Farmington Public Schools (FPS) on Wednesday presented Wood Creek Elementary teacher Dr. Kyle Curtis with the Judy White-Ora “Teaching with Heart and Soul” award.
Interim Superintendent Bobbie Goodrum, Assistant Superintendent Kelly Coffin, and Director of School/Community Relations Diane Bauman surprised Curtis at her school.
An Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) resource teacher, Curtis has taught in self-contained classrooms for students with autism, preschool classes for students 3-5 years, and ASD resource classrooms. An 18-year educator, she has spent most of her career with FPS.
Fellow teacher and nominator, Melissa Hill, said Curtis “supports all students during the learning process but promotes independence along the way.”
“She has often told me that it is very important to respect the child enough to expect them to do things on their own when they are ready,” she said in a press release.
Because children who have autism communicate in a variety of ways, Curtis has trained to use an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device. Described as calm and collected even when a student is in crisis, she is “a voice of reason when a child is in distress.”
Curtis also volunteers for after-school functions and fundraisers such as Family Fun Night and school dances. She supervises the Wood Creek Buddies program, which helps students on the spectrum with social skills and making friends. A Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) Team member, New Teacher Mentor, and an Emergency Response Team member, she has won five FPS Golden Apple Awards and has written a children’s book about autism.
Farmington Schools created the “Teaching with Heart and Soul” Award to honor former assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Judy White-Ora, who passed away in 2006.