Kayla Link was nominated by Megan Sault, the parent of a student.
"Walking into a big school for the first time is a big deal, especially for a very active, very social five year old boy. After five years of fun routines at the same daycare/preschool, transitioning was a little more difficult than we were expecting," said Sault. "Receiving the initial Welcome to Kinder' letter from Kayla, I felt confident we could reach out to her for suggestions on how to make this transition easier. After receiving a response from Kayla, we visited the classroom for a first introduction to the school and classroom to reduce some of those initial nerves."
"Walking into the room, I immediately realized our new kindergartener would be in good hands," said Sault. "The classroom was organized, but filled with lots of fun activities! It was warm and inviting, with lots of colorful pictures and labels. This definitely was not Kayla's first rodeo, and she knew exactly how to set up her room to create a 'home-y' feel at school. Our son was right at home exploring all this new place had to offer."
"Throughout the year, Kayla was extremely communicative, and in addition to the weekly classroom newsletters, we were up to date on our son's education," said Sault. "She was open about areas of development where he needed extra assistance and offered suggestions for at-home learning and extra support at school for continued improvement."
"While my son was in Kayla's kindergarten class, I was able to attend a field trip and spend time seeing her interact with the children," said Sault. "Kayla consistently demonstrated setting expectations for her students and teaching accountability. Although there was often fun in class, there wasn't room for negative behavior. Her consistency with positive reinforcement demonstrated bad behavior wouldn't be tolerated. As a parent of two young boys, I appreciated this technique and have adopted similar strategies at home."
"Learning that our son need extra support in reading wasn't desirable" said Sault. "His improvement with reading during his kinder year was a great success, but I was really worried about regression and moving into first grade. I am sure there is a major process in planning classes and preparing the next teacher with all the information they need for the following year. However this process may go, Kayla did an exceptional job with the reporting, and the transition was seamless."
"Two years later, our family still gets to work with Kayla," said Sault. "She has transitioned her role from teacher to Special Educator/Educational Support Team Coordinator. I believe our district couldn't have chosen a better person for this position. Kayla's commitment to the students is crucial in this role. As we've experienced within our family, Kayla has the ability to recognize personal strengths in the students she works with and uses those strengths to build in areas of improvement."
"As our son requires the additional support with reading, there is a process which includes planning meetings with the support team and parents," said Sault. "Being included as a parent in these meetings surprised me. I hadn't known that Kayla transitioned roles until we were offered the opportunity for extra support. I was so thankful that Kayla would be leading these meetings and following up on our son. She already has shown such dedication to his learning that I knew this was an exceptional opportunity and would greatly improve his reading."
"Kayla's dedication to the school community, use of unique strategies to improve education for students, and leadership in improving special and support education within our district are just a few examples of why she makes an ideal LifeChanger," said Sault.