Teacher of the Year named for Santa Paula Elementary District

August 29, 2003
Santa Paula News

Kathleen Thrift was honored as Teacher of the Year at a gathering of teachers and other employees of the Santa Paula Elementary School District Thursday.

By Brian D. WilsonSanta Paula TimesKathleen Thrift was honored as Teacher of the Year at a gathering of teachers and other employees of the Santa Paula Elementary School District Thursday.Another teacher, Louise Lessley was also recognized at the gathering. After a welcome and pep talk from Superintendent Dr. Luis Villegas, Carolyn Ishida, representing the Santa Paula Federation of Teachers, gave out the awards. Both teachers were presented with certificates and plaques from local, state and national elected officials, and were told recognition from President Bush was enroute.Thrift came to the SPESD in 1991 and teaches at Blanchard Elementary School. According to the statement read by Ishida, Thrift brings energy to her job. “And to this day her enthusiasm continues to spread to those with whom she works and those she teaches,” Ishida said. “Thrift takes a personal interest in every student, especially on her own time after school. She celebrates her students’ successes by taking them out to lunch. Trained extensively in literacy intervention, she has taught an after school program to help students who need that extra boost.”
Thrift is also a recipient of a grant from Amgen and serves on many school and district committees.Louise Lessley, who has taught in Santa Paula since 1986, was honored as an exceptional teacher. “She has a strong sense of instructional leadership and understands what makes a classroom function effectively,” Ishida said of Lessley.She has taught kindergarten, third, fourth and fifth grades. Her assignments have been at Barbara Webster, McKevett and Grace Thille, where she currently teaches third grade.



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