I would like to nominate Sherri Lords for the KSL Teacher Feature Award. I have had the privilege to work with Mrs. Lords, as her principal, for the past four years. Mrs. Lords has taught several grades at the elementary level, served as a teacher leader, and is now teaching fourth grade. In my 23 years in education, I have worked with teachers who are compassionate and dedicated, those who are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure students achieve, and those with the people skills necessary to make students and parents alike feel as if they won the lottery when getting this person as a teacher. What sets Mrs. Lords apart from others, is that she embodies all of these qualities and more.
If you spend any time in Mrs. Lords’ class you will notice the small things she does that seem to come naturally to her. She looks her students in the eyes, she kneels to get on their level, she frequently calls them ‘honey’ as she encourages them to do their best work. When a student answers a question wrong in front of the class, she kindly thanks them for an excellent try and lets them know she’s proud that they are willing to take a risk by answering. The majority of the children attending Red Mountain Elementary are at risk in some way. Nearly 80% live in some form of poverty including a high percentage of homeless children. Mrs. Lords welcomes each child into her school ‘family’ and makes each one feel as if they are her favorite. Students living in stressful situations come to school and feel safe, loved, and believed in.
Not only does Mrs. Lords create a warm learning environment, she also teaches with extremely high expectations. While some may say students coming from such at risk backgrounds can’t achieve at high levels, Mrs. Lords happily tackles the extra challenge of working with students who may not have parental support at home, a warm meal, or a soft bed to sleep in. She understands that her students will rise to her expectations and she keeps them high, offering her scaffolding along the way. Students look forward to her engaging science experiments, her hands-on learning, and her creative ways of delivering typically mundane content. Mrs. Lords is always the first to sign up for extra teacher training. She loves implementing new ideas and strategies into her classroom and she is always willing to model such methods for other teachers. She recently led a team of computer coders to a local competition. Setting our school apart as the only school on the elementary level to compete.
Each year I have a stack of requests from parents and future fourth graders asking if they can please be placed in Mrs. Lords’ class. Her willingness to go the extra mile every day, to stay in constant communication with her students’ parents, and to tackle even the toughest of students is apparent to all who know her. I can’t think of a teacher more deserving of this award.
– Amy Mitchell
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