NEWPORT – Newport Intermediate School Special Education Teacher Kristen Edwards has been named WARM 98 radio's Teacher of the Week.
Edwards, who was nominated for the award by the parent of one of her students, began to cry as she learned about the award during a phone call from WARM 98s morning show hosts Jim Day and Amanda Orlando. A video of the call posted on the station's Facebook page has been viewed nearly 5,000 times.
"I'm crying right now because this is so sweet and means so much to me," Edwards said during the call. "I love my job so much; I love my babies."
"You sound like such a blessing to everybody who has the honor and job of coming in contact with you," Day told Edwards during the call. "Thank you for what you do."
During the call Orlando read from the nomination letter the station received from Amanda Jenson, a parent of one of Edwards' students.
"(Edwards) is amazing and goes above and beyond each school day for her students," Orlando said in reading from Jenson's letter. "She cares about them on a level I have never see. The children adore her. She has a newborn at home, but always makes sure her babies at school are taken care of as well."
"Amanda and her son were driving in the car, listening to Warm 98, when the announcement for Teacher of the Week came on," Edwards said. "Her son told her he would like to nominate me for this award. So, they went home, typed up the nomination letter and sent it to the radio station."
Edwards has been a special education teacher for five years, specializing in reading and writing instruction. She originally went to college to study graphic design but changed her career course after working in the education program at the Cincinnati Art Museum.
She started as a substitute teacher at Newport and other districts when Tim Grayson, at the time a principal with the Newport Independent Schools and now the district's facilities director, offered her a position working in reading intervention.
"I loved it from day one," Edwards said. "It was if I found my calling immediately."
She returned to college, earned a master's degree in learning and behavioral disorders, and accepted a position with Newport Intermediate School.
"My favorite part of my position is my students," Edwards said. "I love the joy that comes with their learning. It is a very powerful moment to witness a child learning something for the first time, a blessing I will never take for granted. To teach a child to read is one of the most important things I can do."
Edwards receives added satisfaction because as a child, she had to overcome challenges with reading and did not learn how to read fluently until the fourth grade.
"I will never forget the wonderful teachers who helped pave that path for me," she said. "I hope that I can give my students the same blessing that my teachers have given me."
Edwards thanked Jenson "for the thoughtfulness of nominating me for this honor", her colleagues and the Newport Schools "for giving me a chance to work with the amazing children in this district".
"I believe like all of my colleagues; I go into work each day with love in my heart for every single child and their families." Edwards said. "It is challenging for parents to know that their child has a disability of any sort, and I make it my personal goal to make sure that my babies and their parents feel supported and loved."
During the call on Warm98, Newport Intermediate School Principal Dennis Maines said the entire district is proud of Edwards.
"She's wonderful," Maines said. "She has been a 'go to' person throughout all of the pandemic. Obviously, education has been a challenge, but throughout this she has been making things work, especially for our students. When working with special need’s students, there are a lot of schedules that need to be worked thru to make it happen for her kids. She pulls it off every day."