The Award-Winning Resident of A209 

Janean Mestnik is a former teacher of the year recipient and a longtime employee of Prior Lake High School. 

The Award-Winning Resident of A209 

Janean Mestnik is a longtime teacher here at Prior Lake. She has been teaching here for 29 years and truly loves what she does. 


Mestnik is one of the two math teachers available for seniors in pre-college algebra and is widely regarded as one of the better math teachers in the eyes of students. 


Prior Lake senior Jaemyn Brown said, “She is my favorite math teacher I’ve had in high school, and she’s very enthusiastic and not too hard on students.”


Jaemyn has been a student of Metsnik’s for the entire year. He enjoys her teaching because her style works well for him and many other students. 


The effectiveness of her teaching is reflected in the high average grades of her students. 


Mestnik has been teaching for 29 years and has spent all of that time here at Prior Lake. She loves teaching here, and her favorite part of the job is the interactions she has with her students. 


Mestnik said multiple times that she prefers working with seniors because she doesn’t need to implement as many rules since seniors will work harder with fewer restrictions. 


 “I enjoy teaching seniors because it’s a lot more fun and engaging to work with seniors because I think it’s great to question the rules. I think doing what you’re supposed to do and being kind is all you should need to do,” Metsnik said.


She also started a grading system that is very effective in helping her students get better grades. Her retake policy is truly unique and brings success to her students. 


The policy involves dedicating two days after the test completely to retaking the exams. Basically, you correct what you get wrong and then take a second version of the test with aid from Metsnik. This is to ensure that the material is actually learned and retained. 


She said, “In the end the thing that actually truly works, and it sounds stupid if grades really aren’t a thing you actually can focus on what you’re doing instead of this push and pull between the authority of points.”


She doesn’t even put the test grades in until we earn 100% on the retake. This ensures the students actually understand what has been taught instead of just passing.


She was voted teacher of the year in 2019 by her students and the other teachers in the building. She got the award the year before Covid hit and believes that she has improved as a teacher even more since then. 


One small thing the Mestnik also does is play music during every class period. She said this started during the Covid year when people had to wear masks and social distance.


She didn’t like how silent the room was so she played music. This was to try to have background noise so students wouldn’t feel uncomfortable talking. According to her, it worked very well so she still leaves it on to this day.


Small things like the music or the test correction policy are good examples of why Mestnik won teacher of the year. She said multiple times that she loves what she does and the people she meets doing it.