Educator Spotlight – February 2015

Educator Spotlight

educator spotlightAnnouncing the February 2015 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!

  • Kathryn Kelton – Literacy First Consultant – Avon Park, FL
  • Vicki McGoldrick – Teacher – Levittown, PA
  • Melissa Morgan – Teacher – Dallas, TX
  • Long Nguyen – Teacher – Chicago, IL
  • Flower Peoples – Teacher – Los Angeles, CA

Kathryn Kelton-pic-feb2015Kathryn Kelton – Literacy First Consultant

  • Avon Park, Florida
  • B.A. Elementary Education, University of South Carolina; M.Ed. Educational Leadership, University of South Florida; Ed.D.; Educational Leadership, University of Central Florida

How did you become a Literacy First consultant? 

Thirteen years ago, I went through the Literacy First process as a middle school intensive reading and content-area teacher. I became a more data-focused and process-driven teacher, and as a result, my students made great gains in their daily work and on the high-stakes state assessments in just one year. From there, I became a Secondary Instructional Specialist, supporting the teachers at my school in the Literacy First process. I believed so strongly in every step of the process modeled by our consultants, Dr. Valerie Collins and Dr. Paula Whittier; I wanted to be a more integral part of the Literacy First process and have the opportunity to share this model with others to impact student reading achievement on a bigger scale. With the support of Valerie and Paula, I began the steps to becoming a consultant. It was the most rewarding professional growth I have experienced to date. I have taken both what I’ve learned and what I’ve been privileged to teach in this process into every avenue of my career in education.

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

The opportunity to share the best research-based practices and processes with teachers and school leaders—then witness the excitement they have (and their students have!) when their students make progress—is probably the most rewarding part of being a consultant. This is where the process comes full circle for me. On an even more personal level, the professional support and collaboration from the other consultants continues to enhance my own growth.  Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen a little further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” I am fortunate to work with so many “giants.”

What is your greatest Literacy First consulting success story? 

I don’t think there is one story that I would consider my “greatest” success. Every step forward, every strategy used, every student who makes gains—are all success stories in my book. Any time a culture of learning is strengthened with teachers being empowered in their classrooms and students showing growth—those are the successes for which I strive.

What have you learned from your experience as a consultant? 

As a consultant, the learning never stops. When working with a school, I am just as vested in the success of the students as are the people in the building. Because of that, learning to listen is paramount in every relationship with all stakeholders in order for long-term, sustainable change to take place.

Vicki McGoldrickVicki McGoldrick – Teacher

  • Levittown, Pennsylvania
  • B.S. Psychology & Elementary Education, Rider University

Why did you become a teacher?

I’ve always loved to learn. Becoming a teacher was a natural way for me to continue my love of learning. I am constantly in pursuit of new methods to gain and maintain my students’ interest while providing them with creative instruction. Additionally, I am able to share this passion for learning and, hopefully, inspire my students to also become life long learners.

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?

I love utilizing the small group approach to truly meet the needs of my students. I can work with them on a level that allows the students to feel successful. I can scaffold lessons, increase the challenge and finally see the students understand that they can achieve what they want.

What is your greatest teaching success story?

Each year brings new challenges and therefore new successes. Choosing just one story would diminish the many accomplishments my students work so diligently to achieve. Every day in my Catapult Learning classes I could find a new success story to share; their stories are amazing.

What have you learned from your students?

My students continually teach me humility and patience. In their regular classrooms they are so often the ones making mistakes. Therefore, each and every time I misread, misspell or misspeak the students happily tell me that I’ve made a mistake. Fortunately, these are opportunities for me to show them that we all make mistakes, but with patience and perseverance we can work through, learn and achieve success.

Melissa MorganMelissa Morgan – Teacher

  • Dallas, Texas
  • B.A. English with minor in History, Texas Tech University

Why did you become a teacher?

I really just fell into this field originally. I wanted to be a novelist or an actress, and ended up with a degree in English over thirty years ago because it was the easiest course for me. My mother said “You should get a teaching certificate with that. It’s only practical.” She was right of course!  Much of the energy and creativity used in writing and acting are also useful in teaching!

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?

I like the combination of variety and continuity. There is great variety because I work with seven grade levels in three different schools, but continuity because I have worked with some of these students for several years, and I see their intellectual and academic growth in depth.

What is your greatest Catapult Learning teaching success story?

So many students come back with more confidence having worked with us in small groups, sometimes actually learning a concept ahead of the students in the regular classroom. This makes a struggling student very proud. I’m not sure how much credit I really deserve for this, but I had a kindergarten student who really just lacked confidence. By the time he was in middle school, he was in a prestigious advanced academics program. His mother would see me in the hall and say “There’s the woman who taught my son to read!”

What have you learned from your students?

The students have taught me to listen to them thoughtfully, and to never give up on them.

Long Nguyen PhotoLong Nguyen – Teacher

  • Chicago, Illinois
  • B.S. Business Administration, University of Chicago

Why did you become a teacher?

I became a teacher because I wanted to do something life-giving. I wanted to steadily impact the lives of my students and help brighten their futures.


What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?

I love working with at-risk students and helping them understand what they are learning.


What is your greatest Catapult Learning teaching success story?

My greatest success story is every time a student realizes that a teacher genuinely cares for their well-being.


What have you learned from your students?

I have learned to have more patience.

FLOWER PEOPLES pictureFlower Peoples – Teacher

  • Los Angeles, California
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills

Why did you become a teacher?

The reason why I pursued being a teacher is because I wanted to be a role model for my children. I wanted them to have a passion for learning. As a teacher, I have an impact on my students’ lives. I strive to immerse my students in a supportive and stimulating environment.

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning?

I like working with small groups. Catapult has given me the opportunity to motivate and interact with each student.

What is your greatest Catapult Learning teaching success story?

My greatest success story is about a student that couldn’t speak English but had a great passion to learn how to read. He was so excited. He is in his second year of college now. He visits Catapult when he is home. I was so inspired by him that I have been teaching at Catapult for over seventeen years.

What have you learned from your students?

I have learned to be a great listener. Many times you are the only person who can have a conversation with the student. The students have great ideas.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *