Trine alumna Ratkowski honored for special education work

June 22, 2023

Alexa RatkowskiAlexa Ratkowski always wanted to give back to the community where she grew up.

Recently, her community recognized her for what she’s given.

Alexa, who graduated from Trine University with an elementary education/special education degree in 2020, recently earned the Special Education Elementary Teacher of the Year Award given through the Branch Intermediate School District’s Parent Advisory Committee.

Alexa has been with the district as an elementary resource room special education teacher since she graduated. She works in the Bronson (Michigan) Community School District.

She was nominated by two different people, one within the school and one from the community, and selected by a committee that votes on the award.

“I am humbled to receive this award and love that I get to go to work every day and be blessed by the children I work with,” she said.

Light bulb moments

Alexa has had a passion for working with children since she was young. After observing a special education classroom, she knew that was where she wanted to serve.

“The uniqueness these students have make every day enjoyable,” she said. “Seeing those students struggle for so long and then have light bulb moments is amazing and fills my heart.”

She chose Trine’s teacher education program after meeting with Tony Kline, Ph.D., then dean of the Franks School of Education.

“I loved that I could become dual licensed both in special education and general education and have future career options in both areas,” she said. “At Trine, I could also continue my love and passion for athletics by joining the volleyball team.”

As with all Trine education majors, Alexa got out into classrooms beginning in her first year. The multiple clinical field experiences she completed, along with the training in pedagogy, technology and classroom management she received from Trine faculty, have helped her succeed in her career as an educator.

“No two days are ever the same,” she said. “I love that I have a strong support staff and fantastic group of educators to work alongside to do what is best for students each and every day. I want to continue to support my students academically, socially and emotionally in a nurturing environment, so they become lifelong learners and are able to function independently in the 21st century.”

And she will continue to do so in the place she calls home.

“This district is where I grew up. It has always been my home and I want to give back to the community that did so much for me as a child,” she said.

News Information


Alexa Ratkowski
Elementary Education/Special Education
Class of 2020

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Trine-Built Story

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