By Soyoung Jung
One East Greenwich teacher is singled out each year as the District Teacher of the Year. This year, Kristine MacLeod, a special education teacher at Frenchtown Elementary School, earned that distinction.
It’s humbling for MacLeod to be the teacher-of-the-year recipient. For her, all teachers who show care, dedication, and love toward their students deserve to be acknowledged. But, she’s the one who was singled out this year.
“I do the job that I do on a daily basis because I love my job,” MacLeod said this week. “Going to work each day is truly enjoyable. I enjoy working with children and with my colleagues. My job is very fulfilling and I love watching my students have success academically, socially, and behaviorally.”
For MacLeod, it’s amazing to see her students overcome difficult obstacles.
“I love thinking about where they start in September and being able to reflect on their growth and progress by the end of the school year,” MacLeod said. “Just by watching my students grow in different ways despite the struggles and obstacles they face are some of my memorable moments.”
“Kristine plays to a child’s strengths to build self-confidence and a growth mindset,” said Frenchtown Principal Maryann Crudale, who nominated her. “With this approach, she masterfully gains buy-in from the child and the learning takes flight.”
For MacLeod, the goal is to get her students to love school despite their struggles.
“My students know that I believe in them and that I’ll never give up on them which is something really important to me as a teacher and an educator,” she said.
As District Teacher of the Year, MacLeod will be able to participate in professional development opportunities with the other teachers around the state who were recognized. In addition, she will be invited to attend the “Achieving Excellence” conference in October. MacLeod and the other honorees also will be recognized at the WaterFire in Providence.
“I am elated for Mrs. MacLeod,” said Crudale. “The recognition by way of being named this year’s East Greenwich Teacher of the Year is so incredibly well deserved. She has dedicated her entire teaching career thus far to East Greenwich Public Schools, specifically at Frenchtown School. Kristine is a dedicated special education teacher who is a strong advocate for teaching the ‘whole’ child through inclusivity and authentic, hands-on learning experience.”
Crudale added, “Her professional collaboration with colleagues stretches beyond her classroom and throughout the Frenchtown learning community impacting students schoolwide and making her a valuable asset to everyone.”
It was MacLeod’s colleagues who advocated for her to be recognized. “I eagerly brought forth the nomination as it was presented to me by Kristine’s colleagues who wanted to recognize her passionate commitment to teaching that leaves the children with happy memories of their days at Frenchtown School,” said Crudale.
Parent Deb Hornung, whose child had Mrs. MacLeod as their teacher, said, “Kristine is an amazing teacher because she treats each of her students as her own child. She goes above and beyond to make sure every need of the child is met. In addition to meeting the needs of the child, she is always available to support the parent. She is a great asset to the EG School Department.”
Sarah Meleski, another parent, said, “Our family has been personally touched by the bright light of Mrs. MacLeod. She is special. She truly and passionately believes that each and every student can learn to read and thrive! Mrs. MacLeod gets to know each and every student and through positive words and reinforcement, she is able to expand their confidence in learning and create a love of learning for her students. Mrs. MacLeod’s enthusiasm and optimism is contagious. We are forever grateful for her compassion, empathy and bright attitude while leading our children to their individual success.”
As Kristine MacLeod reflected on her past achievements, she emphasized on looking forward to the future and teaching more students. She says, “I am truly excited to start every new school year. It never gets old for me. Especially because each year I have a new set of students with different challenges. I always look forward to supporting them and guiding them another successful school year.”
Reporter Soyoung Jung is a member of the EGHS Class of 2021.
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