LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Kathi Holst

Position: Special Education Teacher, Grades 6-8
School: Creswell Middle School
School District: Creswell School District
City, State: Creswell, OR

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Kathi Holst was nominated by her principal, Julie Johansen.

"It is my pleasure to recommend Kathi Holst for the LifeChanger Award. Kathi is an incredible special education teacher at Creswell Middle School and an all-around wonderful person. Kathi has been teaching for the Creswell School District for over 27 years and makes a difference for our students and our community," said Johansen.

"Kathi Holst gives back to the community by selflessly helping students below grade level and supporting families who are lost in supporting their students with disabilities. She spends 10+ hours a day working on individualized plans and lessons to ensure all students progress. In addition to this, Kathi has also organized several Eugene Marathon water stations to raise money for Positive Behavior Intervention Systems and then for the Garret Strader Medical Fund. She strives to create a sense of community at CMS among staff by recognizing birthdays and holidays and participating in school activities," said Johansen.

"Aside from the building coordinated Professional Learning Community meeting time, Kathi has regularly participated in year-long professional development classes through U of O (Project DIRECT, Project STELLAR, NW C3WP (Northwest College, Career, and Community Writers Program), National Writing Project) with an ELA/SS team (KAnderson, KKuhnhausen). Those amazing teachers, including Kathi, have read many texts together as an extension of these classes and met weekly to discuss how they are implementing in their content areas together and separately. These discussions have led to the implementation of VTS (Visual Thinking Strategies) and Project SOAR (Successful Online Academic Research) school-wide. Kathi even got to present at the NW Writing Conference Fall Workshop and several CSD Professional Development opportunities on argument writing, SOAR, and Assistive Technology," said Johansen.

"Kathi also serves as a mentor to other educators. She always accepts a student teacher when the UO Secondary School of Education/Special Education contacts her. During the beginning of the pandemic and online learning, while most people would not have a beginning teacher under them, Kathi took on two because they needed the support, and it was good for kids. In my opinion, this is another form of community service she does, as this is an extraordinary amount of time dedicated to mentoring these teachers. Kathi believes that they are the future of education and that kids deserve the best in the classroom, so she is willing to take this on in addition to everything else she does," said Johansen.

"Kathi models what it means to be a good citizen while also teaching students how to participate in our democracy," said Johansen. "Kathi aligns all her special education lessons to state standards, incorporating as much as possible the content from general education language arts as well as social studies standards (given that several of her students miss out on social studies to receive additional instruction in reading)."

"Furthermore, Kathi does an incredible job including parents in their child's triumphs and areas of need, such as texting a positive note for the day, a test score, or concept attainment, and as an intervention when things aren't going smoothly. During online learning, when many kids and families felt isolated, Kathi communicated daily with parents about their child's needs and how the special education team could support and provide help immediately (such as attending Zoom classes or office hours for extra help). Even though she was not required to, Kathi held daily office hours online that were extremely successful in supporting students with disabilities, as demonstrated by data on attendance and grades above C," said Johansen.

"Overall, Kathi Holst is an incredible teacher and person. She goes above and beyond for kids and our Creswell community and deserves the LifeChanger Award. People like Kathi are hard to find these days, and I feel so honored and blessed to have her at Creswell Middle School," said Johansen.

Comments (3)

Kendra Anderson Posted 2 months ago

If you asked anyone in our building who the hardest working teacher is at Creswell Middle School, every person would say Kathi Holst. When I get to school at 6:45 in the morning, Kathi is already there and is in her classroom working. When I finish coaching after school and start to head home Kathi is usually still in her classroom working. Her dedication to her students and to CMS is absolutely amazing! Kathi creates lessons that are engaging and fun. She also scaffolds her lessons to meet every student at their level. She regularly creates lessons at five different learning levels to accommodate all the needs in her classes. I think Kathi has been to lunch once this year in the staff room, possibly on a day when we didn’t have students. She provides a place for students to eat lunch, take a break, and also receive extra help on their assignments. She is the most selfless person I know. She does all of this with the kindest, most positive attitude I have ever encountered. Her patience and dedication to her students is beyond reproach. The amount of time and commitment required by Kathi to complete the paperwork and Individualized Education Plans is a full time job on its own. Additionally Kathi creates amazing educational experiences. It is my pleasure to work with Kathi Holst. Her hard work and dedication to students is a model for all. Kathi demonstrates to students and staff what 100% effort means. She is truly a LifeChanger of the Year and makes a difference in the lives of all the students and staff at CMS.

Cece Posted 3 months ago

I have watched Mrs. Holst change the lives of so many people my whole life. As her kid, I can definitely say she positively impacts the lives of everyone she meets and does so much for her community and her students. She’s an inspiration to me for sure, and she deserves all of the recognition for all that she does. However, she would do it all no matter if there was recognition or not because she loves what she does and is one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met.

Nico Posted 3 months ago

Definitely the biggest life changer out there, already got Oregon teacher of the year (well deserved) and always puts in the most for the kids. She goes above and beyond, arriving at 6am, sometimes leaving at 6pm. She would be posting stuff about why she should win but she’s too busy changing lives I guess