With a burst of nominations from students and colleagues alike, Peninsula High School teacher Katie Crabtree was recently awarded the Ellen Fay Award for academic excellence.
While the colleague nominations are typical, the student nominations for Crabtree where more unusual, said Katje Rimmele, principal of Voyager Elementary and the one in charge of collecting teacher nominations for the awards committee.
“Katie’s nomination stood out,” Rimmele said. “It’s really fun to read about all the great people who work in our district.”
To Peninsula High School Assistant Principal Melissa McNeish, Crabtree’s nomination is not surprising.
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Katie is a fabulous teacher. She is a teacher who connects with every single child. She finds out what they like and what they interests are and pushes them on an individual level. She really is truly like a counselor in the classroom.
Melissa McNeish, PHS assistant principal
“Katie is a fabulous teacher,” she said. “She is a teacher who connects with every single child. She finds out what they like and what they interests are and pushes them on an individual level. She really is truly like a counselor in the classroom.”
Crabtree previously taught at Kopachuck Middle School and has been at PHS for about three years now.
What makes Crabtree unique among her peers is her genuine concern and connection with colleagues, students and staff, McNeish said, which is a key component of the criteria for the Ellen Fay Award.
The Ellen Fay Award is named after a Peninsula School District human resources director whose compassion for her colleagues reached across the district. The criteria for the award includes: engagement with students and families, modeling professional growth and improvement, excellence in job performance in position and any special recognitions.
From her connection with her colleagues to her engagement with parents to her dedication to her students, McNeish said that Crabtree is known and loved by students and peers.
Everybody loves her. There’s just a true love for her and appreciation for what she does in the classroom day in and day out.
“She makes her classroom totally accepting for who (her students) are as individuals and recognizes each student and their contributions,” she said. “Kids feel really safe sharing and discussing. She had a great repertoire with her students. Failure is not an option with her students, she will go the whole way to make sure they succeed.”
McNeish added that the ASB students at PHS made Crabtree a crown and a poster reading “Team Crabtree” for her award presentation at the March 24 school board meeting, which fellow teachers hung up in her classroom the next day.
“I haven’t seen so many flowers and gifts,” she said. “Everybody loves her. There’s just a true love for her and appreciation for what she does in the classroom day in and day out.”