Kimberly Brace

Kimberly Brace’s student nominator shared this about why she is an outstanding teacher: “She is smart and she helped me write and I got way better at it and she helped me with way more stuff than any other teacher and she is just a really good teacher.” Kimberly Brace of Roscoe has been a teacher for 17 years, teaching multiple subjects to children in grades K through 3. She has taught at Whitehead Elementary for the past eight years, currently teaching second grade integrated literacy, writing and math. Kimberly aims to guide students as they advance their reading skills to the “best of their ability so that they can dream about their future.” After seeing a child nearly fall through the cracks because of a lack of testing and resources, her passion of teaching reading skills swelled. She got a second master’s degree as a reading specialist, invested in professional development and implemented systemic strategies to make sure students would have the tools necessary to be reading on grade level by the end of third grade. Kimberly collaborates with interventionists, reading coaches, other teachers and administration to find the best ways to meet students’ needs. When appropriate resources became available, Kimberly was able to reach the child who nearly failed reading and writing tasks in third grade, making the difference needed to help her learn more successfully. A Title 1 teacher at Whitehead shared that Kimberly “has mastered the art of differentiation and meets the needs of her struggling students, grade level learners and high achievers equally well. She currently has a student who is working at a Kindergarten level. This student is thriving in Kim’s room because of [her] ability to provide instruction that is challenging enough to move the student forward without causing frustration. This student has shown a positive change in her attitude toward school, her confidence and in her academic performance.” Kimberly also brings in students from other classes to work in her classroom. One child sometimes joins her for more than just academic help. He told Kimberly, “no one cares about me, not even my mom.” Heart melted, she invites him to her classroom for morning conversation and extra attention, “in hopes that he returns to his classroom ready to learn for the afternoon.” Kimberly is also not afraid to jump into new programs or to tweak them as needed. Pam Miner, principal at Whitehead, shared that after Kimberly and her grade level partner embraced a new phonics program, they didn’t see the results on MAP assessments that they had envisioned. Kimberly learned of an intensive literacy intervention being used and decided to use its Guided Reading Classroom version. “The results by the spring MAP were astounding. 81% of her students met or exceeded their growth goal”! Pam added that Kimberly “believes in her students and it shows.”