Stephanie Hanson, a special education teacher at Merrill Elementary School in Beloit, has been named the Beloit Rotary Teacher of the Month.

Hanson has been with the School District of Beloit for seven years.

She began her career as a substitute teacher in the Beloit school district. She worked one semester at the Beloit Learning Academy before moving to Merrill Elementary School. In her first three years at Merrill, she worked with students in 4K to Grade 1. In the past three years she has worked with students in Grades 1—3.

She earned a bachelor of science degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater in 2013. She earned an associates degree in early childhood/special education from Blackhawk Technical College in 2010.

She has served on the Merrill School leadership team from 2014 to 2020 and she served on Merrill’s implementation team during the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years. She was a mentor teacher in the 2019-2020 school year and a member of the Non-Violent Crisis Intervention team from 2014-2018.

She was named Teacher of the Year at Merrill Elementary School in 2017.

Hanson believes in connecting with families and the community.

“I believe it is important to create relationships with families and communities as well as students,” Hanson said. “I often use my personal time to build these relationships and attend professional development opportunities to help me be the best teacher and family advocate I can be.”

She has assisted in holiday food drives as well as helped in school supply drives and coat drives. She has organized and assisted with Christmas gift donations for families in need. She also is a Sunday school teacher at Beloit New Life Church.

“I have always had a passion and drive for teaching. As a child, I would implore my younger siblings to ‘play’ school with me. I was always the teacher and I would adapt my lessons based on where they were at academically,” she said. “In second grade, I saved up money and bought a teacher grade book so that I could track my siblings grades. One of my children has special needs. I initially went into special education to help parents get the best education possible for their children who have special needs, and to provide quality individualized instruction to students. Every day, I strive to show students that they are loved, important and capable.”