KENNEWICK, Wash. â€” A teacherâ€™s job can be tireless and thankless at times, but itâ€™s also rewarding and truly essential to the structure of our society. Thatâ€™s why Educational Service District 123 and the Kennewick School District (KSD) make it a point to honor local teachers for their selfless work each year.
2021â€™s Crystal Apple Award winner is Kamiakin High School math teacher Katrina Kutschkau, who was surprised by KSD Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce on a Zoom call on January 15, 2021.
A pillar of the math department at Kamiakin High, Kutschkau has been with the school since 1997. She was influential in developing the schoolâ€™s academic coaching model, which helps students to develop new skills and improve their engagement in learning environments.
Kutschkau also helped to spearhead the schoolâ€™s Welcome Wagon initiative, which continued a school tradition of a home visit to incoming students to welcome them to Kamiakin.
Sheâ€™s an afterschool tutor who also volunteers with various organizations including Tri-Cities Young Life and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
â€œYou personify what we should all be,â€� Kamiakin Principal Chris Chellin said during the video. â€œThank you both for all of our kids, for all of the staff, for all of the support, for everything you do day-in and day-out to make the world a little bit brighter place. A lighthouse, sometimes, in a storm â€” You truly areÂ what we should all aspire for.â€�
A teacher, whose name was not attributed, had this to say about Kutschkau:
â€œMrs. Kutschkau is one of the most caring teachers you will ever meet. She puts her caring into action, striving to make every student feel valued, connected, special and able to succeed in school,â€� the teacher said. â€œShe inspires us, her colleagues, to really know and accept our students.â€�
Educational Service District 123 is set to release a video tribute to Crystal Apple winners in the area on March 11.
Teachers have faced tremendous hurdles in a role that doesnâ€™t allow much leeway. Despite that, teachers like Kutschkau are influencing the future of the Tri-Cities by instilling strong values and displaying a kind heart to Kennewickâ€™s youth.
Donâ€™t forget to let your childâ€™s favorite teacher know that theyâ€™re appreciated.
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