Educator Spotlight – April 2018

 

Educator Spotlight 

Announcing the March 2018 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 colleagues in recognition of the positive impact they have on children and schools throughout the country. They are our very own shining stars!

  • Connie Legg – Teacher –  Lancaster, OH
  • Linda Phillips – Instructional Specialist – Mason, OH

Connie (left) and her daughter, Katarina.

Connie Legg
Teacher

Connie works beyond the walls of the classroom to serve the students and families of the Lancaster and New Lexington, OH, communities. She works in the evenings, is student-data driven, understands the importance of explicit teaching, and teaches to the interests of the child.  She is a valued partner in the school system and works to support others.  She is timely with correspondence and emails. Connie puts the needs of the students first and works to ensure students are supported in the classroom environment.  She is a true interventionist and is compassionate about her work and students.” – Stephanie Sterling, Program Supervisor

  • Lancaster, Ohio
  • Masters in Special Education – mild to moderate

Why did you become a teacher?
Teaching enables me to give something back to the world. I have loved working with and being around children all my life. In the years before I became a teacher, I taught my nieces and nephews and enjoyed it immensely. When my first career as a naturalist was bogged down in a hiring freeze, I decided that working with children was the most rewarding part of my naturalist experience. I went back to college and once I began teaching, I realized this was what I was meant to do. It is not always easy but always worth the effort.

What do you love most about teaching for Catapult Learning/NESI or at a Catapult Learning school?
The supervisors (Christine Rhoads, SueAnn Marie Korb, Stephanie Hargens, and Stephanie Sterling) make the biggest difference. They are extremely helpful and supportive. I feel appreciated and valued due to their highly approachable and positive manner. Knowing that you can seek help from your supervisors without fear of a negative reaction is imperative to a successful working relationship and an enjoyable career.

What is your greatest teaching success story?
When you teach special education, the successes come from small but steady gains with each student. The most important sign of success to me is the gains made in self-confidence, from building rapport with the student and the student’s realization that he/she can learn and improve like his/her peers. The conversations with the student when the student begins to take ownership of his/her learning is wonderful. One of my students recently self-corrected his reading rate stating that reading too fast was the reason he couldn’t answer the comprehension questions and asked to be allowed to reread it correctly. How amazing it is when your students are able to recognize what strategy works best for their personal learning needs.

What have you learned from your students?
They will surprise you! The student struggles, you try your best, the student can accomplish the goal one day but not the next. You continue the repetition to reinforce the goal, rethink your teaching method, and the student still struggles for consistency.  Then one day it clicks and they improve. Or . . . in one case, a student explained that he just had tough days but he had developed a strategy to help him refocus and attend to task. Bingo!

Linda Phillips
Intervention Specialist K–12

“Every time I see Linda she has a smile on her face. I can see and hear the excitement in her voice when she is working with her students. Her students are also eager to work with her, and I can tell from observing her lessons that the students feel safe and cared for in Linda’s classroom. Linda never hesitates to ask me questions and is eager to learn which is evident in her willingness to learn and use the platforms provided by Catapult.” – Carmen Art, Program Supervisor (Diocese of Cleveland), Catapult Learning

  • Mason, Ohio
  • Wright State University, Bachelor of Science in Nursing & Masters in Education

Why did you become a teacher?
A childhood dream come to fruition! Along my path to becoming a teacher, I earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, became a Registered Nurse, and pursued nursing in Oncology and long-term care. I quickly learned that nurses teach and teachers nurse! Transitioning from serving as a Clinical Director in an Alzheimer and Dementia unit to Summit Academy School for alternate learners was a natural segue. In the long-term care setting, I witnessed a neurobiological condition that manifested itself in behavior. When I began teaching in a school who served students with ADHD and on the autism spectrum, I realized that behavior is communication and that while the student may not respond to a traditional education, the learner within will prevail! This opportunity allowed me to fine-tune my strategies to meet their needs. I love learning, and my goal was to spread that love to my students!

What is your greatest teaching success story?
I taught a man through the Montgomery County Dayton Ex-Offender Reentry program. This man was released from jail after nine years of incarceration. Almost immediately upon his release, he sought a tutor to teach him to read and I had that honor. It was so heartwarming, and tender—to see this grown man learn phonemic awareness, sound out words, and read leveled books with eagerness, pride, enthusiasm, and patience. I received an award from the city for my volunteer work in the reentry program. When I spoke at the ceremony, I shared with the judge as well as the participants, that he and I had not known each other long, yet we bonded immediately over a shared passion—reading! I believe that removing obstacles to illiteracy has a profound impact upon the individual, community, and the world.

What have you learned from your students?
How to teach!!! I am still learning from students the strategies that need to be changed, fine-tuned or thrown out! I have learned about each of my students, both as a student and a human being. Imparting the skills for reading can strengthen relationships, empower, and broaden our ability to view the world! I have learned that fostering independence is the key to learning all things and that there is a pride, energy, and power inherent to learning. As a proponent of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence, I say to my students, “The question is not ‘Am I smart?’, yet ‘How am I smart?’” Experiencing a student’s relief—and realization—that they have a meaningful contribution to the learning community is a joy for me and a powerful lesson to the individual learner!

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