Brandy Vavruska, Kindergarten Teacher, West Elementary School, Spearfish, South Dakota
Brandy Vavruska was first introduced to PLT as a student at Black Hills State University in 2003. The program reinforced the love of outdoors she gained from growing up on a ranch. Since then, she has attended other PLT workshops and spread her enthusiasm for PLT with other teachers. She also shows student teachers working in her kindergarten classroom at West Elementary School in Spearfish, South Dakota, how to use PLT. She helped pilot PLT’s Early Childhood curriculum in her classroom and provided useful feedback to improve it. Taking students outside, having them learn about their natural environment, and carrying those experiences across the curriculum are important facets of Brandy’s teaching. Her students are regularly featured in the local newspaper as they experience PLT at parks, on the school grounds, and in the nearby National Forest.
Brandy was named National PLT Outstanding Educator Honoree in 2011.