- The Story
Stewart Elementary teacher Katie Stork believes her students can do anything they set their minds to. That philosophy recently earned her $1,000 as the winner of our Educator Spotlight Award.
The award is presented quarterly to deserving teachers or staff members at schools serving Woodforest. Nominations are taken from residents.
The nominating parents cited her dedication to her students as well as her creativity and ability to make learning fun.
“I create experiences that I hope they hang on to for the rest of their lives,” Stork said. “One of my favorite labs is where a crime scene investigation meets soil properties. We use the soil found on stuffed animals’ feet to figure out who stole dirt pudding.”
She has also led field trips to New York City via VR goggles, hosted a classroom campout complete with tents and a campfire and created an escape room to help children solve tricky words.
Watching her kids grow from one celebration to the next is one of her favorite things about teaching.
“First graders are the happiest people on the planet,” she said. “They love life and enjoy all the things we do together. They grow faster academically than at any other time in their lives.”
Stork understands that reading can be a challenge for children. She has dyslexia, a reading disability that makes the many steps required to read text challenging.
“My first-grade teacher, Mrs. Pickens, impacted my diagnosis and my mom impacted what happened with the news of the diagnosis,” Stork said. “I learned a valuable lesson through her reaction — we do not give up. We work harder than everyone else, and we arrive at the same place!”
Despite the challenge, Stork graduated with honors from Sam Houston State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in education. Her mother and Pickens cheered her on during the ceremony.
The 18-year veteran has taught at Creighton, BB Rice and Gordon-Reed elementary schools. She has been a teacher at Stewart for eight years.
She was surprised and honored to receive the award.
“I have been nominated for awards, but I have never received an honor like this,” she said. “This is something I won’t ever forget. A huge thank you to the parents who wrote in about the work I did during COVID and teaching online and those who wrote in about my teaching currently.”
She will use the money to purchase science books, tools and hands-on learning items for science labs.
“I have also found games and manipulatives for math that can be used for years to come,” she said. “I am still working on my list, and I am so grateful for this opportunity to invest in the future of my students.”
Stork said that teaching doesn’t feel like work because it is her passion. She wants parents to know that she is their children’s cheerleader for social and academic growth.
“In order to do that, I communicate the latest news to help provide meaningful tools for your child’s growth and development,” she said. “When your child enters my classroom, they become a part of my heart and soul!”