Top Teacher: Fridley paraeducator Mrs. Sharon Wicks honored

Mrs. Sharon Wicks, a paraeducator at Fridley Middle School, received FOX 9’s Top Teacher Award.

"I was just shocked. Complete shock. I had no idea," Mrs. Wicks said on Monday when she was surprised with the award. "I was shocked to see my family here."

Mrs. Wicks has been a paraeducator at Fridley Middle School for 22 years and was nominated for FOX 9's Top Teacher Award after she helped two of her special needs students participate in a middle school production of Annie Jr.

The parent who nominated Mrs. Wicks says she was inspired to see how Mrs. Wicks gave extra time to make sure her students could participate and succeed on stage. The nominator said watching the joy on the students’ faces is "a memory I will cherish forever."

Mrs. Wicks says she was excited her students were invited to participate and was happy to give extra time, working with them outside of school hours, to make sure they shined on stage.

"One of our kids is very outgoing and the other kid I was shocked remembered every bit of his lines and the dance," Mrs. Wicks said.

Dr. Amy Cochran, the principal at Fridley Middle School, said she and her team wanted to hold a big celebration to honor Mrs. Wicks. On Monday around 700 of their middle school students gathered in the auditorium for a surprise assembly. Dr. Cochran said even the teachers didn’t know why they were gathering the whole school together.

"We think it’s a really big deal and she deserves every second of it," Dr. Cochran said. "We have really amazing staff in Fridley but I think also to be able to be celebrated and recognized in front of your own peers, we wanted to make sure her colleagues were able to attend."

Mrs. Wicks says she hopes all paraeducators feel appreciated for their challenging but rewarding work.

"Our day goes fast because it’s tough. But it’s fun," Mrs. Wicks said.

Mrs. Wicks wins a pizza party from Papa Murphy’s from her students, $1,000 from Royal Credit Union to spend on classroom supplies, and an award.