Kim Ryan was nominated by her colleague, Alicia Legg.
"I am honored to work alongside Kim Ryan. Kim has the most vibrant spirit and kind heart," said Legg. "She comes to work daily with a positive attitude to face any obstacle that may arise. Kim does not see her non-verbal classroom as a burden or difficult challenge. I truly believe she sees the light of researching new and unique ways to help these students learn and grow."
Ms. Ryan often brings in new supplies, teaching methods, sensory activities, books and decorations to keep her classroom challenging and enjoyable. Her students enjoy decorations for every holiday, including their elf on a shelf, which several of them look forward to finding daily, without assistance.
"I can see Kim's students learning new things, including learning how to communicate and show affection in a more appropriate, healthy way," said Legg. "Kim recognizes her student's individual differences and tailors their learning to suit their style, likes and dislikes. She respects not only the children's educational and emotional needs, but their cultural differences and preferences."
It is clear Ms. Ryan's students know they are loved and have built a solid relationship of trust with her, even by only hearing her voice. She has effectively collaborated with organizations, administration and her school to provide the maximum opportunity for her students.
"I have witnessed her providing information for assistance with gifts for students, and she excels at communication with parents. Even if I know it has been a rough day, she seeks to inform the parent of all positive growth their child accomplished that day," said Legg. "Kim, her two assistants and her students bring light and joy into our entire school. She practices kindness, healthy boundaries and appropriate affection with all of her students. It makes my day to receive a hug from a student in her classroom or see them get well because Kim paid close attention to an illness that they could not express verbally."
Ms. Ryan is on the front line for identifying learning, dental and health needs, and she always follows through on all of these concerns. She also participates in school programs to expand our students learning, fitness and friendships. She coached the Girls on the Run team and also teaches STEM after school.
"Our school and our special education classroom wouldn't be what it is without Kim Ryan as a part of our team and family," said Legg.