LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Kevin Crosby

Position: Special Education Teacher
School: Alternative Instructional Methods (AIM) Center
School District: Kern High School District
City, State: Bakersfield, CA

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Kevin Crosby was nominated by Darlyn Baker, a family member.

Mr. Crosby has been a special education teacher for 19 years. During that time, he has used his creativity to become a highly effective teacher while working with the most difficult students in the Kern High School District. He created an award-winning solar education club while working at Independence High School. He taught his special-needs students to peer tutor other students about solar energy, and they won two California state titles from the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED). Mr. Crosby’s solar education project also won the President’s Environmental Youth Award from President Barack Obama in 2011.

Mr. Crosby also created another award-winning project by creating a coffee shop on the Independence High School campus that taught vocational, communication, and social skills to his students with autism. His student-led coffee shop project was honored with the 2013 Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge’s Leavey Award for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education. He has also written and received classroom grants for over $88,000 to help fund his creative, hands-on teaching activities.

Mr. Crosby has assisted new teachers in the California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) credential program by serving as a Master Teacher for two CSUB student teachers in the special education credential program. Recently, he served as a mentor teacher for two CSUB special education teachers in the intern credential program while working alongside them in the Kern High School District. His administrators at Independence High School always showed off his classroom to community visitors during Principal’s Partners Day.

Mr. Crosby has served as an administrative designee for both the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office and for the Kern High School District. He has also served as a Board Member on the CSUB Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. Additionally, he participated in the WASC credentialing process for CSUB, where he testified to the quality education he received while attending CSUB. Mr. Crosby has served as an instructor for the ProACT conflict resolution program his district uses to communicate and handle students in crisis. Recently, DonorsChoose has invited him to be a Teacher Advocate at his school.

Mr. Crosby has been recognized by several organizations for his teaching excellence. These awards include:

  • 2020 - Bob Thompson Excellence in Energy Education Award from the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED)
  • 2019 - Grand Prize Winner of the Henry Ford Innovation Nation Innovator Award.
  • 2018 - National Association of Special Education Teachers’ Outstanding Special Education Teacher Award
  • 2015 - Lawrence Scadden Teacher of the Year Award from the National Science Teachers Association and Science Education for Students with Disabilities, Butler-Cooley Award for Teaching Excellence
  • 2014 - George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge
  • 2013 - People Magazine Teacher of the Year Finalist
  • 2012 - Teacher of the Year Award from the Kids in Need Foundation, President’s Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Secondary Education from the Entomological Society of America
  • 2008 - Heartspring Award for Creativity and Innovation in Special Education,

In short, a student placed in Mr. Crosby’s classroom benefits from his love of teaching. He demonstrates this love of teaching through his creative, hands-on activities, and effective development of environmental projects that help mainstream his special-needs students with their general education peers. He also demonstrates his love of teaching through his knowledge and expertise in behavior analysis and communication development, his effective teaching strategies for this specialized population, and his exceptionally child-centered science activities. This focus on the child has resulted in his success working with the most difficult of students in the Kern High School District.

Prior to becoming a teacher, Mr. Crosby served our nation for three years as an Airborne Paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, and four years as an Infantryman in the California National Guard. As a soldier in the California National Guard, Mr. Crosby served in the Los Angeles Riots of 1992 helping to restore peace and order to the city of Los Angeles. In 1994, Mr. Crosby received the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for his volunteer work with the YMCA after-school program, for helping victims of the 1992 Northridge earthquake, and for delivering presents to the children of inmates at Lerdo Prison in Shafter, California. In 1998, he received the Army Commendation Medal for helping to save a fellow paratrooper’s life while attending the Army’s Jungle Warfare School at Fort Sherman, Panama.