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Rachel Ericksen named Kendall-Whittier Teacher of the Year

1st grade English and math teacher Rachel Ericksen has been selected as the 2021-2022 Kendall-Whittier Teacher of the Year!

One of her nominators said: "Ms. Ericksen is my son’s first grade teacher. Since the beginning of the school year she has welcomed my son into her classroom with kind words and a smiling face. Every day when I pick him up she is smiling and lets me know what a great day he has had at school. I also see her talking with other parents and children with a smile and encouraging words. She uses praise in her classroom to motivate the children to learn and have intrinsic motivation to do well. Ms. Ericksen individualizes for the children in her classroom. My son was ready to move on to the next lesson so she provided activities and lessons for him to do; she also encourages him to help the other students learn the lesson once he has mastered the skill. This provides him an opportunity to deepen his knowledge of the skill while also building leadership skills. My son wasn't fond of school, even though he does well, until this school year! He says he likes his teacher so much and is excited to go to school everyday just to be in her classroom. I truly believe a teacher makes all the difference in a child's development, and Ms. Ericksen exhibits qualities that make a great teacher: caring, knowledgeable, joyful, adaptable, effective communicator (at both the student and parent level), and patient. Ms. Ericksen guides the students at the first grade level to be independent, but with the understanding they are still learning how to be a student in a school setting. She deserves to be recognized as an outstanding teacher!"

Ericksen has taught at Kendall-Whittier for three years. She realized she wanted to pursue a career in education when she was in school to be a nurse.

"I worked a part time job at a children's center. During that time, I realized that I had so much joy watching and being a part of the growth of the children and watching them become their own individual. I switched my career path to elementary education, and it was the best decision for me," explained Ericksen. "Every day I get to be a part of a student growing and learning whether that is academic or socially. Teaching has become a true passion and I wouldn't want to be doing anything else."

She said her favorite part of the job is building relationships with students and her coworkers.

"First, I could talk over the moon about the staff at Kendall Whittier. It is a place where the faculty have become my family, and I love being around people that care so much about students and their school and would drop anything to help one another," she said. "Second, not only do building relationships in my own class matter and have an impact on me, but it is so important to build relationships with students throughout the building. I love to see students that I have had interacted with in the past or my future students that come up to me throughout the day and say hi or tell me about what is going on in their lives." 

Ericksen said she is blessed to teach in a "wonderful school with awesome faculty, inspiring leaders, and truly amazing students."