As a child, Kelly Morris had an unusual holiday gift request for her family.
"I asked my mom and dad for an overhead projector. They found one on eBay. I would line up my dolls and teddy bears to play a teacher in the living room," explains Kelly with a laugh. "Anytime my friends came over, I always played a teacher. It's all I ever imagined doing."
Fast forward two decades later: Kelly leads a classroom full of first-grade students at Hilltop Elementary. She's known for the high standards she sets for herself and students. As a third-year teacher, Kelly has turned her classroom into a student-centered community. Students are cared for deeply, and in turn, care deeply about each other and are invested in each other's social-emotional and academic development.
"Kelly's classroom is an oasis of joy and rigorous learning. When you visit her classroom, students may be dancing because of their academic growth and accomplishment, or they may be enthusiastically reading their texts with a fervor for growing their brains evermore," says Assistant Principal Corbin Busby. "She is truly an outstanding teacher that is deserving of recognition and praise for her high expectations for herself and her students and her daily commitment to excellence."
Her dedication to high standards, the education profession and unconditional love for her students are just some of the many reasons she is our Rookie Teacher of the Year.