Newspaper Article Archive of
On Sept. 22, Highland Elementary Kindergarten teacher Rebeca Yoder found herself being bombarded with congratulatory messages, though the reason was not initially apparent to her.
Yoder was named the KHAK teacher of the week and, according to Elementary Principal Jane O’Leary, parents and others had noticed her post about the award before Yoder had seen her email from O’Leary notifying her of the accolade.
“I had a lot of different emotions. I was shocked, amazed, and grateful. I had no idea that a parent had taken the time to nominate me,” Yoder said.
Yoder was nominated by a parent of one of her students, Jennifer Young, who also serves as an associate inside the building. In the announcement on the KHAK website, Young praised Yoder’s work with her son, who has Down Syndrome, saying Yoder has incorporated sign language into classroom routines.
“I’ve gotten to know the family over the last few years, as I also had one of their older daughters in kindergarten. I was amazed that they thought so highly of me,” Yoder said.
When asked about why she thought she had been singled out for the award, Yoder wasn’t 100 percent sure. She praised the atmosphere and the commitment to learning created by every single teacher and staff member within the walls of the elementary building.
“We are all working very hard to make sure that all of our students learn something new every day, have a fun time doing it, and know they are cared for,” she said.
O’Leary said Yoder was a very deserving recipient based on the way she interacted with her students in the classroom.
“It’s very well deserved. She spends lots and lots of time meeting every single student’s needs. It doesn’t matter what their disability is or what their proficiency is, she will meet their learning style,” O’Leary said.
Yoder, who received gift certificates to Wild Hogs Saloon and Eatery in Walford and Kathy’s Pies in Cedar Rapids, already knows how she’s going to put her reward to good use.
“My family and I are going to have a great night out,” she said.