Teachers are Heroes: Sedgefield Middle's Kirsten Kelly is dedicated to student success
Published Thursday, April 12, 2018
Ms. Kirsten Kelly shakes the hands of board members at this year's Teacher of the Year recognition meeting. (BCSD photo)
Organized chaos – that’s how Sedgefield Middle School’s 2018-19 Teacher of the Year describes her teaching style.
Ms. Kirsten Kelly says she puts the children in her art classes first, and she believes to be a successful teacher on the middle school level, you have to be creative, enthusiastic and willing to try new things and new approaches.
She also believes in perseverance and dedication.
"Teaching is not always easy," she said. "I keep coming back because I truly love my students."
It’s a mentality that Ms. Kelly takes into other areas of her life.
"I also rock climb, and that dedication to the task at hand has really helped me to climb to my potential. There have been days when I HATED climbing, but I can't back down from a challenge. So I just keep doing it."
Sedgefield Middle School Interim Principal Rebecca Davis confirmed it’s Ms. Kelly’s dedication that makes her a hero to children at the school.
"Ms. Kelly is always willing to assist in anything we need help with at Sedgefield Middle. Students absolutely love being in her art class, and she has a very large group of students who stay after school a few days a week for art club. She has wonderful ideas and always has a plan to turn those ideas into reality," Ms. Davis said.
Watching her students create from an idea is what Ms. Kelly lives for. She said it’s her favorite aspect of teaching.
"They surpass my expectations on a regular basis," she said of those moments.
Topping her proudest moments as a teacher are the times in her 8th-grade class when she’s able to look up and see EVERY student engaged and working on projects.
"It was the best thing I have ever seen," she said of one such experience.
Ms. Kelly decided she would become a teacher when she was a freshman in high school. She was further inspired by college professors and continues to be inspired by fellow educators.
"I often hear their voices in my head as I teach different projects," she said. "I was inspired in their classes both as an artist and as an educator."
Ms. Kelly said the best part about teaching in Berkeley County School District is the "respect" given for the arts.
"I can't even begin to explain how huge of a deal it is that we have our own coordinator for visual arts. It’s a complete game-changer."
Ms. Kelly is a graduate of High Point University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Art Education.