The Foundation for Eden Prairie Schools has announced the winners of its annual Legacy Awards, which honor outstanding teachers, staff, volunteers, alumni and community members who have gone above and beyond to support the success of Eden Prairie Schools.
Winners and nominees will be honored at the FEPS Red & Black Gala to be held 6:30-10:30 p.m. on Friday, April 28, at Bearpath Golf & Country Club. Cocktail attire (preferably in Eden Prairie Schools colors, red and black!) is suggested.
“This is our first in-person event in three years, and we’re really excited to bring the community together for a special evening that a lot of pretty creative work has gone into,” said FEPS board member Charlie Crocker, who is also a 2010 Eden Prairie High School alumnus.
Event tickets are $125, which includes a donation to FEPS. “It’s really going above and beyond your standard fundraising event,” he added. “It’s going to be a really special evening, a lot of fun, and an opportunity to raise as much money as we can. That’s the goal — to continue supporting and sponsoring the fantastic initiatives inside our schools that uphold our tradition of excellence.”
Supporting FEPS can create a lot of impact for many students, Crocker said. “A public education is free. An exceptional education is not. And providing an exceptional education to students throughout the Eden Prairie community is our mission.”
Since FEPS was formed in 1998 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, it has awarded over $1 million to fund innovative programs that directly impact Eden Prairie students.
Tickets for the Red & Black Gala, which will feature food stations, drinks, a six-person live band featuring Eden Prairie teachers and alumni, and an exclusive live auction, can be purchased on FEPS’ website, where bidders can also find a wide variety of silent auction items. Buying a ticket for the gala to bid in the silent auction is unnecessary.
The Legacy Awards
The 2023 Legacy Award Winners are:
- Teacher of the Year (6th Grade – TASSEL): Erin Webster, 8th Grade English/Language Arts, Central Middle School.
- Teacher of the Year (Early Childhood – 5th Grade): Jessica Premo, Special Education, Prairie View Elementary School.
- Staff Member of the Year (6th Grade – TASSEL): Hani Abdi, Somali Cultural Liaison, Eden Prairie High School.
- Staff Member of the Year (Early Childhood – 5th Grade): Debbie Plager, Literacy Para and Former Kindergarten Teacher, Forest Hills Elementary School.
- Volunteer of the Year: Jessica Engelstad, Forest Hills PTO.
“We are thrilled to continue recognizing the wonderful leaders contributing to the success of Eden Prairie Schools,” said Lisa Sisinni, FEPS Executive Director, on the foundation’s website. “This program will allow us to shine a spotlight on individuals who are passionate about and dedicated to advocating for Eden Prairie students.”
Red & Black Gala will be Friday, April 28, at Bearpath
Crocker said the gala is “a chance for the community to come together, celebrate the Legacy Award nominees, and continue to fill the coffers so we can advance the good work in the classroom.”
He added, “It would be great to have a packed room. Every dollar raised goes towards making a difference in our community.”
In addition to the live band and mingling with the honorees, friends, and community members, gala attendees will enjoy food stations featuring menu items such as pork pot stickers and avocado egg rolls, cajun chicken with spicy remoulade, Philly cheesesteak, creole spiced popcorn shrimp, sriracha-glazed buffalo chicken meatballs, barbecue jack fruit, and more.
Late-night snacks of assorted flatbread pizzas will also be offered, and desserts from Lunds & Byerlys will include various cookies, bars, and fresh fruit platters.
Attendees will also have special access to a live auction featuring several marquee items, including:
- A signed Kirill Kaprizov jersey and tickets to an upcoming Wild playoff game (dependent on schedule and outcomes).
- Four backstage passes for a meet and greet with the artist at an upcoming Studio C performance at Cities97. Previous artists include U2, OAR, Ingrid Michaelson, Leona Lewis, and Leon Bridges.
- Two turf crew volunteer spots for a day at the 2024 U.S. Amateur Championship at Hazeltine, packaged with two hats.
The silent auction is also open for bidding.
Anyone who cannot attend the gala but would like to support FEPS or recognize a staff member is encouraged to purchase an “Honor a Teacher” ticket. This helps FEPS increase funding to support much-needed teacher, staff and community partnership grants.
“It’s a really special and unique way for my generation, who graduated in the last 10-15 years and may no longer be living in Minnesota but still have emotional connection to the schools, to be able to contribute,” Crocker said.
Former EPHS student Megan Willard (Fusselman) opted for the “honor a teacher” option, as she is now based in New York. “Had the pleasure of so many wonderful EP teachers impacting my life, but specifically happy to honor Karen Brettingen whose guidance continues to have an impact on my business career 13 years after graduating,” she wrote when she donated.
Donations, silent auction bids, and ticket purchases can be made here. Anyone interested in becoming a Red and Black Gala Sponsor is encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
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