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Thank You Teachers!
We Appreciate Our Teachers Every Day!
May 3-7 is National Teacher Appreciation Week! We've always been amazed by our Kent School District teachers, but this year we are especially grateful for our incredible educators who have gone above and beyond to support students in remote and hybrid learning. Please join us in showing your appreciation by sending your teacher a message of thanks.
Avi Barnes, Kent-Meridian High School
Kent-Meridian High School Upward Bound Teacher Avi Barnes says she is constantly learning from her students and always strives to support them and ensure they know they matter.
"I love teaching because it is the ultimate learning experience," Barnes said. "I am constantly challenged, adapting and kept on my toes, I love that there is rarely a dull moment. I support students by being a good listener, sharing that I care for them and that they are important. Being a consistent positive adult shows them how much they are valued, building their self-confidence both academically and socially."
Bonita Webb, Meridian Middle School
Our KSD Teacher of the Year Bonita Webb partners with Meridian Middle School families in their student’s education and supports them with everything from completing reduced lunch forms to providing homework help in the evenings and home visits.
“English language learners connect to academic instruction through their lived experience,” Webb explained. “I constantly help students make connections between their lived experience and the grade-level academic standards in English, math, science, and social studies. I take pride in learning about my students, their families, and where they come from."
Charles Harp, Kentwood High School
Kentwood High School Teacher Charles Harp goes beyond teaching his students advanced math like AP Calculus, he has dedicated himself to supporting and advocating for his students.
“I feel it is my paramount duty as an educator to give students more options in life,” he explained.
The Kentwood Administrative Team, including Principal Ketover, said that along with teaching advanced courses, Harp is a passionate advocate for struggling students.
"Mr. Harp served a longtime teacher leader in Kentwood’s after-school tutoring program called Conks 4 Success,” they explained. “In this program, he worked with students from all other math classes. He succeeded in building their math skills, developing their life skills, building their problem-solving capacities, and fostering their growth mindsets.”
Joshua Murphy, Kent Academy
Kent Academy Social Studies Teacher Joshua Murphy goes above and beyond to support his students. Perhaps most notably, he finds ways to get students excited about learning and tie lessons back to their own lives. He also supports Kent Academy’s students who participate in the annual National History Day competition, and last year he even had students make it to the national level.
“There are moments in teaching when you can see the passion a student has for something, anything, and it inspires me,” he said. “I try to make the core of our daily lessons substantive beyond just the content of my subject in the hope that it supports the students in the pursuit of their personal interests.”
Kelsey Anderson, Cedar Valley Elementary School
Cedar Valley Elementary School Teacher Kelsey Anderson was honored as the Covington Citizen of the Year this fall for continuing to go above and beyond to help support her students. Beyond inspiring her students in the classroom, Anderson fundraised to start a book program for the students in her class to receive one new book a month during the school year.
"My Book of the Month program would not be successful without the amazing donations from my family, friends, and local community members," she said. "I am so very thankful for their support and I hope to continue my program for many years to come.”
Sara Dacus, Northwood Middle School
Northwood Middle School Teacher Sara Dacus has always found ways to support students and staff, but she has gone the extra mile to provide support for students and families this school year. Dacus not only manages the Northwood library, but she provides valuable technology support and teaches the yearbook class.
"Mrs. Dacus worked with her yearbook class to find creative ways to put together a yearbook for a non-traditional year," Northwood Assistant Principal Celeste Schofield said. "Since the fall, Mrs. Dacus has provided tech support to students remotely and set-up in-person supports twice a week not only for tech support but also for library materials. She is continuously looking at ways that she can support not only students, but also Northwood staff."
Tanna Tingstad, East Hill Elementary School
East Hill Elementary Teacher Tanna Tingstad truly goes above and beyond to support her third-grade students and school community. Tingstad is a member of East Hill’s Ethnic Studies Committee and helped support their schoolwide learning projects this year.
“Our students have so much to say, it is up to us to listen and provide them with a platform to do so,” Tingstad said. “Our students constantly amaze us with their resiliency, dedication, determination, and insights both in school and in life, especially amidst the challenges of this past year. As a staff we learn more from our students than they do from us sometimes, and that's powerful.”