Five Southeast Alumnae Honored with Emerson Excellence in Teaching Awards


Five alumnae of Southeast Missouri State University were honored last month with 2017 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Among those receiving awards were Southeast graduates Mary Kay Decker of Festus, Missouri; Georggia Holt of Maryland Heights, Missouri; Allison Keeler of St. Peters, Missouri; Terri Schrader of Hillsboro, Missouri; and Andrea Swantner of Wentzville, Missouri. The awards were presented at the Ritz Carlton Nov. 12 in St. Louis.

Mary Kay Decker

The awards, now in their 28th year, paid tribute to 109 area educators – from kindergarten teachers to college professors – for their achievements and dedication to the field of education. Recipients were selected by their schools’ administration. Each honoree received an engraved Tiffany & Co. crystal apple box, as they are honored for their vital role in shaping students’ lives and success for the future. Recipients were selected by their schools’ administration to honor their accomplishments. The ceremony and reception were held at the Ritz-Carlton.

Georggia Holt

Decker is a second grade teacher at Festus Elementary in the Festus R-VI School District.

Holt is a sixth grade English language arts teacher at Northeast Middle School in the Parkway School District.

Keeler teaches English language arts at Orchard Farm High School in the Orchard Farm School District. She also serves on the school’s Instructional Advisory Council.

Allison Keeler

Schrader is the chair of the Social Studies Department, and teaches 11th grade American government and 11th-12th grade psychology and advance psychology at De Soto Senior High School in the De Soto Public School District. She also serves as coordinator for the annual junior/senior Washington D.C. trip and supervises the De Soto INTERACT Club.

Swantner is a reading specialist at Peine Ridge Elementary in the Wentzville R-IV School District.

Terri Schrader

“Emerson is proud to recognize educators in the St. Louis area who show an unwavering commitment to the successful futures of their students,” said David J. Rabe, Emerson vice president of corporate social responsibility. “We are delighted to celebrate the vital role of our community’s inspiring educators in this annual awards program.”

The award recipients will have the opportunity to apply for a Gold Star Grant from Emerson to be presented in spring 2018. Honorees from this year and the past five years are eligible to apply for the competitive grants, which are designed to fund educational projects that reflect the pillars of the Emerson brand – technology, innovation and leadership. Since 2006, Emerson has awarded $500,000 to area teachers and schools through the Gold Star Grant program.

Andrea Swantner

The Excellence in Teaching Awards program began in 1989 and is sponsored annually by Emerson, a global technology and engineering leader headquartered in St. Louis.  Emerson and its Charitable Trust fund the Excellence in Teaching and Gold Star Grant programs. Under its Charitable Trust, the company donated $8.3 million to more than 565 education programs, individual schools and scholarship recipients globally for the year ending September 30, 2017.