Wichita School District has announced the 2012 Distinguished Classroom Teacher of the Year awards and our dear Esther received the K-2 teacher award. There were seven categories; new elementary teacher, new secondary teacher, primary teacher Pre-K-2, intermediate teacher 3-5, middle school teacher, high school teacher, and support teacher. To say we are very proud of Esther is an understatement!
Esther was told of her award a week or so ago. Brett took us to dinner to celebrate. We enjoyed a really great time at Famous Dave's (Esther's choice).
We had a fun time reminiscing how Esther began her teaching career. It was 1997. Los Angeles, and for that matter, the entire state of California, were really hurting for teachers. Esther was working in an insurance company and not happy. She had graduated from Westmont College the year before with honors in double majors. Rich was working "downtown" and had lots of contacts throughout LAUSD. He kept encouraging her to go into teaching and he'd work to find her a really "plum" position. Well, she agreed to give it a go but she wanted to find her job on her own. But thanks anyway!
She ended up way down in the southern part of the city, in a school that she felt was a "mission field". She began the school year mid-year. The school was so crowded that she shared a classroom with another teacher. One teacher and students faced one way in the room, the other teacher and students faced the other. Talk about being thrown into the lion's den! She went through the District Intern Program, where she received her CA credential. She taught there while Brett completed seminary and then they moved to Waco, TX, where she taught for four years before moving to Kansas.
So she's credentialed in CA, TX, and KS! She's had four babies during her career, supported Brett through his education, and received her master's of elementary education in 2011. All with a LOT of blood, sweat, and tears. Her "kids" are her passion and it really shows in her work. And for good measure throw in her roles as wife, mother and pastor's wife. She is "one kind of woman"!
Wichita School District has 50,000 students and is the largest district in the state. There are 61 elementary schools, so her award is really significant. The recipients will be recognized at a school board meeting in March, which we are looking forward to attending. At that time, an announcement will be made as to who will represent the district for the prestigious Kansas Teacher of the Award.
We are thrilled for Esther, Brett and their family to receive this honor! Esther's comment was "so Esther". She said, "I'm just happy for Cloud (her school) to get some positive recognition". That's like her, thinking of her school and students instead of herself!
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