Sara Reed (far right) is pictured with State Superintendent Jillian Ballow after being named Wyoming’s Teacher of the Yeary. Reed is a kindergarten teacher in Campbell County School District #1. (COURTESY PHOTO / Wyoming Dept. of Education)
CHEYENNE — Sara Reed, a kindergarten teacher at Hillcrest Elementary School in Campbell County School District #1, has been named Wyoming’s 2018 Teacher of the Year.
State Superintendent Jillian Balow says Mrs. Reed is the kind of teacher that every parent hopes is in their child’s classroom, “Mrs. Reed is a selfless teacher that puts her students first at every turn. 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.”
Mrs. Reed was raised in a family of educators in Gillette, and has taught at Hillcrest for 12 years. She is known for making every effort to get to know each student and their families so she can tailor her teaching to their needs. She also incorporates “movement with a purpose” into her classroom to help her students improve in their reading and writing, and have far fewer behavior problems.
Hillcrest Elementary School Principal Brad Winter says Mrs. Reed gives her students a great start to their educational career by ensuring that they have a positive experience in her classroom and is especially skilled at working with students with challenging behaviors: “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.”
Mrs. Reed successfully developed the Kindergarten Mentor Program at Hillcrest, which pairs each kindergartener with a 6th grader at the beginning of the school year to ease the transition into school.
Mrs. Reed matches students based on interest, gender, and culture, making sure ELL students have a 6th grader that can speak their home language to them. The buddies eat lunch together every day for the first month of school, and then the last Friday of every month.
The kindergarten and 6th grade teachers work together to coordinate times for the buddies to do STEM projects, holiday projects, reading, writing letters, and educational games throughout the whole year. Principal Winter says the mentor program is one of the most positive and successful thing’s done at Hillcrest, and has helped ease the stress of starting kindergarten for many of the students and their families.
“Sara Reed is one of those outstanding individuals whose personal mission fits their professional mission,” says Campbell County School District #1 Superintendent Boyd Brown. “During her 12 years as a kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Reed has taken every student in her class and worked to meet their needs no matter what learning style they may have or other hardship 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 a leader in her school, the district, and will be a great role model as the Wyoming State Teacher of the Year.”
As the 2018 Wyoming Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Reed will serve as an education ambassador for the state. Wyoming’s Teacher of the Year automatically becomes the nominee for the National Teacher of the Year Program, which is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, sponsored by Voya Financial, Inc.