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Extraordinary Educator: Kristen Vecchia

Great communities have great schools. High Point Schools Partnership creates impactful connections between our schools and the wider community to ensure students and their families are supported and can reach their full potential in High Point schools.

Part of High Point Schools Partnerships’ mission is to improve the image of our schools through storytelling. Who better to tell the stories of High Point’s schools than the people experiencing it first-hand? In this series of articles, we will highlight our 2022 High Point Extraordinary Educators as we dive deeper into what keeps them motivated in the face of constant challenges.

2022 Extraordinary Educator: Kristen Vecchia

Kristen Vecchia has been teaching at Parkview Village Elementary Expressive Arts Magnet School for six years. She has stayed/continues to stay because she feels that she is making a huge difference in the children’s lives. She has developed great relationships with her students and their families throughout the years. 

Dr. Crystal Gaymon, the principal of Parkview Village Elementary, describes Ms. Vecchia as “Passionate, Supportive, Skillful, and Effective.” She is “very vocal in her thoughts and ideas that support the growth and development of all students in the building.”

According to Dr.Gaymon, Ms. Vecchia “always reflects on how she can be better and support others. She has demonstrated her leadership ability throughout the building, and it is noticed and respected throughout the building.”

Ms. Vecchia wants her students to know “that I loved them when I taught them, I loved them when they weren’t in Kindergarten anymore, and that I still love them to this day.” 

She goes on to say “I hope that no matter where their life takes them, they remember Ms. Vecchia, their Kindergarten teacher, is cheering them on and loving them!” “Each student/family I have been fortunate enough to meet has impacted my life and I hope they can say the same thing about me!”

Q: What inspired you to become an educator?

A: I knew I wanted to be a teacher as soon as I started Kindergarten myself. I was always blown away by how much my teachers cared about my success and the success of all of their students. I still remember every single teacher I’ve ever had! School made such a huge impact on my life and all I could ever imagine doing when I was older was changing lives through teaching! I loved the idea of being able to give a child the tools and love they would need to become successful in their own lives. I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the world, and I feel that teaching allows me to do that, EVERY SINGLE DAY! I would come home from school and play school! It was just such a huge part of my life. As I got older, my teachers started to depend on me and would have me help/tutor other students. I can distinctly remember in high school my teachers saying, “Go ask Kristen if she will help you!” I fell in love with the feeling of pure joy when someone finally got something they had been struggling with for so long! Honestly, I became an educator so I could make the world a better place, one child at a time. I was so blessed growing up with all of the opportunities I had, and I just wanted to be able to give children who might not have had the same experiences the best chance at success no matter what! Every child deserves the same education! Every child deserves to be loved and given all the tools and skills they need to be successful throughout their lives.

Q: What’s your teaching/leadership style?

A: I would have to say that I am a teacher who is all about hands-on learning but in a very structured environment. It is so important that students get to actually interact with the material that they are learning, not only to keep them engaged but to give the content a deeper meaning to them. I spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year teaching routines and procedures so that hands-on learning can run smoothly and productively. My classroom is a place where I want the students to get the absolute most they can get out of each day. I never want them to just be sitting there and not participating in some way. I also am constantly incorporating choral responses in my classroom. It is such a powerful way to make sure all students are engaged and to check for understanding. Lastly, I think my leadership style would probably have to be pretty authoritative. I am known at my school for the strict rules and procedures that I start teaching on day one of each school year. I have found that this works best for me and allows a classroom that is well behaved and well managed so that we can learn all that needs to be learned each day with very minimal distractions.  

Q: Do you have a classroom motto or philosophy you abide by? Why?

A: I definitely believe in the power of yet! I always tell the kids they might not be able to do something YET, but with hard work and perseverance, they will get it! It’s so important to build our students up and make them realize anything is possible! I also will turn any “I can’t do it, Ms. Vecchia,” into “You can’t do it YET” or “You can do it with more practice!” I want my students to always have a growth mindset and be looking toward the future in everything they do.

Q: What’s your favorite part about every day?

A: The best part about every day as a teacher is knowing that you helped change lives! I get to go home every day knowing that I taught something new, I made a kid feel loved, I made a kid feel special and successful, and I made a challenging task seem manageable to someone! It might seem like such a little thing to some, but to these children, even a smile from their teacher has made their day! The kids are why I teach, so of course, just being around them is the best part of every day!

Q: What’s your most memorable moment as an educator?

A: This is a really hard question! Every day seems to bring something new and memorable when you’re working with kids! In regard to my students, I would have to say this past June was one of the most memorable moments for me. I gotta watch my very first class of Kindergarteners (2016-2017) graduate from 5th grade! It was incredible to have been with them as they’ve grown up and learned so much throughout elementary school. Watching them walk across the stage and get ready for the next chapter in their lives gave me a great reminder of why I do what I do. I get to prepare kids for the rest of their lives! In regard to myself, I would have to say I have 3 extremely memorable moments that stick out to me. In my first year of teaching, I was voted as my school’s 2016-2017 Rookie Teacher of the Year. Then, in 2019-2020, I was voted as my school’s Teacher of the Year. Much to my surprise, I was honored again to be voted as my school’s Teacher of the Year for 2021-2022. It has been absolutely incredible to be recognized at my school for all I do for my students! I truly feel that these are three of my biggest accomplishments so far in my career.

Q: Is there any other information you would like us to share with the community?

A: I would like to just share that I am so honored and excited that the community that I put so much hard work into has decided to recognize me! Thank you so much for this opportunity! 

Ms. Vecchia is just one of High Point’s 2022 Extraordinary Educators. Tune in for the next few weeks to hear more stories and inspiring moments from our local teachers!

Thank you so much to Kristen Vecchia for your dedication to High Point’s students. Congratulations on being selected as your school’s 2022 Extraordinary Educator!

To find out more about High Point Schools Partnership and our work, please visit our Facebook page and check out our page on Guilford Education Alliance’s website.

Article written by High Point Schools Partnership Staff