RANDOLPH, NJ- Science Teacher Kelly Reid was selected as this year’s Teacher of the Year at Randolph Middle School. Ms. Reid began teaching at the middle school in September of 2002. Over the course of her time with the district, she has taught 6th and 7th grade science utilizing inquiry-based instruction in her classroom. Ms. Reid received two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Elementary Education and Liberal Studies with a concentration in Math and Science from Rowan University. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors. Ms. Reid also holds a Master’s degree in Education which she received from the College of New Jersey.

In addition to teaching, Ms. Reid has played many different roles outside of the classroom. She was an active tutor helping students in math, science, and study skills at various grade levels to meet curriculum goals. She was also a summer camp Science Director where she taught science classes for grades 5th through 8th where she coordinated age appropriate activities daily in subjects such as chemistry, physics, biology, archeology, and ecology. Ms. Reid is a member of several professional associations including the National Science Teacher Association, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the New Jersey Education Association. She has played a part in the modification of district science curriculum, and plays an active role in cross collaboration with other departments and teams of teachers. She has continued to work diligently to develop professional training in areas such as differentiated instruction, cooperative learning, and responsive classroom.

“I am proud to be a teacher because I can help educate, inspire, and encourage our youth. This is a profession, especially now, where teachers must persevere, stretch out of their comfort zones, reflect often, lead by example, and collaborate with others to learn new practices to motivate and uplift students.” Ms. Reid said. “My greatest influence in choosing this calling was because of my 5th grade teacher. Today, I am guided by her qualities and excellence in teaching. She encouraged me to do my best, persevere, and achieve my goals while she took a personal interest in me as an individual. Today I motivate students to do their best work, support them when they are struggling, celebrate their successes and help them learn from their mistakes. There is no better feeling than to see the excitement in my students’ faces when they are successful and proud of their accomplishments.”

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Ms. Reid is constantly making modifications and adjustments to help all of her students achieve success at their own level. She believes that good classroom management helps to accommodate individual differences and needs. Ms. Reid also believes that its important to keep up with new trends in education. She loves to incorporate technology into her classroom to help enhance and enrich student learning. “Technology connects students to the world. I have used several new technologies this year to keep students connected, engaged, and interested in the science curriculum during the pandemic,” Ms. Reid said. “These platforms include HelloSmart, Pear Deck Flipgrid, Padlet, Wakelet, and Kahoots. All of these platforms are interactive which allow students to participate with each other and see results which develop into great classroom discussions. During this time of social distancing, technology is a great way to build a sense of community and keep those interpersonal connections alive.”

Ms. Reid emphasizes the importance of social emotional learning in her classroom by having students participate in advisory activities. These opportunities allow students to learn ways to be responsible, empathetic, and kind while promoting belonging, significance, and fun into each child’s learning environment. Using her training in responsive classroom, she has created advisory activities on the power of words, creating success plans, perseverance and growth mindsets, the importance of teamwork, and self-perception. These lessons have helped Ms. Reid build a strong community in her classroom while also contributing to a positive school climate and culture. When students can see their teachers care about them personally, not just academically, she believes that students won’t feel alone and struggle less. Establishing this trust allows every child she teaches to thrive so they can succeed both inside and outside of the classroom.

Ms. Reid’s compassion, empathy, and dedication is both admirable and noble. She is a leader who consistently thinks outside and the box with the intention of achieving the best outcomes for students as well as the greater Randolph Middle School community. Teaching is not easy, especially during this difficult time, however she continues to push the boundaries of what is possible for student success. Most importantly of all, she is incredibly kind. She even won an award for it in 2015. “One of my proudest moments was when I was recognized with the “Kindness Award.” Kindness is a character trait important in life, and I model this behavior with my students every day,” Ms. Reid said. “In previous years, my students and I would distribute hot chocolate to the bus drivers in the morning near the holidays. Each year, 15-20 students volunteered to come in early to prepare and distribute the hot chocolate as a gesture of appreciation for the work that they do. Students also brought in cookies and candy canes to hand out as well. Experiencing the joy of giving, along with the smiles of the drivers, made it a character building, worthwhile service project. I wanted students to experience how kindness brought out not only joy and gratitude in others, but in themselves. They could see that kindness was alive in our school because of their good works. The joy and importance of giving to others is paramount for our students to see and experience. As teachers, we serve as role models for our students in helping them care and be kind to others.”