Kelley Spahr — B.T. Bullock Elementary

Our Welcome To Sanford Teacher of the Week is Kelley Spahr of B.T. Bullock Elementary School. Mrs. Spahr is a fifth-grade teacher. She is entering her 24th year of teaching and her second year as part of the Bullock family. Mrs. Spahr graduated from Campbell University with a degree in Elementary Education and was recently recognized as Bullock’s 2018-19 Teacher of the Year.

Mrs. Spahr embraces a teaching philosophy she describes as “quite simple,” saying “do WHATEVER it takes to give EVERY student the best chance to succeed! I make my classroom engaging and rigorous. But ultimately my students know I love them, respect them, believe in them and are there for them.”

Teaching seems as though it was predestined for Mrs. Spahr from the time she was a little girl. She comments, “I believed I could make a difference in the world and that is something that has developed over time. I became a teacher, however, to make a difference to a CHILD. I had a teacher in fifth grade whose attention gave me the confidence and acceptance I desperately needed as a child. I never forgot how she impacted my life — both short term and long term. I became a teacher so that I could be, for another child, what Mrs. Wright was for me.”

Mrs. Spahr’s best experience in her teaching career came the first time a former student reached out to say how their time in her classroom impacted her. Mrs. Spahr recalls, “She was my student in fourth grade, and shared how she gained not only academic knowledge, but also confidence, and attributed many of her later successes to being in my classroom. She expressed that her time in my classroom enabled her to get moved out of remedial classes and go on to be a successful nurse. Knowing that I am setting children up for future successes is beyond the most rewarding part of this amazing job.”

To future educators, Mrs. Spahr says: “Congratulations on choosing the most rewarding profession there is! The days are often long and the work may sometimes seem too big, but never doubt that you are making a difference in the lives of your students. Never be afraid to admit you need help. Learn from your peers and your students equally. Be open to new ideas. Know that it is okay to fail — and communicate that to your students. Always remember — you may not see the full extent of your reach, but you are making a difference — one day at a time, one child at a time.”