LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Kristopher Kaiser

Position: Sixth Grade Teacher
School: Portal Elementary School
School District: Papillion La Vista Community Schools
City, State: La Vista, NE

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Music that Describes Kristopher

Kristopher Kaiser was nominated by his spouse, Wendy Kaiser.

Mr. Kaiser is an amazing teacher who regularly goes above and beyond  to inspire and serve students throughout his school. It is hard to describe because it is just the way he is. Mr. Kaiser is committed to being a good teacher, in ways both large and small.

Mr. Kaiser is constantly taking on opportunities that push him to develop and refine his skills, from serving as building supervisor, to acting on leadership committees, to modeling creative, high quality lessons for new teachers. He enjoys helping other teachers learn how to be effective. His creative, impactful lesson plans and strategies are known throughout the district; teachers seek him out for resources and regularly request to shadow him. He has been a leader by modeling building and district values throughout his day and career. He has recently begun presenting at staff development days for other teachers, where he has been making a big, positive impact.

In each and every interaction with students, Mr. Kaiser is thinking of ways to make a difference. He makes an effort to learn names and say "Good morning," as students arrive outside the building. He develops personal connections based on student interests, and he goes out of his way to ensure the well-being of all students. Mr. Kaiser is focused on each students' strengths, always seeing the best in them and encouraging them along the way.  He gives them opportunities to succeed and fail. He strives to not only teach class subjects, but life lessons, too. In every interaction, Mr. Kaiser ensures there is something learned and a positive and safe atmosphere for students. Because of the relationships he builds with students, they often come back years later to connect, share big life moments, and say thank you. 

Mr. Kaiser is constantly learning new things in his pursuit to be better. He reads, watches videos, and asks questions about factors related to students like mental health, safety, emotional intelligence, and technology. He strives to use newfound knowledge in his day to day work. His summers are spent reading young adult books and perusing garage sales and second hand stores for the books kids are interested in. He also works in his garage building wooden shelves and display cases for the hundreds of books that line his classroom walls. 

Students enjoy Mr. Kaiser's creative, memorable lessons. For example, he often puts his lessons to the tune of a popular song, playing guitar and writing lyrics that teach class concepts. He knows it not only helps the students learn, but creates an environment of fun. In his first year of teaching, one creative lesson left a student with a yardstick taped to their head! You can bet they remembered what they learned that day! 

"There is so much more I could say," said Mrs. Kaiser. "Kris never stops teaching. He never stops learning. He doesn't get the recognition he truly deserves."

Comments (17)

John Strohm Posted over a year ago

Mr. Kaiser is well deserving of this recognition for a variety of reasons. He’s a top notch educator who works daily to perfect his craft. Kris is also a life long learner and is eager to put himself in situations and result in meaningful growth. Though these are two incredibly important characteristics, I think the most impressive thing that Mr. Kaiser brings to our students and staff at Portal is centered around his disposition. Kris truly cares about the individuals he serves and he shows this in so many ways every day. It’s an honor and privilege to work alongside Mr. Kaiser!

Richelle Hayek Posted over a year ago

Mr. Kris Kaiser is an amazing educator, colleague, and friend. I have had the opportunity to co-teach with him for several years in his 6th grade classroom. He takes the time to forge meaningful relationships with students which helps them feel valued and respected in the classroom. He listens to them no matter how much time it might take. Whether it is on the way to or from specials, during his lunch break or before or after school, he works through the situation until it is resolved and the student feels better. He truly cares and he has a tact for differentiating his instruction to meet the needs of all of his students academic and social/emotional needs. I appreciate how Kris is a life long learner himself. He takes classes to further his education to help students and staff. He is always researching and reading on ways to improve instruction, grow as an educator and leader, and any practice or technique that is up and coming. Kris is a problem solver. He never admires a problem, he takes in the information, reflects, and moves forward with a solution.

Kathy Posted over a year ago

My son Kris Kaiser is so deserving of this award. I worked in education for 23 years, and although I am his mom, I can honestly say I have never witnessed the passion for teaching the he has. His face lights up when he talks about his students, and their progress. He meets students where they are academically and socially, and in the year he gets to spend with them, his goal is to help them grow in both of these areas. He puts in a lot of time and thought about how to engage his students, especially in reading. He reads books throughout the summer, so that he can instill and encourage a love of reading in his students. He has high expectations of himself, to be the best teacher he can, and he passes those high expectations to his students. He shows them by example, and by discussion, how they can be their best at whatever they are doing. He likes to make learning fun, by using his guitar and his love of music, and also his great sense of humor! I have always been amazed at how excited he is each and every year to meet his new students, he is always excited to start the new year, and truly enjoys teaching, and he truly enjoys being with kids. Students not only "see" that he cares about them, but they also "feel" that he cares about them. He genuinely wants them to love learning, to be caring individuals, to be accountable for their actions,and to be successful in all they do. He teaches life lessons, that they will remember long after they leave his classroom.

Tamy Springer Posted over a year ago

Kris Kaiser is a phenomenal teacher! I’ve had the privilege of working with him for over 6 years, and have witnessed his many talents in all aspects of the job. First and foremost, Kris has a great ability to connect with the students. He takes the time to get to know each student, finding out what their favorite sport or hobby (etc.) is, then uses that as a recurring connection piece between he and them throughout the year. He has an incredible memory of random bits of interesting information and he weaves that into his conversations and his instruction with the students as well. He keeps their attention! His students always look forward to Mr. Kaiser breaking out his guitar and playing their favorite songs, showing them that life is not just about work— you have to have hobbies to help you relax and recharge. When a student is having a bad day, Mr. Kaiser makes a point to engage that student and help turn the day around for them. Kaiser’s style follows the “love and logic” philosophy— he has a gift of showing he cares but holds high expectations for his students. And he backs it up by giving them strategies on how to achieve their goals. He keeps things real for this kids— any time he has to redirect a misbehavior, it’s always done in a positive way and he relates their choice to what it might look like in a “real-world” setting. At recess, Mr. Kaiser spends his time in soccer or football games, and loves it when the kids challenge him at tether ball. Secondly, Kris is a true professional. He serves (and has served for over 4 years) on our district’s curriculum committee, mentors new teachers, coordinates our school’s safety patrol, is on our Continuous School Improvement Planning Team, and is our building supervisor. New and veteran teachers alike have come to his classroom to observe his Guided Reading lessons- he is a master at finding engaging and ”just right” texts for all levels, and knows how far to “push” without overwhelming the student. Even our most reluctant readers discover a new found love for reading after working with Mr. Kaiser! (His classroom library says it all.). Intermediate aged students in our building know if you want a good book, just ask Mr. Kaiser for a recommendation. He is a lifelong learner himself; he holds a masters degree, and is currently taking more graduate courses. Mr. Kaiser is a humble and kind man, and so deserving of this recognition. Kris makes everyone around him feel like they are the best at what they do- he reminds us to celebrate each victory, large or small, and not wallow in mistakes. I know I am a far better teacher myself for having worked with Kris all these years, and we are so lucky to have him in our school. He is a wonderful role model for all!

Heather Welsh Posted over a year ago

Mr. Kaiser taught my oldest daughter in 6th grade five years ago. This year, he is teaching my youngest child, a son. These two children are as different as day and night as students and Mr. Kaiser has been the perfect teacher for both of them. My daughter is a very conscientious student who needed no extra encouragement to do her best. Mr. Kaiser always made sure that she was challenged and, more importantly, that she was growing socially and emotionally as well. (I distinctly remember him encouraging her to stop reading during recess and interact with her peers). My son is a reluctant student who tries to do the minimum possible to get by. Mr. Kaiser is always finding ways to encourage him to do better. Mr. Kaiser has told me that he can see himself as a young man in my son, which is encouraging as a parent. With two students on opposite ends of the 6th grade achievement scale, it is easy for me to see that Mr. Kaiser is a master of meeting each student where he or she is and encouraging him or her to advance as far as possible. As a parent, and now substitute teacher, at Portal. I can attest to the fact that Mr. Kaiser is always friendly, welcoming, and helpful. In the morning , before school, you will see Mr. Kaiser outside the school telling students “good morning” and helping them start their days off safely and positively. After school, he makes sure the students are sent on their ways safely and encourages them to have a great evening. In between these times, he greets everyone he meets in the hallway with a smile and helps anyone that needs it. Mr. Kaiser is a credit to Portal elementary, a credit to the field of education, and a credit to humanity as a whole. He truly is a a positive leader and life changer!

Mike Klug Posted over a year ago

I had the wonderful opportunity to teach along side Kris Kaiser for several years. He is the best instructional teacher I have ever worked with. Kris takes great pride in his craft and holds himself to an extremely high standard. He works and plans constantly with each and every student in mind. He has focused over the last few years on increasing student engagement and his classroom climate reflects that. The environment in his classroom encourages students to take risks and to be accountable for their own learning, as well as students learning to work together. He is passionate about student learning, and that is the focus of everything he does with his students. Mr. Kaiser has a wonderful mix of skills that allow him to be extremely successful in whole group, small group and individual teaching situations. Kris works to make each whole group lesson energetic and creative to keep students motivated. His work in small group reading sessions is directed and purposeful with the learning needs of each student in mind. Mr. Kaiser also reaches students through individual conversations, whether it be taking time to match a student to a just right fit book, asking questions about their interest or just listening to a student. He really cares that students in his class are learning, not just the material for a test or standard but learning a better way to think and process information. Kris does his best to care for the unique social emotional needs for the learners in his class. As an educator he focuses on the whole child. His positive attitude, hard work, and caring spirit truly makes Kris Kaiser a life changer.

Deb Rodenburg Posted over a year ago

Mr. Kaiser has demonstrated leadership skills on district level teams. He has participated on district curriculum leadership teams for many years. He represents his students and peers while researching best practice, curriculum design, assessment development, participating in district decision making and training his peers. I can count on Mr. Kaiser to represent 6th grade and for his positive attitude.

Kassie Franco Posted over a year ago

Mr. Kaiser is an incredible teacher and person! He is always so welcoming and caring to each of the students. When he comes into Kids Club he always stops to talk to the children to see how they are doing or to simply just say Hi! All of the children that come into Kids Club always say wonderful things about Mr. Kaiser and how he is an amazing teacher. Thank you, Mr. Kaiser, for making a huge difference in these children's lives.

Jessi Richter Posted over a year ago

The long list of praises in this article don’t surprise me one bit! Kris deserves this nomination!!! Thank you for your service to students and to the staff you work with!

Abby Easton Posted over a year ago

I’ve worked with Kris for several years and he was my daughter’s 6th grade teacher. I appreciate Kris for taking the time to listen and give me words of encouragement during challenging times. He is always saying good morning and shows he cares about his coworkers by checking in with them and asking how they are doing. He doesn’t hesitate to step in and help with challenging behaviors. He is a caring person and very passionate about his job. He builds confidence in his students and prepares them for the future. He leads by example and is a fantastic teacher!

Michael Bradley Posted over a year ago

Kris Kaiser is amazing in everything he does. He has been my best friend for a lot of years now. The thing that impressed me the most is how he loves his students each and every year. When we get together he tells me all about how amazing they are. Something that is unique about Kris is he doesn’t just say positive things to make it sound like he has this amazing class cause he is so awesome. He will discuss some of the problems he has in class but the answer is he always lets the problems fall on himself and he says things like “I need to find better ways to reach the kids” or “this worked for last years class but it isn’t working for this year so I need to fix it” he never blames the kids. So humble. Not only is he a great teach but he is a great person outside the classroom. He makes sure every little thing he does sets a great example for his kids and his wife. He has been there for me numerous times through thick and thin. Last example is did you know he built an exchange book thingy (he still helps me with vocab as you can see) in his neighborhoods so everyone has an opportunity to grab a book or leave a book. 100% of what he does is help and teach everyone around him in the most positive ways ever.

Holly Ham Posted over a year ago

Though I’ve not seen Kris in the classroom, I know his passion for teaching kids reading. He is a kind, considerate, loving, and professional man!

Katie Huckle Posted over a year ago

Mr. Kaiser was my student teaching mentor and I learned so much from him! He puts 110% into the work he does and is a very caring person. He would stay past his contract time to help me when I had questions/needed support and pushed me to continue bettering myself. I wouldn’t be the educator I am today if it wasn’t for him and I’ll always be thankful for his help and positive growth mindset. While in his classroom I observed how he always put the students first and gave students a voice in his classroom. I have no doubt that every student that has been in his class have left as better students and individuals! Thank you Mr. Kaiser!

Emma Easton Posted over a year ago

Mr. Kaiser was my 6th grade teacher during the 2015-2016 school year. He was one of my favorite teachers. While in his classroom, he inspired me to challenge myself and set high goals moving forward in my education. He challenged all of his students and taught us that hard work pays off. He was very passionate about his job which made going to school more exciting. His well planned activities and teaching style helped make learning easier to understand. Mr. Kaiser prepared his students well and gave every student a sense of confidence in studying, test taking, and in life in general. He made the classroom comfortable to be in and for kids who are a little on the shy side to really express ideas without judgement. Mr. Kaiser had a positive impact on me my 6th grade year. I entered middle school and now high school with great confidence in my ability to do great things, and feel successful at school.

Tyler Moore Posted over a year ago

Mr. Kaiser and I have worked together for several years. When I see him at school he is always teaching students in a positive way. Mr. Kaiser not only teaches lessons that will help students improve from an academic standpoint, but he also gives key lessons on life that help each student grow as a person. He always works and interacts with everyone in our school in such a caring way. Mr. Kaiser is a great educator and person!

Emma K Posted over a year ago

Mr. Kaiser helps students when they dont understand something. He talks things out. He is always in a positive mood which helps me in the morning when I see this first thing. He helps kids learn to read, and reading is REALLY important. -Emma, age 9

Janice Miner Posted over a year ago

I have worked with Kris Kaiser for over 5 years. He is an outstanding teacher, mentor, and coworker. I have personally worked with him in his capacity as a building supervisor and as part of our school safety team. Kris always has great ideas on how to keep our school a safe, yet welcoming environment for all our students, parents and staff. He does an excellent job watching over students on our school grounds in the morning and after school, helping make sure the parking lot traffic is flowing smoothly and children are crossing safely. He makes sure all students waiting for rides are safely inside the building once the safety patrol comes in. He helps take attendance during our fire drills, making sure all staff and students are accounted for. During our other drills, he is watchful of any situations that need to be addressed. His love of reading is known to all, and he shares that gift with his students. Each year he purchases dozens of new books that he thinks his class will enjoy. He reads each one so he can discuss the books with the kids. He encourages critical thinking and is open to discussing many different aspects of life. He shares stories and incidents in his life to help them better understand the world around them. He has a kind and gentle nature and is respectful and responsible. He is caring and considerate with his coworkers. He is a role model to all our students and staff. Former students stop by to see how he is and to share what is going on in their lives. Mr. Kaiser makes a difference in all the lives he touches