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Stephanie's Heroes: Educator of the Year

May 30, 2011

One Louisa County teacher has spent the last 27 years shaping young minds. Now school leaders are recognizing Teresa Mitchell, a kindergarten teacher at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.

“I Love seeing them come into my class,” said Mitchell.

Whether it's story time, a music lesson or a word bank assignment, she has successfully taught the 5 and 6-year-old the basics and then some. Mitchell says kindergarten is the foundation of education. That's why she works so hard every year to make sure her students make the grade.

“I think kindergarten sets the the whole school career for a child. If they've had a wonderful kindergarten experience it sets the tone. They learn to achieve and do well,” she explained.

These kindergartners are learning that message early on. Many of these kids started the year only writing and reading a few words. Now they're able to enjoy books on and above their reading level.

“Now we can read our favorite stories that we couldn't read when we were not in school,” said Ellen Rosson, one of Mitchell's students.

“Its like a light bulb goes off in them. They're just so excited to see that hey I read that word. That is just amazing to me. To take a child and see that you can get them from just knowing letters to reading fluently,” Mitchell added.

It's this enthusiasm and excitement that's getting Teresa Mitchell recognized as the Educator of the Year and a hero.

“I don't see myself as a hero. I see myself as a tool that helps to mold these precious little ones. I treat them as if they were my very own children. I love them. I'd do anything that I could for them in the future,” said Mitchell.

Even as these students complete kindergarten Mitchell still plans to play a role in their education. She vows to write to them over the summer, check on them in first grade and whenever they need her help.

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