‘Making A Difference’ matters To KA teachers


In an effort to recognize the impact teachers have on the lives of their stu­dents, both in school and out, Kemper Academy will be presenting “Making A Difference” awards to two teachers for each nine-week term of the 2021-2022 school year.

“Our teachers truly give so much to each and every one of their stu­dents and we just want to honor them and let them know that we see what they are doing in the classroom,” said Mary Ellen Waters, head of school for KA.

The first honorees are kindergarten teacher Wendy Wade, who has been with the school for a decade, and Chris Gully, who teaches seventh and ninth grade Bible, works with the elementary music program, and coaches junior high sports.

One award will be pre­sented to a teacher from PK-through sixth grade each grading period and another to an instructor from seventh through 12th grade. What makes the honor so unique is that the nominations come from parents and students.

“With us it’s not just about the who, but the why,” Waters said. “When a teacher is nominated we ask the person doing the nominating to tell us why they think the teacher should be chosen.”

Waters readily admits one of her favorite as­pects of the award is reading what is written about the nominees. “It makes you stop and real­ize why they are so spe­cial,” she said. “You read it and you know they are doing some big things here.”

She said Wade is now teaching the grandchil­dren of some of her for­mer students and has had a lasting impact on those she has taught. Waters noted that Gully helps get the day started for the KA students. “He’s pretty much our greeter,” she said. “His is the first face they see. He’s always happy to see them and helps get their day started with a smile and encouragement.”

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