Written by Donna Emert
First grade teacher and University of Idaho Graduate Student Sammi Curry has been named Teacher of the Year at Athol Elementary School.
Curry was nominated for the honor by her peers.
“She not only is a great classroom teacher, but also gives a lot of her time to activities in our community,” said Athol Elementary Principal Kathy Thomas. “She is involved in PTU and extracurricular activities like girls scouts, and she just is very innovative, coming up with new ideas to involve kids.”
Curry has found innovative ways to educate kids about being and staying drug free, and has integrated science into her classroom with a hands-on center to encourage exploration and discovery.
As a University of Idaho graduate student, she has taught classes on visual literacy. Her research focus is the picture book. Working with Education Professor Emily Duvall, Curry has shared her insights on visual literacy with teachers at Seltice Elementary School. She will co-teach “Teaching Writing,” as part of a K-12 professional development course Duvall will present this May and June.
At Athol Elementary, Curry also works with intermediate grade level teachers to involve sixth graders as tutors and mentors for first graders. Those tutors include some at-risk kids. The partnership teaches participating sixth graders how to mentor, nurture, teach and lead.
“She’s just got a huge heart,” said Thomas. “When it comes to education, she is one of those teachers who just gets it. She understands kids. In a time when education is being cut and funds are being depleted, she’s not here just to get a paycheck. She’s here to make a difference for kids.”
This is Curry’s third year at Athol Elementary School and her fourth year on the district; she previously taught in Spirit Lake. Curry holds a bachelor’s degree in education and will complete master’s degree in education from University of Idaho this summer.