Every year, the Garretson School District selects one of our best to be recognized as the district’s Teacher of The Year.
The title “Teacher of the Year” is not only rewarding, but honorable, especially this year. Mrs. Kayli Coburn, Garretson Middle and High School Special Education Teacher, embodies the traits of an effective educator of those who most need effective instruction.
Mrs. Coburn started her teaching career in second grade, but was excited when she heard of an opening in the special education department. Without hesitation, she expressed her willingness to not only leave the general education classroom, but transition to an entirely different building/grade level to do so. Knowing how difficult it is to find effective special education teachers, or any at all, we welcomed her eagerness to give special education a try and have been nothing but pleased with our decision.
Timelines and deadlines in the SPED world take an immense amount of planning and organization. Kayli is always on top of these and has been commended by outside personnel that work in our district, as well as parents, for her consistency and timeliness when planning evaluations and meetings. She ensures that things are taken care of ahead of time when it comes to her absences as well.
Kayli offers staff and students a great deal of flexibility when it comes to scheduling. When planning for student instruction, Kayli communicates often with teachers, yet holds students accountable. She takes the time to learn how each of her students learn best, makes sure that classroom teachers understand her students as well, and is creative when needing to adapt instruction that isn’t working for a student.
Students feel safe and welcome in Mrs. Coburn’s room. Her calm nature, desire to know her students beyond the lesson she teaches them, and sense of humor, has helped her develop strong relationships with those she serves. Many students who no longer qualify for services, and even some that never have, seek her assistance, knowing she’s there to offer help when she has time. The same could be said of teachers and aides who work in the building – Kayli is always willing to lend a hand!
Kayli’s planning efforts during the school closure last year ensured that her students continued with their learning plans and got extra assistance if needed. She scheduled virtual meetings with all of her students and held herself accountable to being there for them. Kayli has had a plan in place for another closure this year, since October. Should our doors close again, her students will not miss a single day of special education instruction.
Kayli’s positive, can-do attitude, compassion for students, willingness to meet kids where they’re at, desire and skill to challenge students while helping them, and true love for kids of all ages, makes her a deserving candidate for Garretson’s Teacher of the Year. Congratulations, Ms. Coburn!