Hillcrest Kindergarten Teacher Named ‘Teacher of the Year’

(Gillette, Wyo.) Sara Reed, a kindergarten teacher at Hillcrest Elementary, has recently been named Wyoming’s 2018 Teacher of the Year and is receiving high praise for her efforts from school officials across the state.

Reed is the sort of teacher that every parent hopes is leading their children in the classroom, said State Superintendent Jillian Balow.

“She embraces the joys and challenges of teaching our youngest learners and understands that her impact reaches far beyond the classroom or a single school year,” Balow said.

Reed has been teaching at Hillcrest for 12 years and tailors her teaching needs by making a sincere effort to get to know each of her students, as well as their families.

She does her best to give each of her students the best start possible as they begin their education by ensuring they have a positive experience in her classroom. Reed is especially skilled when it comes to working with students that exhibit challenging behaviors, said Brad Winter, Hillcrest Elementary School Principal.

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“She actually requests to have students with known behavioral challenges in her homeroom because she is confident in her ability to help them learn to manage their behaviors and have a positive experience in kindergarten,” Winter said.

Reed further developed the Kindergarten Mentor Program at Hillcrest, a successful program that pairs together every kindergartner with a student in the sixth grade at the beginning of the school year, which could help ease the kindergartner’s transition into school. Under Reeds efforts, students are matched based on their interests, gender, culture and, for ELL students, language. Students in the program eat lunch together every day for the first month, transitioning to the last Friday of every month for the remainder of the school year.

Kindergarten and sixth-grade teachers coordinate with each other to establish times for the kids within the program to work on various projects such as writing letters and reading.

Winter said the program is one of the most positive and successful things ever done at Hillcrest that has eased the stress of starting kindergarten for multitudes of students and their families.

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“Sara Reed is one of those outstanding individuals whose personal mission fits their professional mission,” said Boyd Brown, Campbell County School District Superintendent.

Brown said that, during her 12 years as a kindergarten teacher, Reed has striven to meet the needs of every student in her class no matter the hardships they may be dealing with outside of school.

“She develops a personal relationship with each student and family and meets the learning needs of each student on a daily basis to create confident and successful students. Sara is leader in her school the district, and will be a great role model as the Wyoming State Teacher of the Year,” Brown expressed.

Reed will serve as an education ambassador for the state and, as the 2018 Wyoming Teacher of the Year, she is automatically in the running for the National Teacher of the Year Program.