LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Kathleen Covelli-Reyes

Position: Visiting Teacher
School: The Bancroft School & Stubbs Early Learning Center
School District: Christina School District
City, State: Wilmington , DE

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Kathleen Covelli-Reyes was nominated by an anonymous colleague.

"If there is anyone who could define and show why relationships truly matter and the impact relationships have in the education field, it would be Kathleen Covelli-Reyes...In a role that routinely goes unnoticed and unrecognized, having the LifeChanger of the Year platform to recognize support staff in K-12 schools across the country, I am happy to share the impact she has made in the city of Wilmington and really help bring to light the critical role our visiting teachers play in our schools," said her nominator.

There are no special programs or awards that recognize visiting teachers. Many times, they are not included at the table when decisions about kids are being made. Over the years, Mrs. Covelli-Reyes has fostered strong relationships with families who may have experienced trauma, hardships, displacement, and crisis.

Mrs. Covelli-Reyes supports both The Bancroft School and Stubbs Early Learning Center, both located in Wilmington, Delaware. She has worked for the state of Delaware for 34 years, including DFS (Division of Family Services) and DYRS (Division of Youth and Rehabilitative Services). She has serviced families and schools in the Christina School District for the last 24 years. For her entire career with the state, she has dedicated herself to working closely with families and students, advocating for kids in the juvenile justice system, and advocating for equitable outcomes for Black and brown children. 

Visiting teachers play a key role in ensuring families have the supports and services they need.  Mrs. Covelli-Reyes plays a key role in supporting families experiencing displacement and homelessness. She works tirelessly to ensure families are connected to a host of wrap-around services, and she serves as a liaison between school staff, community supports, and families. Mrs. Covelli-Reyes has conducted hundreds of home visits with families.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of the visiting teacher became increasingly critical more than ever overnight. The pandemic further highlighted many of the barriers families and students may experience.

"The work of Mrs. Kathleen Covelli-Reyes and her efforts during the Pandemic should be commended.  She was there for our families," said her nominator.

Dorrell Green, a Delaware district superintendent, has explained in advocacy meetings across the State that when “there is a child in crisis….there is a family in crisis.” No one understands this message more than Mrs. Covelli-Reyes. She knows that if there is a child in need, there is a family in need. Without hesitation, she immediately begins her work in reaching out to the family and listening to their stories. She takes action by supporting them with obtaining the resources and wrap-around services they may need.  Ms. Covelli-Reyes has dedicated her life to supporting families, advocating for families, and fighting to ensure families are treated with dignity.  She fights to ensure equity, empathy, sensitivity, and understanding is at the forefront of all decisions.  

Mrs. Covelli-Reyes never looks for any praise or recognition, and her work and efforts as a visiting teacher play such a critical role in school experiences for students and families.  In most cases, she's the first person a family in crisis will reach out to or a family that is in need of supports or services.  This happens solely because she has built strong relationships with families over the years. 

"She is a gift to our families and the city of Wilmington.  I think about that saying you hear more often now than ever, about how we should 'give people their flowers while they are here.' Mrs. Kathleen Covellie-Reyes deserves many flowers and all this recognition.  Families call her because they know she cares. At the end of the day, that's what matters most: how we treat others and showing up for others. Relationships matter," said her nominator.