LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Cortney Kidd

Position: Biology Teacher
School: Floyd Central High School
School District: Floyd County Schools
City, State: Langley, KY

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Cortney Kidd was nominated by Chad Bates, a former student.

"Two years ago, I walked into my sixth period biology class while experiencing one of the lowest points in my life," said Bates. "With tears in my eyes, I kept my head down as I made my way towards my seat. Once there, I took my backpack off and set it on the floor. Before I had the chance to sit down, an unknown hand touched my shoulder. I turned around only to be embraced by a hug. I was ensured that I was an outstanding individual who was loved and that everything was going to be okay. Although I was still going through a tough time, these actions truly made me feel as if a weight had been taken off my shoulders. I was no longer torn up because I felt in my heart that everything truly would be okay. That unknown hand belonged to my former Biology teacher, Mrs. Kidd. She has truly changed my life, and I know that the same can be said for hundreds of her former students...As her student during my sophomore year of High School, I was able to gain firsthand insight as to what kind of educator and person Mrs. Kidd is."

Throughout her entire teaching career, Mrs. Kidd has made a beneficial difference in the lives of others. In the classroom, she's a spectacular teacher who strives to create a fun, interactive learning environment that prepares each student for their future endeavors, not only in science, but in life. As an outstanding educator, one of the differences Mrs. Kidd makes each day in her students' lives is that she enriches their minds in the classroom with her unique teaching strategies.

"Every teacher has a unique way of running their classroom, but Mrs. Kidd’s teaching strategy is by far one of the most effective I have experienced in my 12 years as a student," said Bates. "In class, she incorporates the use of technology, hands-on activities, student-led discussions, and virtual field trips to teach course material. Every student learns differently, and Mrs. Kidd’s use of these various techniques allows her to cater to each students' learning needs. Some students learn at a slower pace, while other students may find one of Mrs. Kidd's techniques more interesting than the other. No matter the reason, Mrs. Kidd makes a difference every day by ensuring that every student who enters her classroom learns something new."

Mrs. Kidd not only makes a difference in her students' lives with regards to their education, but she also makes a difference each day through her actions as a person. She is the epitome of what it means to be a compassionate, caring person. Every student who takes a seat in her class knows she loves them, whether it's through a 45-minute conversation she has with her students about their emotional struggles, or simply the words “I love you." Mrs. Kidd ensures her students feel loved and safe in her classroom.

"I can attest to the difference that Mrs. Kidd’s actions make in the lives of her students," said Bates. "The amount of empathy she has for her students is mind-boggling. To think that she cared enough about me to notice I was acting strange that day honestly blows me away, I’ve never experienced a teacher like that. On that specific day, I needed a hug more than anything. High school can be very rough on a teenager, especially when paired with hardships outside of school. Somehow, she knew exactly what I needed that day...I can honestly say that the hug she gave me truly made a difference in my life. Overall, she goes above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of her students through her actions as a person and an educator."

Along with making a difference in the lives of her students, Mrs. Kidd also contributes significantly to the Floyd Central HS environment. The atmosphere of a school on a day-to-day basis is easily the most important aspect of what makes a school enjoyable for its students and teachers alike. Mrs. Kidd is one of the individuals at Floyd Central who makes the difference in defining the school environment. In a school of over 700 students, she finds the time to have a conversation with every student she encounters, whether it be in her classroom, the hallway, the lunchroom, or in the parking lot. The countless number of conversations she has each day with the students of Floyd Central creates a positive school environment. They allow students to develop kind feelings towards their teachers instead of dislike or fear.

Mrs. Kidd is also a huge supporter of the extracurricular activities her students participate in. Whether it's a football game or an E-sports competition, she is seen very often at these events showing support for her school and students.  As a lively supporter of Floyd Central’s extracurricular activities, Mrs. Kidd helps to create a sense of pride and spirit among her students. By outwardly showcasing her school spirit and pride at events, pep rallies, and even in the classroom, she is able to influence her students to have the same pride and school spirit. A student body with a strong sense of school spirit and pride creates an exciting, euphoric school atmosphere.

Aside from helping to create a friendly, prideful atmosphere at Floyd Central, Mrs. Kidd also contributes to making Floyd Central an overall fun school to attend and learn at. Each month, the school has an event called “Battle of the Classes” that allows each grade to compete against one another in a series of competitions throughout the day. During “Battle of the Classes,” Mrs. Kidd can be seen encouraging kids to participate, participating herself, and doing anything possible to make the experience fun for everyone. Not only does she contribute significantly to “Battle of the Classes," but she also incorporates storytelling and acting into her teaching strategy in the classroom to make learning fun. Her contributions to creating a fun atmosphere allow students to enjoy attending and learning at school.

Mrs. Kidd makes her school feel like a safe space for other students. Although she's a joyful and vibrant teacher, she understands the harsh reality that students in every school are often discriminated against and made fun of for a multitude of reasons. She won't allow anyone to feel bullied, whether it's in her classroom or somewhere else. She feels that school should be a place of safety for her students to be themselves. Whenever Mrs. Kidd sees or hears rumors of bullying going on in school, she takes action against it by sending kids to the office for punishment, speaking to students and entire classes about why bullying is wrong, and advocating for students to be nice to one another in and outside of school. Not only does Mrs. Kidd take action against bullying herself, but she also encourages her own students to step up and prevent bullying in any way possible.

Leadership is another aspect possessed by Mrs. Kidd that makes her such an outstanding educator. Not everyone in a school system has the characteristics necessary to take charge of a situation and be a leader, but Mrs. Kidd certainly does. There are countless examples of her leadership. No matter the situation, she is always ready to help her students and co-workers by being a leader.

One example of how Mrs. Kidd exhibits leadership at her school would be her role in helping to plan the monthly FCHS Battle of the Classes. Battle of the Classes is a serious event that takes a lot of time and hard work to plan, prepare for, and conduct. Mrs. Kidd and a few other involved teachers are behind this work. Each month, Mrs. Kidd puts in an extraordinary amount of work helping to plan the event. She must help pick a day for Battle of the Classes, make a schedule for the competitions, decide which competitions will be featured for that month, create a staff-involved competition, and much more.

After planning the Battle of the Classes, Mrs. Kidd is tasked with helping to prepare for the event; she does this by finding staff members willing to conduct a specific event, acquiring the necessary props and items needed for each event to take place, and hosting student sign-ups for each event. Finally, after a month of planning and preparing for Battle of the Classes, Mrs. Kidd is only left with helping to conduct the all-day event on the day it takes place. She does this by making sure each event runs smoothly and ensuring that no event breaches the time mandated for it in the schedule. She spends a lot of her own time preparing for the event so that the students and staff of Floyd Central can have a fun day each month.

Another example of Mrs. Kidd's leadership can be found in her work to decorate the school’s hallways. Throughout the year, for various occasions, she works with a few other teachers to decorate the hallways of her school. These decorations are magnificent and add a lot of life to the normally bland walls of the school.

"Personally, my favorite theme was for our rivalry game in football," said Bates. "For this event, Mrs. Kidd and a few colleagues turned the entire second-floor hallway of our school into a football field with miniatures of each player on the wall. Mrs. Kidd spends a lot of her personal time and money to decorate the hallways of our school multiple times each school year. These decorations allow Mrs. Kidd to help evoke school spirit among students while also making school a bit more fun."

Mrs. Kidd also spends her own time tutoring students and the academic team in science. She often offers her time after school to tutor not only students who are struggling with science concepts, but her school’s academics team, as well.

"As a former student of Mrs. Kidd’s and a member of the academic team, I have experienced both her tutoring of students and of the academic team," said Bates. "Mrs. Kidd is a very thorough, efficient tutor who generously volunteers her personal time to help our school’s students and academic team. She is one of our school's best leaders. Her commitment to leadership benefits our school every single day."

Throughout her professional career as an educator, Mrs. Kidd has had an excellent record of performance.

"Over the past three years I have known Mrs. Kidd, I haven't heard or witnessed any negative aspects of her as a teacher and person," said Bates. "She's very devoted to her job and never misses a day without a serious reason. Throughout the year I had Mrs. Kidd as my teacher, I can only recall two days in which she missed class, and both were to attend a mandatory training. During these two days, she had clear instructions planned out for what our class was supposed to do."

"An example of the devotion and commitment Mrs. Kidd has towards teaching her students would be a few words she told my class back in early 2018," said Bates. "During this time, Kentucky was in the middle of a major pension crisis. Thousands of teachers across Kentucky were calling in sick so that school would be canceled as a protest. Our school district participated in this protest for two days and was supposed to protest for a third day. On the third day, while in our biology class, we asked Mrs. Kidd why we had school today. She responded, 'We had all planned to protest today, until we looked out the windows and saw buses this morning. I couldn’t allow myself to protest while also failing my duty to you all.'"

Mrs. Kidd is committed to ensuring that every student passes her class and preparing them for their future endeavors in science.

"I can attest that Mrs. Kidd's class is not an 'easy A,'" said Bates. "Although she ensures that each student passes her class, she also expects and encourages each student to achieve a passing grade on their own. Mrs. Kidd ensures that each of her students achieves a passing grade through her phenomenal teaching strategies. Almost every student who takes her course, through her teaching strategies alone, will easily pass her class. She's a firm believer in the statement 'No child left behind.'" She makes sure struggling students receive 1-to-1 instruction time during class and thorough tutoring after school. In the four years I have attended Floyd Central HS, I have yet to know of one student who has not passed biology with Mrs. Kidd. For the past 13 years, she has had an excellent performance record as a professional educator, and a record unlike any other." 

One of the noblest aspects about Mrs. Kidd is her commitment to creating a nurturing environment in her classroom and throughout Floyd Central HS. In her classroom, students are given the ability to develop as students by making discoveries related to their self and science. Virtual field trips, for example, allow students to learn and make discoveries about places that are thousands of miles away from Floyd Central High School. They are also able to develop as students by adapting to a new concept of education, virtual learning, and possibly even discovering that they learn better through this technique. Each of Mrs. Kidd's teaching strategies offers opportunities for development and discovery. She believes that in order for development and learning to occur within a school, it must be a place where students feel safe.

Another way Mrs. Kidd creates a nurturing atmosphere is by ensuring that all her students know they are cared for and loved by their teacher. Not every teacher cares deeply for their students the way that Mrs. Kidd does. She is constantly having conversations with her students to ensure they’re mentally and physically okay. When she can tell that one of her students is not okay, she’s always there to comfort and provide support to them. Overall, Mrs. Kidd is able to produce a nurturing atmosphere in her classroom and contributes significantly to creating one in the school, as well.  

Finally, Mrs. Kidd adheres to high moral and ethical standards. 

"In my time as one of Mrs. Kidd’s students, I never once heard her speak a curse word or any other vulgar language," said Bates. "She is against the use of any cuss words or vulgar language and will not tolerate her students speaking it in class. As a result of her rules and the respect her students have for her, I watched fellow classmates, who curse every few words in other classes, not allow a single bad word to leave their lips while in Mrs. Kidd’s presence."

Additionally, she never allows any discrimination in her classroom or the school. In today's society, discrimination of all types is very common. Nevertheless, Mrs. Kidd would never allow any student to be made to feel as if they are lesser than anyone else because of race, sexuality, religion, and anything else. The love she has for her students is not based on any factor that can be discriminated against. Instead, it's based on her devotion to being a part of each of her students' lives through education. In rural Eastern Kentucky, it’s very easy for students to break the social norms of moral and ethical standards, but Mrs. Kidd discourages this by serving as a great role model to her students. In her life, Mrs. Kidd has never once taken a sip of alcohol or tried any drug, often using her lifelong sobriety as a way to deter students from trying drugs and alcohol. She also encourages students not to partake in activities involving said objects during class, in the hallway, and at various school assemblies."

"Mrs. Kidd has changed the lives of hundreds of students, with me being one of them," said Bates. "I could never put into words all of the reasons why she is deserving of this award, but I would like to remind you that she makes a beneficial difference in the lives of all of her students, contributes significantly to the positive atmosphere of Floyd Central High, is a leader within our school, has a record of excellent performance at the professional level, is committed to producing a nurturing environment in and outside of her classroom, and has an adherence to high moral and ethical standards. Once again, there is no one more deserving or worthy of this incredible award."