celebrating special staff

The best teachers don’t just teach, but rather leave a lasting impact on their learners. Throughout the years, Harrisburg has seen many amazing teachers who do just that. For this reason, it’s only fitting they get recognition for everything they have created and accomplished in their classrooms. This year, Harrisburg is happy to celebrate two teachers from Freedom Elementary. The first is Chase Hirt, a Kindergarten teacher, who earned the Teacher of the Year Award. Next we have Kelli McLemore, an educational aid, who earned classified staff member of the year.

Even when he was young, Mr. Hirt loved kids. His parents were both teachers, so school and teaching had a prominent role in his childhood. It’s no surprise that he became a teacher himself. Mr. Hirt has been teaching for fourteen years. In that time he has enjoyed watching his students get excited working through problems and learning new skills. His job is filled with a lot of fun; however, at times he's found it difficult to figure out the best way to teach his students. No two learners are the same, and it can be challenging to find which way they need to be taught. Some might get scared by this difficulty, but Mr. Hirt describes it as “a fun challenge.” He faces the task proudly because he knows the lasting impact he can leave on his students. If his learners take away anything from his class, he wants it to be this: failure is ok. We learn through our mistakes, and failure is not something to fear.

Kelli McLemore is the second staff member we are proud to recognize this year. She has been working within the district for sixteen years. Throughout this time, her favorite part has been getting to know the students. Each child is unique; however, this can cause difficulties. Much like Mr. Hirt, Ms. McLemore finds the most challenging part of her job is finding what way each student needs to learn. It's clear this task requires a lot of patience and perseverance. The district is extremely fortunate to have Ms. McLemore dedicated to finding the perfect way to teach each learner. Like most who work within schools, her love of engaging with kids is what drew her into being an aid. Before joining the school, she actually owned an at-home daycare. If her kids take away anything from her, she wants them to always remember to “stand tall and be proud of yourself.” This is a lesson everyone can learn, so our district is very lucky to have Ms. Mclemore teaching it.