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Grand Island, NE 68802
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Dodge music teacher selected to global Educators’ Neighborhood cohort


One Grand Island Public Schools educator will have the opportunity to step into Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood this year.

Sarah Wolf, a music teacher at Dodge Elementary, was recently selected to Fred Rogers Institute’s global cohort of Educators’ Neighborhood. 

Educators’ Neighborhood is a professional learning community of educators that is a project of the Fred Rogers Institute. As part of this community, educators engage with the life and work of Fred Rogers, and with other educators in formal and informal contexts. Since the beginning of Educators’ Neighborhood, the Institute has engaged with participants from 41 states and 10 countries. This year, the cohort will have nearly 200 participants from around the world.

Wolf, who is starting her eighth year as an educator and her third with GIPS, went through a competitive application process before learning she was chosen for the prestigious honor of being in the cohort. The news made for a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

“When I opened the email from the Fred Rogers Institute and read that I had been accepted to the 2022-2023 cohort, I immediately began crying tears of joy,” Wolf said. 


Being selected for the cohort has a deep meaning for Wolf. It was Fred Rogers’ impact on Wolf’s life that inspired her to become a teacher.

“...Being selected for such a prestigious opportunity by an institute directly founded by the icon himself made me feel validated as an educator--almost like having a career "seal of approval" from my role model,” Wolf said.

As Wolf grew up in a low-income family, she said she only had access to a few television channels in her family apartment. One of those channels was PBS. As a child, she said she watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood every day. 

“Mister Rogers fostered my love of learning, grew my understanding of and appreciation for diversity, and introduced me to the beauty of the world of music,” Wolf said. “His television program essentially provided me with a free preschool education that enabled me to be at the same academic level as my more affluent peers and gave me a strong educational bedrock upon which I could build in grade school and beyond.”

Beyond the academics and her love for learning, Wolf said Mister Rogers helped equip her with a foundation in social-emotional learning.

“Mister Rogers taught me how to embrace and constructively deal with my feelings,” Wolf said. “Most importantly, when he told me via his show on a daily basis that I made each day special by being myself and that he liked me just the way I was, I felt unconditionally loved and accepted; his positive nurturing of my self-esteem empowered me to become the person that I am today.”

Wolf said it is because of Mister Rogers that she wanted to become an elementary music teacher. She said she wants to continue to emulate his educational philosophies in her classroom and make a positive impact on her students, just like Fred Rogers did for her.

Wolf’s unique experience in the Educators’ Neighborhood cohort will continue to strengthen her skills as a leader, and will positively impact students.

“I am extremely excited to learn how to apply Fred Rogers' educational practices in my classroom in order to best meet the needs of my students!” Wolf said. “Additionally, I am looking forward to collaborating with individuals from across the world in order to enrich my knowledge of educational best practices on a global scale.”

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Mitchell Roush , Marketing & Communications
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