Posted Date: 04/15/2021
Richard named a state semi-finalist in the Louisiana Excellent Educators Program
Kaitlyn Richard, a South Beauregard Elementary teacher, has been honored among the top elementary teachers in the state in the 2021-2022 Excellent Educators Program, according to Kari Ifland, Teacher of the Year Coordinator.
“Ms. Richard has been selected as a state semi-finalist in the Teacher of the Year program sponsored by the State Department of Education,” Ifland said. “She has been chosen as one of twenty-four educators and among only eight in the elementary division to be named a state semi-finalist.”
The Excellent Educators Program recognizes Teachers of the Year and Principals of the Year on the high school, middle school, and elementary levels for commitment to student success, excellence in their field, collaboration with colleagues, and demonstration of leadership and innovation in the classroom.
Richard has been a classroom teacher for five years and currently teaches second grade at the school.
She earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from McNeese State University, graduating as an honor student with a minor in Psychology. She is a 2011 Valedictorian graduate of South Beauregard High School.
Richard believes that involving students in an immersive educational environment is the key to making learning fun, engaging, and memorable.
She is inspired by the Benjamin Franklin quote: “Tell me and I forget; teach me and I may remember; involve me and I learn.”
Richard is passionate about thinking outside the box to bring a new perspective to teaching and learning.
Throughout the school year, her students will arrive at her door to find the classroom transformed into a new environment, and what would have been a normal, ordinary school day becomes something extraordinary.
Students enter the world of Fractions Pizzeria, StarBUCKS Café, NFL Touchdown to Learning, or Inferencing Class Detectives. By being immersed in these unforgettable learning experiences, students engage on a different level to apply their knowledge to fit the new environment.
“During these transformations,” explains Richard, “students must use the skills they have learned, providing them with a hands-on approach while giving them the opportunity to create, collaborate, and discover new levels of academic achievement.”
One crucial component of elementary education for Richard is independent reading as students learn how to read, how to comprehend their reading, and how to apply reading to higher level skills. Richard is passionate about bridging the learning gap from students learning how to read to them being ready to use their reading to learn.
“As a second grade teacher, I must continue to reinforce the phonetic teaching students began in first grade to ensure a strong foundation for reading while at the same time begin teaching my students comprehension strategies to better understand higher-level texts, which is essential for them to move into third grade,” she said.
Richard provides individualized instruction to meet each student’s needs as she strives to bridge the gap so that her students learn to love reading and become successful readers.
In addition to her teaching duties, Richard leads the second grade team at SBE, planning curriculum and writing pacing guides, as well as coordinating Culture Day for all the second grade students at the school. She is also the Dance Team Coach and Choreographer for the South Beauregard High School Dance Team, a program she inaugurated in 2011 with a junior high dance team that has grown to include the junior high team, a high school team, and a competitive band dance team.
“My ultimate goal is for all of my students to learn to their full potential while feeling empowered in my classroom,” she concluded. “If my students leave second grade with a love for learning and the confidence and knowledge to be successful, there is no greater accomplishment for me as their teacher!”
All Louisiana Excellent Educator semi-finalists are honored at the Excellent Educators Gala in July where the top teacher and principal are named and awards are presented to the honorees.