For Kim Threewitt, Extraordinary Educator at Southwest Elementary School, teaching is a collaborative experience. From her very first years teaching, more than 20 years ago now, Kim saw the value of sharing her classroom stage. During her first year of teaching, she co-taught her class with Mary Rodenbough, who is, in Kim’s words, “the Mary Poppins of first grade.”
“She taught each child like they were her own and made learning fun,” Kim recalls. “Her classroom was inviting, engaging, challenging, and a place everyone wanted to be. I soaked up all I could from her and knew that I wanted to form strong relationships with my own students because once they were established, anything else was possible.”
Today, Kim continues to lean into the expertise and perspective of her colleagues at Southwest, knowing that sometimes what works in one classroom won’t work in another.
“I love being challenged to come up with unique and varied lessons to meet the needs of my diverse student population,” she says. “I have been so fortunate to work alongside and learn from some of the very best in our profession.”
And Kim says she has Southwest and its staff of dedicated teachers to thank for this kind of continued collaborative mindset over her years of teaching.
“At Southwest, we recognize the unique contributions of every learner and encourage their diverse and creative thinking,” she says. “With strong leadership, and a ‘we’re-in-this-together’ attitude, there is nothing we can’t accomplish at our school. My teaching experience has been enhanced dramatically by working with a strong team of committed individuals who recognize that working hard, while loving what you do, makes everything better.”
Her mindset of collaboration is noticeable to her colleagues, particularly Southwest Elementary’s principal, Michelle Thigpen, who nominated Kim as their Extraordinary Educator.
“Kim is an amazing teacher that works collaboratively with her team to ensure that individual student needs are being met in order for the students to accomplish their goals,” says Principal Thigpen. “She is passionate about her work and dedication to the students.”
Today, Kim not only sees her collaboration taking place with her colleagues and co-teachers, but also with the students in her classroom. They are working together to create a space that cultivates learning and growth.
“The greatest compliment I can receive is that I have inspired students to be the best version of themselves because I believed in them and they knew it,” says Kim. “Our class motto is ‘Just do you!’ It is so important to remind kids of that because everyone is unique and has something to contribute. In our classroom community, everyone plays a part and has a voice. We learn with and from one another every single day.”
You can support Kim and her students at Southwest Elementary, by contributing to her Extraordinary Educator Amazon Wishlist.
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Photography by Maria West Photography
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