Excellence in Teaching: Springfield educator takes ‘the time to know her students’

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Katelyn King became a teacher to make sure students had someone to care for and acknowledge them.

King, who teaches seventh-grade math, is in her fourth year at Hayward Middle School in the Springfield City School District and taught for two years in Cincinnati Public Schools.

King and three other teachers will receive the Excellence in Teaching award on March 27. The 34th awards program is sponsored by the Springfield Rotary Club, First Energy, The Springfield Foundation, the Greater Springfield Partnership and the Springfield News-Sun.

Each recipient will be introduced and will give a short presentation on what teaching has meant to them and the importance of being a teacher. Recipients will also receive a $1,000 check, a recognition plaque and an etched paperweight.

King said she became a teacher because she loves and cares about children and their education, but that it goes much deeper than that.

“Someone important in my life viewed school as an uncomfortable and stifling place to be because they didn’t learn the ‘normal’ way. Seeing the pain that it caused him, I wanted to go into education to make sure that those students who didn’t learn in the ‘normal’ way had someone to care for them and acknowledge them as learners and people,” she said.

When it comes to being inspired, King thinks of her English Language Learners because she said they come to school happy and ready to learn in an environment that’s foreign to them in a language that they’re learning.

“To come to school every day excited with the challenges of being in a new country shows commitment and bravery beyond education, leaving me inspired to go beyond a curriculum made for a ‘typical learner,’” she said.

Teaching means King gets to work and be a part of an environment that’s full of life and has allowed her to step outside of academics and look at the whole person.

King, who has taught fifth, sixth and seventh-grade math, said her favorite part is watching how students grow as both students and people.

“Teachers have the ability to build a child or break them. Being a good teacher means giving students the opportunities and confidence to persevere through tasks, in the classroom and in life, that they find unachievable,” she said.

King was nominated by colleague Kathryn Chadeayne, along with letters of support from colleagues Yvonne Shelburne and former student Ne’Zeria January.

Chadeayne said King is a compassionate educator because she understands school is more than test scores and puts the needs of her students first.

“She... has taken the time to know her students. She understands that teaching is relationships building, and if there is no relationships then there is no learning taking place,” she said.

Shelbourne added that King’s knowledge and passion to engage students instills a desire in them to learn and meet her expectations, and she ensures all lessons are accessible to all students, regardless if they need translated for those that speak other languages or different instruction for those with personalized plans.

To receive this award, King said it means she’s “doing what I feel like I’ve been called to do to the best of my ability” and that she’s grateful and honored to be considered “excellent in something so important as teaching.”

King received her Middle School Education undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati in 2017 focusing on Mathematics and English Language Arts.

2023 Excellence in Teaching Award

This is the fourth story in a four-part series by the Springfield News-Sun on the teachers in Clark County receiving the 2023 Excellence in Teaching Award.

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