpret the Myers-Briggs assessment through the MBTI Certification Program, she has received the DCTC’s Gold Award, formerly known as the Golden Apple Award, an honor conveyed by students at the college.
“I like to bring my students many ways to learn,” said Behnke, regarding her teaching philosophy. “Knowledge can come through reading, lecture, interaction with peers, field trips, guest speakers and hands-on opportunities. It is important to provide all these learning methods in an environment that is stimulating, accepting and entertaining.”
“Jill is a natural teacher and deeply versed in her subject matter, but most of all, she cares about her students—and it shows in everything she does.”
She ranks her students as the best part of her job as a DCTC instructor, noting that they offer her the chance to share her energy and enthusiasm for education. “Teaching provides me with the challenge to never quit learning,” she said.
Ronald E. Thomas, Ph.D., DCTC president, was delighted with Behnke’s selection as the 2011 Outstanding Instructor of the Year. “Jill’s students love her,” Thomas said. “She brings a world of experience to her program and knows how translate that knowledge into a wonderful learning experience. Jill is a natural teacher and deeply versed in her subject matter, but most of all, she cares about her students—and it shows in everything she does.”
For Jill Behnke, teaching is based on learning all she can about each one of her students. “I believe in building relationships,” she said. “I do that by getting to know my students as individuals. Together, we can accomplish anything.”