Richard named Beauregard Parish Elementary Teacher of the Year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Kaitlyn Richard was named Beauregard Parish Elementary Teacher of the Year.

“Learning is our greatest adventure!” – Anon.

This aphorism inspires South Beauregard Elementary teacher Kaitlyn Richard to make learning fun, engaging, and memorable for her students.

Richard is passionate about thinking outside the box to bring a new perspective to teaching and learning. She does this by involving students in immersive educational environments.

Throughout the school year, her students will arrive at her door to find the classroom transformed, and what would have been a normal, ordinary school day becomes something extraordinary.

Students enter the world of Fractions Pizzeria, StarBUCKS Café, NFL Touchdown to Learning, or Inferencing Class Detectives. By being immersed in these unforgettable learning experiences, students engage on a different level to apply their knowledge to fit the new environment.

“During these transformations,” explains Richard, “students must use the skills they have learned, providing them with a hands-on approach while giving them the opportunity to create, collaborate, and discover new levels of academic achievement.”

She finds that during these surprise, interactive opportunities that students are motivated, involved, and eager to achieve the educational goals set for the day.

“Seeing the excitement from my students during activities like these,” she said, “is what brings me so much joy as a teacher!”

Richard is the 2021-2022 Beauregard Parish Elementary Teacher of the Year and was named the Louisiana Elementary Teacher of the Year in the Excellent Educators program which recognized outstanding educators across the state for commitment to student success, excellence in their field, collaboration with colleagues, and demonstration of leadership and innovation in the classroom.

Richard is currently in her sixth year as a teacher at SBE where she teaches second grade.

She earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from McNeese State University, graduating as an honor student with a minor in Psychology. She is a 2011 Valedictorian graduate of South Beauregard High School.

In addition to her teaching duties, Richard leads the second grade team at SBE, planning curriculum and writing pacing guides, as well as coordinating Culture Day for all the second grade students at the school. She is the Makey Makey Trainer, the Website Trainer, and a member of the Steering Committee.

She is also the Dance Team Coach and Choreographer for the South Beauregard High School Dance Team, a program she inaugurated in 2011 with a junior high dance team

that has grown to include the junior high team, a high school team, and a competitive band dance team.

One crucial component of elementary education for Richard is independent reading. Richard is passionate about bridging the learning gap from students learning how to read to them being ready to use their reading to learn.

“As a second grade teacher, I must continue to reinforce the phonetic teaching students began in first grade to ensure a strong foundation for reading while at the same time begin teaching my students comprehension strategies to better understand higher-level texts, which is essential for them to move into third grade,” she said.

Richard provides individualized instruction to meet each student’s needs so that her students learn to love reading and become successful readers.

“My ultimate goal is for all of my students to learn to their full potential while feeling empowered in my classroom,” she concluded. “If my students leave second grade with a love for learning and the confidence and knowledge to be successful, there is no greater accomplishment for me as their teacher.”

Richard’s advice to a first year teacher is to have fun and truly learn about each one of the students in the classroom.

“I teach because I love to make a difference!” she concluded.

This article originally appeared on Leesville Daily Leader: Richard named Beauregard Parish Elementary Teacher of the Year