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Citizen, business and educators of the year named

The Woodbury Chamber of Commerce has named its annual award recipients.

HealthEast's Roger Green is Citizen of the Year, Outback Steakhouse is Business of the Year, Diane Koschak from Valley Crossing Community School is Elementary Educator of the Year, Dr. Craig Butler from New Life Academy is Outstanding Secondary Educator and Cathy Habas and Jill Slaton make up the Outstanding Educational Team from Valley Crossing Community School.

Friends, family, co-workers and fellow community members gathered to honor and recognize these leaders during an awards ceremony at the chamber's sixth annual gala and silent auction held Jan. 25, at the Prom Center in Oakdale.

"The Sky's the Limit" was the theme for this year's event.

This year's winners are:

Roger Green, "Citizen of the Year"

Over the years Green has served the city of Woodbury on several commissions including affordable housing and the community land trust. He is currently chair of the Economic Development Commission. His position at HealthEast allows him to give back to the community. Green has been active in the Woodbury Chamber and was Board Chair in the early 1990s. He volunteers at activities such as the Woodbury Country Mile, Boy Scouts of America, Southeast Area YMCA and his church. He has been a Woodbury resident for many years.

Outback Steakhouse, "Business of the Year"

Outback Steakhouse has demonstrated first-hand in giving back to thecommunity. They have partnered with various organizations in helping to raise money by hosting meals at its Woodbury location, with the proceeds going the each organization. Examples of this include the Woodbury Royalty, a group walking for Breast Cancer and a Relay for Life Team. During Woodbury Days, all profits from their involvement go to the American Red Cross. Owner Ed Weibal gets involved with employees in organizing events and selling tickets.

Diane Koschak, "Elementary Educator of the Year," Valley Crossing Community School

Koschak is a music teacher who impacts the lives of many students. The performances and concerts she coordinates expose young learners to the arts and provide the opportunity for them to learn how to conduct themselves on stage, sing proudly, to work within a group, and speak in front of an audience. The performances build community and tradition. She also provides leadership to the school's Peace Committee. She has been a vocal music educator for 22 years, serving 12 at Valley Crossing. She is active in several metro vocal ensembles, including Minnesota Chorale.

Dr. Craig Butler, "Outstanding Secondary Educator," New Life Academy

Butler, a science teacher, brings complex topics and theories to a level of understanding for all students. He builds relationships with students as he engages them in discussions about college and career choices. Butler is involved in extracurricular activities at school, tutors students and supports the school's National Honor Society. As a community member, he is involved in his church, while reaching out to an inner city Spanish-speaking church. He is frequently found at school supporting students at many of their events.

Cathy Habas and Jill Slayton, "Outstanding Educational Team," Valley Crossing Community School

This pair of special education teachers was nominated by a parent who is appreciative of the effort they given resulting in the growth and development of their child. "They have taken my child from a troubled and lost first-grader who could not read and had poor social skills, to a wonderful, reading, socially accepted, adaptable second grader." The child's success is attributed to their diagnosis, and adjustable IEP, daily communication and advocating for him to all of his teachers.

The Woodbury Chamber of Commerce is an association of local businesses organized and committed to promoting Woodbury's economic, civic, commercial, cultural, industrial and educational interests.

Its mission is to be a leader in promoting the spirit of our city and helping to enhance a progressive business environment as well as to serve as the business voice of Woodbury.