Garner Elementary's Kristin Baumgarth
Garner Elementary School
"As the school year comes to a close, my kindergarten daughter said to me, "I wish this was a year ago, so I would have another whole year to spend with Mrs. Baumgarth; I just love her so much." And as a parent, I can relate--I'm a little sad to be moving on also, because Mrs. Baumgarth has been such an incredible teacher and role model for our daughter, and has made her transition into elementary school so smooth and enjoyable. It's so apparent how much Mrs. Baumgarth loves what she does, and loves each of her tiny charges, and how much they respect and love her back. I think one of the most special things about Mrs. Baumgarth is how she connects and relates to each child on an emotional level. For example, when my daughter found out she had to get glasses last September, of course she was worried about what all of her new friends would think when she showed up to school in them. When Mrs. Baumgarth heard about it, she asked me to give her a heads-up when she was going to start wearing them to school, and that first day Mrs. Baumgarth also wore her glasses to school (she normally always wears contacts). She also took a picture of my daughter in her new glasses with a couple of other classmates who also had glasses, and made it seem like a really cool thing to wear glasses. My daughter came home from school that day SO excited, because instead of making fun of her like she feared, everyone thought her glasses were awesome. It might seem like something small, but to a 5-year-old, it was a really big deal.
It's not just these unique situations where Mrs. Baumgarth shines; it's the day-to-day where she emphasizes empathy, kindness, and inclusivity in her classroom just as much as ABCs and 123s. Don't get me wrong--she's fantastic at teaching the fundamentals and is always looking for new and challenging ways to get the information across to each individual student in an engaging manner, but she goes so far beyond that to encourage and nurture their spirits and celebrate their individual differences to help each child realize his or her potential. She's not just preparing them for first grade, she's preparing them for life."