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Caitlin Kennedy works to be a cheerleader for her students

Published on Wednesday, March 24, 2021

caitlin kennedy

Caitlin Kennedy took an obstacle she faced growing up and ran with it as she pursued her aspirations to become a teacher.

From a young age Kennedy wrestled with hyperactivity; she could not just sit still, and it was often a challenge to stay focused.

After being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, her parents were apprehensive about what that meant for her future. Kennedy struggled in reading and her inability to stay focused continued to hinder her progress.

Kennedy’s first-grade teacher treated her with care, understanding and patience. The teacher worked to carve out time to help Kennedy; she would send Kennedy home with a cassette player and an audio book to practice words. Even though she improved, Kennedy had to work hard to read effectively. She was later placed in the Gifted and Talented program – in college she learned that this meant she was “twice exceptional” as she had a disability but was still gifted in academic abilities.

Kennedy continued to face obstacles as she grew up. In high school she became more overwhelmed and fell behind in school work. Through self-reflection and growth, Kennedy was able to identify her path as a teacher and the positive impacts she could make.

She is now a resource teacher, focusing on math and E/LA, at Macedonia Middle, where she has taught for four years. She is her school’s Teacher of the Year, and one of eight semifinalists for Berkeley County School District’s Teacher of the Year.

Kennedy uses each day to work on increasing student engagement and empowering ownership.

“I use my high level of energy and excitement to be a cheerleader of my students helping them grown and understand themselves and their worth,” she wrote in her Teacher of the Year application.

Kennedy has served as the lead over special education at her school since 2017.  She has helped with BCSD’s teacher recruitment fairs to consult with fellow educators to help them find a position in the district. She is a First Priority Club sponsor, for which she helps students within her school by giving them a safe place to gather and worship, among other current and previous community roles.

The district Teacher of the Year is expected to be announced in May.