First Annual #KidsFirst Educator Awards

Last month, we announced that we would like to recognize educators who make it their mission to do what is in the best interest of kids. We realize that there are many issues to be fixed in education. But, we also realize that those issues will be fixed because there are so many good people in the profession.

These are classroom teachers, building administrators, district administrators, curriculum specialists, and education advocates who come to work each day and make an impact.

We asked our readers and colleagues to submit nominees for this recognition, asking them to write about a time when they saw the “Kids First” mindset. The nominations came in with stories filled with passion. The field is in good hands as this inaugural group of 38 excellent educators demonstrates.

Here’s a sampling of what was said about our honorees:

“…Beyond that, Meghan (Moore) develops a bond and connects with each student. If a student is having a rough day, she will do everything in her power to make that student’s day better. Her famous words are “make good choices!” at the end of each school day as we wave goodbye to the students as they board their buses.”

“…This past summer Mrs. (Kim) Sullivan worked with a struggling reader over several occasions on her own time. Why did she do this? Just so he would enter third grade with a little more confidence.”

“…Karen Baumann is dedicated to her students and to making a difference. I have learned so much just by watching her from afar. She fills my heart up when I see how much she truly cares.”

“…Ms. (Cynthia) Teykaerts goes above and beyond for all her students. When you walk in her room all her students are smiling because she is always smiling. She has and still teaches me so much I am truly inspired by her.”

“… Rachel Willard has started an after-school Kindness Club at her Title 1 school because she believes that kindness is one-size-fits-all! Disability? She’s got your interventions. Hungry? She’ll feed you.”

“…There isn’t one particular lesson that makes Johanna (Martinez) stand out from the others. It’s EVERY lesson she teaches her kids that will remain with them forever! Notice how I said, “Her kids.” She treats every child as if he/she was her own.”

“…She is mentor, motivator & cheerleader for each of her students and she’ll move Heaven & Earth to make sure they’re ready for Fieldstone and beyond. Putting kids first is second nature to Margaret Castellano.”

“…Jennifer Harrington is more than just an excellent classroom teacher. She wants her students to feel passionate about what they are doing and know that their voice can make a difference in the world. Everything she does, both in and out of the classroom, nurtures and empowers kids.”

“…Laura Sweeney, as teacher, a teacher-leader, and now as an assistant principal has one goal: to make schools a better place for kids. Her tireless worth ethic not only impacts kids, but inspires all of those around her.”

2019 #KidsFirst Educator Award Winners

Camera Shy Winners

Noreen Apicella, Jennifer Labier, Johanna Martinez, Lisa Moss, Rachel Willard, Andrew Marotta, Joseph Pizzo, Dr. Tracey Severns, Joseph Pangaro, Frank Rudnesky, Julie Palumbo, Michele Rispo Hill, Chris Nagy, Chris Duane