Sturgis Public Schools teacher Pam Keeslar has been chosen as the 2022 recipient of the John E. Oster Award for Excellence in Teaching. Keeslar was honored on Friday, May 6, at the 60th anniversary gala of the Sturgis Area Community Foundation.
Keeslar has taught with Sturgis Public Schools at Eastwood School for 24 years and holds a master’s degree in education. At Eastwood School, Keeslar goes above and beyond to support students and school activities. Currently, she serves a leading role in coordinating the before- and after-school KidsCare program in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County. She has also served on the school’s Lighthouse Team and regularly volunteers with school activities throughout the year. Outside of school, Keeslar serves on the board of directors for Thurston Woods Village, volunteers with her church at Locust Grove, and has held volunteer positions with the 4-H Club and St. Joseph County Grange Fair.
According to her peers, Keeslar holds her students to the highest standards and helps them reach their greatest potential. She leads her students through monthly “Pay It Forward” projects, and teaches her students the importance of giving to others.
“Pam gives to others constantly and is always doing everything she can to be sure everyone around her is successful, especially her students. She leads by example and always approaches tasks with a “student first” mindset,” shared a fellow teacher during the nominations process.
Pam Keeslar accepted the 2022 John E. Oster Award from Sarah Gardner, daughter of the late John Oster.
About the Award
The John E. Oster Award Fund was established in 1981 by JoEllen Oster to provide a permanent endowment to recognize teacher excellence in the Sturgis Public School system.
During the lifetime of John Oster he was deeply interested and concerned with appropriate recognition and reward for teachers who taught in the Sturgis School District. Prior to his death he discussed the means of implementing a fund which would provide an endowment to be given each year to a teacher in recognition of the teacher’s outstanding contribution to the Sturgis community and to the education and training of students in the Sturgis School District. The vision of the award was to also provide all teachers with the incentive to strive to improve their professional training and to reward them for extraordinary contributions made to improve their level of education.
JoEllen Oster, John’s widow, established the memorial fund for this purpose to be known as the John E. Oster Memorial Fund for Teacher Recognition. The fund is held and administrated as part of and by the Sturgis Area Community Foundation, thereby assuring its continued viability and to provide a vehicle for contributions from all donors.
The selection committee consists of John and JoEllen’s daughter Sarah Gardner, John Dresser, the Superintendent of Schools of the Sturgis School District, President of the Board of Education of the District, and a representative of the Sturgis Area Community Foundation. The selection committee makes its recommendation to the Foundation, which administers the fund.
Keeslar is the 41st recipient of the Oster Award.