Today’s Apple for the Teacher Award recipient is Kelly Simmons from Nathan T. Hall Elementary in Newark Valley nominated by Vicki and Piper Davis.
Kelly Simmons was my daughter’s third grade teacher at Nathan T. Hall Elementary School in Newark Valley last year. I first came in contact with her three years ago when my son was in the third grade. I looked into her classroom and saw a GIANT paper Chinese dragon hanging from the ceiling. I said “that’s the teacher that Piper needs.” Piper is an “out of the box” thinker and I wanted to be sure she had an environment that allowed that creativity and independent thinking to grown…and boy did it!
Mrs. Simmons has a very uplifting classroom. She is a high-energy teacher. She is a little ball of energy that keeps the kids fired up to do a great job. I was the “room mom” in her class and I would watch her teach. I was amazed how she could gently remind kids when they were not doing what they were supposed to be doing, sort out what she needed for the next lesson, all while taking time to listen tentatively to a child who needed to tell her a story. She takes the time every year to take many photos of her class during the many celebrations and hands-on activities, which are later incorporated into wonderful scrapbooks.
What I also appreciated was if her students were in a dance recital on the weekend, doing a school talent show in the evening or giving a presentation to the Board of Education; Kelly was there, cheering them on. She truly, truly cares about her kids and has a passion for seeing them do well in and out of school. Teaching is not just a job for Kelly… you can see it in her eyes and in her actions.
My daughter was very anxious entering Kelly’s classroom; she was not feeling great about her abilities. With Kelly’s enthusiasm, encouragement and high fives- Piper ended the school year as an A student and did fantastic on the state tests. She is very proud of herself. She started fourth grade in the middle school this year. Instead of going in with in trepidation, she was excited about it and is working hard to be on the honor roll. I don’t know if she would have gotten to that point without Kelly’s “push” towards success. It was hard to see her so sad though…knowing she would not see Mrs. Simmons every day…luckily she asked Piper back to be her room helper, so now she is enjoying another year with Mrs. Simmons- at least for three hours a week…
My daughter, Piper, and I have been waiting for months to nominate one of the most enthusiastic teachers in the area, Mrs. Kelly Simmons, for the Apple for the Teacher Award! I am glad we were finally able to do so….