Citizen of the Month: Kathryn B. Galford

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By Amanda Armstrong            Chesapeake proudly celebrates and congratulates its very own 2013 Virginia Teacher of the Year, sixth grade English teacher at Greenbrier Middle School, Mrs. Kathryn B. Galford!  Incredibly gracious and humble, Kathy claims, “People must see in me what I don’t see.”  Her 25 year long career is a testament to her belief in community collaboration to enrich student learning within the classroom.  It becomes quickly apparent why Mrs. Galford was chosen for this award as she passionately states, “As a teacher, one of our biggest goals is to help our students believe in themselves and that they can do anything.”

On September 13, 2012 a camera crew surprised Mrs. Galford and her students by announcing her as Region 2 Teacher of the Year for 2013.  At a reception in Richmond for the eight Virginia Regional Teachers of the Year, she was named Virginia’s 2013 Teacher of the Year by the Virginia Department of Education.  She will compete on behalf of Virginia for the 2013 National Teacher of the Year.

Kathy was born and raised in Virginia Beach as the middle child of four siblings. Her desire to teach was developed when, at the age of four, she began dancing at the Mary Ann Wood School of Dance in Chesapeake. She currently teaches acrobats, tap, and ballet classes at the Wood School of Dance.  Following graduation from Kempsville High School, Kathy completed her Bachelor of Middle Education from Old Dominion University, where she subsequently earned a Master of Curriculum and Instruction.  Kathy taught fifth grade at Greenbrier Elementary from 1988 to 1990 and at Greenbrier Intermediate from 1990 to 2004.  She is currently in her ninth year of teaching sixth grade English at Greenbrier Middle School, where she shares a hallway with her husband whom has taught sixth grade Science at the school for twelve years.  She has taken several classes, participated in numerous workshops, collaborated with fellow colleagues, and read countless books to guide her teaching style.  Kathy attempts new activities and learning tools each and every day in an effort to teach “according to the way each student’s brain works.”

Mrs. Galford’s philosophy of education stems from her belief in the importance of making all classroom learning relevant to the outside world.  Specifically, she strives to “promote partnerships between the community and school to ensure the relevance of education.”  Presently in her 25th year of teaching, Kathy attributes her ongoing motivation to her students.  It’s the moments when Kathy “sees a student suddenly understand a concept” or “knowing you’re making a difference for our future” that make each day in the classroom both unique and worthwhile.  While Kathy wishes she had more one on one time to spend with each student, her plate is already quite full.  She selflessly gives her time to numerous commitments: Anti-Bullying Committee and After School Study Hall Coordinator at Greenbrier Middle School, High School Curriculum Council, and the Builders Club in which she engages her students in community outreach activities such as food and blanket drives.  Kathy’s incredibly positive impact on her students goes beyond the classroom.  After encouraging her students to identify and fix bullying issues within the school, her students have created three of their own anti-bullying clubs, established a lunch program to ensure no student eats alone, and have created outreach programs for students with learning disabilities.

Over the next year, Kathy has an exciting journey ahead of her.  Already the recipient a SmartBoard package for her classroom, monetary supplements, and even a full scholarship to attain her Doctorate at Regent University, these are only the beginning stages of this incredible experience.  She will attend a convention for all States Teachers of the Year in Dallas, visit the White House in the spring, participate in the Virginia Parent-Teacher Association Conference, Middle School Conference, and Reading Association Conference, and has been invited to speak at numerous Virginia institutions of higher education.

Humbly claiming herself to be undeserving of this award, she states, “So many teachers work hard – I wish everyone could be recognized”.  She clearly and adamantly believes this prestigious award to be a victory not for her own accomplishments, but for the community of Chesapeake.  While Virginia constituents have been celebrating and praising Mrs. Galford on her dedication to education, she has been modestly crediting her surrounding community that has supported her to professionally achieve things she never dreamed possible.  Recalling her reaction to the award, she remembers the thought in her head: “How did I even get in this group of amazing Regional Teachers?”  While Kathy remains in awe of the outpouring support from the community, we remain in awe of her dedication to educating children.

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2 Responses to Citizen of the Month: Kathryn B. Galford

  1. Howard & Florence Belote Reply

    November 16, 2012 at 10:48 am

    While we have many good teachers, we need more educators with this level of dedication. Mrs Galford deserves this recognition as do all dedicated teachers who strive to improve the minds of the students under their care.

  2. Howard & Florence Belote Reply

    November 16, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Dear Kathy , Dad and I are both so proud of you for becoming Teacher of the year for the state of Virginia, and now Citizen of the Month in Chesapeake. You have always been such a joy to us! I remember when you were small, and you used to take care of your younger siblings while Dad and I were working. You were always such a responsible child! We are also so glad that you choose to stay in Chesapeake to live which is very close to Virginia Beach, where Dad and I still live! Out of 5 children, you and John are the only ones who chose to stay in our area. May God bless you and your family. Keep up the good work. Love, Mom and Dad

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