I am nominating Ms. Tracey Coleman on behalf both of my children who have been fortunate enough to be in her third-grade classroom. My son, Lucas is diagnosed with Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NVD), ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and was consistently struggling. Attention, understanding directions, and confusing social inference kept him in a constant state of anxiety all through his first three years of school. He would spend hours crying and refusing to go to school, however, all of that changed when we met Ms. Coleman. Her loving attention and dedication to my son not only increased his confidence but reignited his love of education as well. She suggested interventions no one had previously thought which led to Lucas meeting grade-level expectations for the first time in his life! At the end of the year I was able to thank her with tears streaming down my face. There are no words to articulate the gratitude I feel in my heart for this superior educator.
In addition to all the ways she enriched his life, Tracy also went above and beyond to educate me on Individual Education and 504 Plans making sure I was equipped with all the tools necessary to advocate for my child. Making herself available after hours on several occasions to counsel me and answer all 1,000+ questions I had. It is not easy navigating the system and at times I felt powerless. Her compassion for my situation was so vast that it spilled over into my son on a daily basis. As a parent you learn to listen to your children when they tell you which adults make them comfortable and those who do not. In addition to words, their body language is also very telling. My son struggles with sensory overload and is often unable to tolerate physical touch which is something that I routinely take a mental note of. To see my son, embrace Ms. Tracy like a member of our family only serves as additional proof of the warmth and love that radiates from her. It is important to note that three months into fourth grade, my son had to be withdrawn from traditional school and now attends a specialized private school to meet his academic needs. To quote Lucas, “I will never have a teacher like Ms. Tracy ever again. She helped take care of me and loved me too.”
As luck would have it, my daughter was placed in her classroom the very next year. Alejandra is a gifted student who often becomes bored in school. Ms. Tracey recognized this early on and will assign her additional work despite the school’s limited homework policy. We are in constant communication about both of my children and she continues to be a beacon of personal and academic growth as well as an inspiration to both Lucas and Alejandra. She is a phenomenal educator who pours her heart and soul into her classroom and deserves to be recognized for the impact she has had on my family!