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Meet the 2015 Main Line Parent A+ Educator Awards Honorees

We asked, you responded, and as we slowly start to think about another exciting school year again, the Main Line Parent team is thrilled and honored to announce to you the 9 finalists in this year's

Here’s how the contest works: our team read over 95 nominations, each endorsing local teachers, coaches, administrators, counselors, and tutors throughout our region who are helping their students thrive. We narrowed the field to the 9 finalists below. Throughout August, we’re asking you to vote for your favorite A+ Educator in one of two ways:

 

  1. Read the profiles of our 9 finalists and write an endorsement comment on your preferred winner below (worth 2 points).
  2. Vote with the click of a button on the form below (worth 1 point). It’s so easy!

 

Read below to meet the educators you selected as this year’s finalists. These are educators who, according to your nominations, are doing simply amazing things in their classrooms. They are connecting with children, inspiring great work, calming the fears of parents, and making a profound impact on the futures of our community’s most precious resources — our kids.

 

Voting closes August 28, 2015, at 5 pm. The winner will be announced at our Main Line Parent Academic Evening event at The Radnor Hotel on September 22, and will receive a $500 grant for their school or the educational charity of their choice.

 


Meet the 2015 Main Line Parent A+ Educator Awards Finalists

Elizabeth Becker

Head of Lower School, The Baldwin School

IMG_0433Reason you went into education: I went into education for the same reason as many other educators – to make a difference. However, my decision to pursue teaching actually came in part from a desire to bring joy to others. I grew up watching The Carol Burnett Show and I thought that it would be wonderful to make people smile and bring that same kind of happiness to others. My councelor quickly pointed out some things that were not immediately obvious to me – like I had absolutely no acting experience and actually was one of those students who purposefully tried to blend into the background. I realized then that my calling had nothing to do with being in the limelight. My calling was to try to bring out the best in others and help others to see the best in themselves. She then suggested to me that if I really wanted to bring happiness to others and make a difference in the lives of others then I should consider a career in education. It was the best advice I ever received. I truly cannot imagine doing anything else.

Favorite way to engage with your students: My favorite way to engage with students is by establishing positive student-teacher relationships. I try to get to know each and every student on an individual basis. I also want to show each student that I respect them and that the most important thing for me is to earn their respect.

 

Biggest impact your students have made on you: The biggest impact my students have had on me is the amount of pleasure they bring to me each and every day. I went into education to make a difference in the lives of children. Instead they have truly made a difference in my life and brought me a great deal of happiness.

 

Mary Borden & Jamie Boult

Pre-K Teachers, St. David’s Nursery School

BoultMary BordenReason you went into education: I believe being an educator is simply a part of my DNA. I have spent my career doing my best to encourage growth, foster independence, inspire the love of learning and create positive and compassionate citizens. I am blessed to be able to do what I am passionate about on a daily basis. (JB)

Favorite way to engage with your students:My favorite way to engage with my students is by listening. It sounds quite basic, but as adults we sometimes talk over children or jump to conclusions about their actions. By taking the time to really listen to what they are saying, I see their motivation and am less likely to be judgmental. I learn what they are interested in and what makes them laugh. By listening to them talk to each other, I see their kindness and how quick they are to forgive each other. By listening to each other, we make a connection and it is those connections that make our class a community. (MB)

 

Biggest impact your students have made on you: Working with children is invigorating and uplifting for me. I go home at the end of each day tired, but excited to return. (JB)

 

Lisa Marie Eleftherakis

First Grade Teacher, East Goshen Elementary School

pic for contestReason you went into education: I have always wanted to work with children from the time I was a small child. It was my second grade teacher who inspired me to want to be a teacher. She always made it a point to show that she truly cared about her students. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children. I find great satisfaction in helping children grow academically, socially and emotionally. I take pride in what I do on a daily basis. It is my goal every school year to set a foundation of a trusting and comfortable environment where each child feels loved and appreciated. I want them to feel comfortable to make mistakes and learn without feeling embarrassed. It is not a job to me, but a privilege to help mold the future of tomorrow by helping each and every student succeed in their own unique way.

Favorite way to engage with your students: I feel that the best way to engage students is by talking to them about what they know, finding out what they want to know and then exploring a subject area together. I show excitement in what I am teaching and let the children share in that excitement with me. I get them curious by asking them questions but also having them ask questions.

 

Biggest impact your students have made on you: I think the biggest impact students have made on me is bringing their own unique abilities and personalities into the classroom each day. There are points in my school day where the students become the teacher and I become the learner. They teach me how to be patient. They show me how to explore through the eyes of a child.

 

Kristy Goggin

First Grade Teacher, Chatham Park Elementary School

FullSizeRenderReason you went into education: I have so many reasons why I decided to be a teacher, but the most important one is that I love working with children. Every day is different, and my students allow me to make a difference in their lives. My hope is that each child recognizes and reaches their full potential; and if I can help in any way, I’m thrilled. It’s exciting to watch my students succeed and to know that I may have had a small part in their developmental growth, which makes me feel proud. My only hope is that I can inspire all my students and help them do their best.

Favorite way to engage with your students: One of my favorite things about being a teacher is that I get to interact with many people throughout the day. When I meet people, I recognize their enthusiasm immediately. Because of this interaction, one thing I always try to remember is to be as enthusiastic as I can be. I want to make it apparent to my students how much I enjoy teaching.

 

Biggest impact your students have made on you: The personal relationships I have forged with my students and their families have impacted me greatly over my tenure. I often run into students who have now graduated college and are involved in all aspects of society developing in their own special way.

 

Shannon Klick

First Grade Teacher, Coopertown Elementary School
DSC01021 - Version 2Reason you went into education: My passion for teaching started with my younger brother. Despite struggling with a learning disability at a young age, I always knew he had great potential. Being his older sister, I naturally wanted to support him. Working together side by side, I found tapping into his strengths made me feel proud. Watching my brother become a successful business developer, husband, and father has become a feeling that extends beyond the feeling of a proud big sister. I learn from him on a daily basis.

 

Favorite way to engage with your students: I love getting to know each child as an individual. Every child is unique and making connections within the classroom is vital. I believe children are naturally intuitive. They know when you are invested. Believing in your students goes hand in hand with challenging them to reach that next level.

 

Biggest impact your students have made on you: My students teach me about life daily. Though young, my students genuinely see the best in everyone. They are warm, welcoming, and quick to lend a helping hand.

 

Kimberly Michaels

Second Grade Teacher, Rose Tree Elementary School
Scan0004Reason you went into education: It’s really true that my love of education began with my wonderful first grade teacher, Mrs. Schry. Because I loved school, my teachers, my friends, and the opportunity to get involved, my only career path was to continue in a setting where I could make a difference in children’s lives. I need to be in a work environment where a child can feel safe, respected, and cared about on a daily basis.

 

Favorite way to engage with your students: It sounds so simple, but the best way to engage with my students is to LISTEN to them. Obviously, I listen to their academic talk, but I also learn so much from conversations about their lives both inside and outside the classroom. I attempt to interact with them closely and develop a sense of classroom community, not only during morning meeting but when they read and learn, and want to share their experiences and stories. I enjoy coming to special events outside of school like Winter Carnival and the Strawberry Festival to interact with students and their families. Knowing I care deeply about them as an individual has a profound impact on my students’ well being and feeling of inclusion, competence, and confidence in the classroom.

 

Biggest impact your students have made on you: Every adult should have the privilege that I have of seeing the world through the eyes of a child day in and day out. They reinforce the realization that we all have strengths and needs. Caring about the needs of the whole person reminds me that my job is to provide not only for their academic needs, but for their behavioral, social, and emotional needs as well. When I witness their curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, I can’t help but be reminded that we should all be lifelong learners. Being with children is constant reinforcement to be kind, treat other people the way you want to be treated, cooperate, and make and keep good friends.

 

Martha Rappaport

2s & 3s Teacher, Kesher Isreal Preschool
photo (5)Reason you went into education: After earning a Bachelors degree in psychology, I realized that I was drawn to educational psychology specifically and the individualized learning styles of special needs students: this led to a Masters Degree in Special Education. In addition to psychology, I had always loved interacting with children, so becoming a teacher seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine my two life passions. For many years, I had the pleasure of helping special needs children gain skills, confidence, and a love of learning. After my youngest child began elementary school, I was fortunate enough to be hired to teach 2 and 3 year olds at the wonderful preschool he had attended, an age group I quickly fell in love with.

 

Favorite way to engage with your students: My favorite way to engage my students is through activities that spark the imagination and create wonder. With 2s and 3s this can often be done simply by asking a question: “What if…?” and then letting the children’s imaginations and questions carry us into activities that naturally develop their language, motor, and social-emotional skills, as well as provide us with a ton of fun. I love when parents share stories with me of how excited their children became at home about something we talked about in class!

 

Biggest impact your students have made on you: The biggest impact my students have made on me is the daily reminder that teachers are entrusted with an awe-inspiring responsibility. We are the gatekeepers for these young minds entering a world of possibilities, and it is my pleasure to help them make the most of their journey. My little preschool friends may not remember my name in years to come but it is my deepest hope that they will carry with them the sense that school is a place for learning, questioning, experimenting, laughing, and feeling accepted.

 

Linda Reilly

First Grade Teacher, Our Lady of Mercy Regional Catholic School
IMG_4132Reason you went into education: I have wanted to be a teacher ever since I was in sixth grade. I give credit to my teacher, Mrs. Bainbridge, for my calling. I cannot pinpoint what it was about her or her teaching style that got me hooked. I can say that it had such a profound impact on me that somehow I knew that I, too, wanted to be influential in the lives of young children. Knowing that I could possibly make a difference in someone’s life was the reason I went into education.

 

Favorite way to engage with your students: I relate as many lessons as possible to my personal life, past and present. My classes have always loved hearing stories of my youth. I believe that they soon realize that I was just like they are now. Yes, I am their teacher, but obviously I was once a child and they appreciate that. My students also enjoy hearing the stories of the shenanigans that go along with being the mother of three boys. Not only do I get to know my students individually as the year progresses, but they get to know me on a more personal level. I believe that developing a good rapport with your students makes for a happy, enthusiastic classroom where the children are eager to learn.

 

Biggest impact your students have made on you: Nothing is more rewarding than when a struggling student suddenly has that “aha moment” or when things really start to click for that child. Certainly every student’s success is important as success builds self-confidence. As a first grade teacher, I believe that I am laying the groundwork for an academic life, and providing opportunities for achievement is essential. The frustrated student may want to give up or even shy away from the spotlight. Letting my students know that they can succeed and giving them the tools to do so is a necessary part of my job. When it finally comes together for that student who has not experienced the successes that his/her classmates have come to expect, I realize that I have made a difference in the life of that child.

 

Alison Troy

Kindergarten Teacher, New Eagle Elementary School
ali picReason you went into education: I went into education because I have always loved the curiosity and the excitement children have when learning something new! I started babysitting at a young age and loved the enthusiasm the kids show towards everything they do. It is contagious!

 

Favorite way to engage with your students: My favorite way to engage with my kindergartners is by doing a hands-on learning game or activity. I love when they are learning and they don’t even realize it! I also love reading with kids in small groups so I can see their excitement when they read a tough word or are able to make connections between the story we are reading and a story we read last week!

 

Biggest impact your students have made on you: There are SO many ways the students impact me that it is hard to pick just one. I think they keep me excited about teaching, they give me hope in our future generations as I watch them overcome challenges, they wear me out, and I always leave school ready to come back the next day to see what great accomplishments the kids will achieve! I have to say that working with students with learning and/motional issues are my best challenges as I love when they have small successes and great days!

<p>CONTRIBUTING WRITER</p>

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