Teacher of the Year!!

For anybody who was reading me last year, you know that my son’s Kindergarten teacher was awesome, inspiring, and amazing.  I want to publicly congratulate her for winning Teacher of the Year for Cranford, NJ schools.  My letter to those in charge of selecting her says it all:

Dear Teacher of the Year Selection Team,

I would like to recommend that Brianne Falisi be selected Teacher of the Year.

I met Brianne in the summer of 2010.  At the time my son was five, and had just completed two and a half years in special ed Pre-K.  I was worried about my little boy.  Even though he was going to be mainstreamed, I wasn’t sure he could make it in “big kid” school.  He was coming from a class of eleven students and three teachers. He had been held and nurtured and yes, in that situation, he was doing fine.  But how would he do in a class of twenty?

And then I got Brianne’s letter.

In it, she was inviting families to a before-school-starts play date at the school playground.  She also invited us to take a look around the classroom, and take pictures.  In her letter she gave the kids a list of items to look for once they got inside and instructed them to give her a “super high 5 on the way out!!!!”  She signed it, LOVE.

I knew then that my son would be fine with this teacher.  I knew that she understood kids.  I knew that she would make Kindergarten a blast!

What I didn’t know, is that Brianne has a talent for getting to know individual students and teaching to each one’s strengths.  This ability helped my son reach his highest potential.  He learned over 80 sight words in Kindergarten.  He learned to read and he learned to be a good problem solver.  He also learned to take risks, and not be afraid in front of his peers.  That was all Brianne’s doing.

What I also didn’t know is that Brianne would enter my heart and make a home there.  As a staff developer, I have met thousands of teachers.  It is rare that I meet a teacher who has Brianne’s drive to learn more about the profession.  It is even more rare that I meet a teacher who so willingly opens her door to parents.  And I’ll bet I’d be hard pressed to find a teacher who sends more emails!!!!  Brianne certainly kept us informed.

During my son’s Kindergarten year, I found myself blogging about Brianne, wanting to to share her ideas with the world, wanting other K teachers to learn from her, wanting everybody to know–there ARE great teachers in the world and here’s one of them!

I am not at all surprised that Brianne has been nominated Teacher of the Year.  In my mind, I have nominated her many times over, and so have lots and lots of other parents and kids who have been lucky enough to work with her.

Thank you for considering my opinion.

Mom of a Recent Kindergarten Graduate,

Constance Foland

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