Educators Rising student working with elementary classroom

ABERDEEN, S.D. – A student organization at Aberdeen Central High School provides hands-on experience for future teachers. 

Educators Rising is in its third year at Central, with about 20 student members, said advisor Elizabeth Ketterling. 

“We're just trying to keep getting our name out because we want to get the kids into classrooms and help them as much as possible,” Ketterling said. 

Students have helped in elementary and middle-school classrooms, including shadowing teachers for the day, serving as guest readers and assisting with elementary music programs. 

At the state level, Educators Rising aims to combat the shortage of teachers, especially here in South Dakota. 

“Statistically, most kids teach where they grow up,” Ketterling said. “So, if you grow your own program like Educators Rising, getting our kids known in the school district and getting them out there is going to help give them an advantage.” 

Educators Rising students also take part in the organization’s state competition. Last year, current president Kylie Clemens was the only student to compete—and she won first place in her category, qualifying for the national competition. 

This year, at least seven students plan to compete at the event, which will be held in February at Northern State University in Aberdeen. 

Competition categories include creating an interactive bulletin board, creating a lesson plan, giving a speech about who or what inspired them to go into education, and even writing and illustrating a children’s book, among others. 

Ketterling said students are excited about the competition. 

“The state conference literally puts you in a room with 300 people who want to do the same thing and won’t ask you why,” she said. “That's really inspiring when you're with a bunch of other people who want to do this and no one's going to question you for a whole day.” 

While some of her students are used to their career choice being questioned by others, Educators Rising gives them a chance to gain support and collaborate with other future educators. 

“That’s why we have this group, so you can talk about your education, what you want to do and where you want to go,” Ketterling said. “We can support you.” 

The group meets every other Monday. Students who are interested should email Mrs. Ketterling at

About the Aberdeen Public School District 

The Aberdeen Public School District provides a comprehensive educational program to approximately 4,200 students in grades K-12, with a mission of empowering all students to succeed in a changing world. Our students receive the knowledge and skills necessary to reach their potential in a global community through high expectations of academic achievement; diverse educational opportunities; and community involvement in a safe, supportive environment. Learn more at