Educator Spotlight: January 2014

Educator Spotlight

educator spotlightAnnouncing the January 2014 Educator Spotlight honorees! Congratulations to our educators.

The Educator Spotlight is a monthly feature on our Catapult Corner Blog. The educators that are highlighted are nominated by their Catapult colleagues in recognition of the positive impact they have on children and schools throughout the country. They are our very own shining stars!

  • Melissa Evans – Literacy First Consultant – Howe, TX
  • Theresa Flores – Teacher – Chicago, IL
  • Billy McKeon – Teacher – Chicago, IL
  • Emma Sarsfield – Teacher – Greensburg, PA

Melissa Evans-LF Consultant-Educator SpotlightMelisssa Evans – Literacy First Consultant

  • Howe, TX
  • BS Elementary Education/Psychology (Univ. of North Texas), MA Reading Specialist (Texas A&M), Educational Administration (Texas A&M)

How did you become a Literacy First consultant?

I have to admit that I became a Literacy First consultant “by accident!”  I was the Director of Curriculum and Instruction in a school district.  We were concerned that we still had a few students that would slip through the cracks each year.  I was searching for new reading strategies and attended a workshop presented by Bill Blokker at our Educational Service Center.  I knew immediately that what he said made sense and would bring consistency to our reading curriculum.  After visiting with him after the session, I left with a belief in the value of Literacy First and he had gotten me to agree to attend consultant training!

What do you love most about being a consultant for Literacy First?

I love seeing the change in schools and districts during the Literacy First Process.  At the starting point, teachers and administrators may have a bit of anxiety.  That evolves to excitement, celebration, motivation and increased confidence as teachers and the leadership team experience the joy of improved student achievement and a more collaborative work environment.  Students look forward to coaching day visits so they can demonstrate what they are learning.  It is wonderful when teachers begin to share the positive changes that they have seen in the classrooms and on campus.   Literacy First plays an important role in guiding school teams to reaching the goal of student success.

What is your greatest Literacy First consulting success story?

It is hard to limit my consulting experiences to one success story.  Any time a student shows growth, a teacher becomes more effective and a leadership team participates and supports the staff in this endeavor it becomes my favorite story.  I have been so privileged in my years with Literacy First to work with many fine administrators and teachers that have kept the focus on learning for all.  I have watched many classrooms transform to student engaged learning environments.  I am grateful for the educators that go out every day with the intent to help students experience success. I am honored to be a part of their journey.

What have you learned from your experience as a consultant?

Being a consultant has reinforced that change can be frightening.

Being a consultant has reinforced that students will achieve when given appropriate instruction.

Being a consultant has reinforced that true change is systemic.

Being a consultant has reinforced that teachers want to make a difference in students’ lives.

I have learned that being a part of the change process is extremely rewarding professionally and personally.  Each day requires the skills of problem-solving, creativity, encouraging and sometimes counseling.  Educators are some of the most caring individuals and are willing to do what it takes to prepare students for a promising future, including allowing a consultant in enter into their educational world.  Learning then becomes a shared activity—a true lifetime adventure.

Theresa Flores-Teacher-Educator SpotlightTheresa Flores – Teacher

  • Chicago, IL
  • Reading & Math
  • BS Elementary Education (Univ. of Illinois at Chicago)

Why did you become a teacher?

I like children.  I like helping children learn and develop as they pick up new concepts in school.  There is nothing more rewarding than watching a child finally understand a concept that he has been struggling with for a long time.

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?

I love the ability to work more closely with students.  I feel like I can get more done because of the small class sizes.

What is your greatest Catapult Learning teaching success story?

I had a student in 2nd grade who came back from summer vacation and told me that he couldn’t remember how to spell his name or read any words.  I asked him why he had forgotten all the things he learned in 1st grade.  He told me that he had spent the summer in Guatemala and they had no paper or books there.  We spent much of the first quarter relearning phonics skills and concepts that he had forgotten.  We were able to make great strides in his learning.  We read many books.  By the time the 2nd quarter rolled around, he was able to write his name and read at the 1st grade level.  By the end of the year he was reading better than all the other students in his group.

What have you learned from your students?

I have learned that students learn in many different ways and not every method will work with every child.  You really need to get to know your students in order to understand how they will learn.

Billy McKeon-Teacher-Educator SpotlightBilly McKeon – Teacher

  • Chicago, IL
  • Math, English/Reading
  • BS Elementary Education/Mathematics

Why did you become a teacher?

I became a teacher because I love working with kids. As a lifelong athlete, I also thought it would be important for me to continue to work with a group of people. One thing I always loved was being a part of a team. Being an educator not only allows you to be a part of a team, but also the captain of the team in your room.

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?

The best part of teaching for Catapult Learning is having the opportunity to see a student grow to learn at new heights. Working with small groups of students allows you to see this.

What is your greatest Catapult Learning teaching success story?

Catapult has provided me many fulfilling and successful stories.

What have you learned from your students?

In Catapult and in the teaching profession in general it could be said that teachers learn more from their students than the students learn from their teachers. One thing that will stay with me always is the persistent effort the students put forth in order to be successful. For some students school comes easy and for others it takes much work. Seeing teenagers who are willing to do the extra work in order to be successful has pushed me to also put forth the extra effort to ensure their success.

Emma Sarsfield-Teacher-Educator SpotlightEmma Sarsfield – Teacher

  • Greensburg, PA
  • Math
  • Duquesne University

Why did you become a teacher?

I became a teacher because I love working with children and want to make a difference in their life.

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?

I like working with small groups and the flexibility that I have in my class.

What is your greatest Catapult Learning teaching success story?

I have had many successes over the years, but one of my favorite was when a mother asked me if I would work with her son.  He had gone home and asked if he could be part of my class because I could “fix him”.  He is now excelling in high school.

What have you learned from your students?

I have learned so much from my students. One of the most important things I have learned is how much we influence our students. I try to be a positive role model for my students and to make the most of my time with them.

Catapult Learning has long recognized that our teachers, coaches, specialized services professionals, and consultants are the foundation upon which our company stands. We literally wouldn’t be here without their tireless efforts to help struggling students succeed!

Thanks again to all of this month’s honorees! You can thank them too, please leave your comments for our educators below!

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