TDS Telecom surprised a school counselor with its Most Valuable Educator Award, which honors a person working in Wisconsin schools making a difference in the lives of students and their community.

Kristi Kjelstad, of Hillcrest Elementary School in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, was presented with the award and a Green Bay Packers prize package that includes four tickets to the Dec. 17 game against Tampa Bay and the opportunity to take a group of students to Lambeau Field to tour the stadium and meet with a Packers alum.

Kjelstad was chosen as TDS’ Most Valuable Educator among more than 50 nominations from throughout the state. An avid Packers fan, Kjelstad was honored Nov. 21 in front of students, staff, and family members at a school assembly.

“TDS is thrilled to honor Kristi with this award as we highlight the outstanding work educators do in our schools every single day. Kristi goes above and beyond to help students and families and is exactly the kind of unsung hero we wanted to recognize with the Most Valuable Educator Award,” said Marcus Stabe, TDS associate manager of field marketing in Chippewa Falls who presented the award to Kjelstad.

Kjelstad’s impact goes far beyond the classroom. She is known for regular lunch “check-ins” with students, responding to students in crisis, producing Hillcrest’s fifth-grade news program, arranging career speakers, coaching the school’s Girls on the Run program, facilitating a student advisory group, serving in multiple faculty committee roles, and much more.

“I nominated Kristi Kjelstad for the TDS Most Valuable Educator Award because she shows up each day for students, staff and families. The entire Hillcrest community looks to Kristi for her leadership, guidance, empathy, and kindness. I am so pleased that her hard work and dedication are being celebrated with this award!” said Kara Vergin, library media specialist at Hillcrest and Halmstad elementary schools.

“Mrs. Kjelstad receiving the Most Valuable Educator Award is a reflection of the profound impact she’s had on our students’ lives. Her influence extends far beyond the classroom, creating a brighter future one compassionate connection at a time,” added Hillcrest Principal Lori Hebert.

Madison-based TDS has served Wisconsin for more than 50 years. The company is continuing construction on high-speed, all-fiber internet networks in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, with service launched already in several neighborhoods.

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