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Special School District of St. Louis County

SSD Teacher Kimberly Ann Dailey Named Finalist for Missouri's
2015 Teacher of the Year

dailey teacher of the year surprise photoSSD teacher Kimberly Ann Dailey has been honored as a finalist for Missouri Teacher of the Year by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Dailey, an SSD teacher at Lindbergh High School, was the 2014 SSD Teacher of the Year. In July, her application was submitted to the Missouri State Teacher of the Year committee.

Among the dozens of applications from throughout the state, Dailey’s was selected as one of six finalists.

Dailey and the other finalists will be honored at a banquet on Oct. 26.

Following is an excerpt from the state application that helped Dailey earn state recognition:

“I became a special education teacher because I believe every student has potential and I believe that the students faced with the greatest obstacles are the ones who need me the most. I’m committed to finding the best in my students, their parents, other students I encounter on campus, and in my colleagues. In building relationships with others, it’s no longer me – one. It’s us – a team. Together we are powerful!

The students I’ve worked with through my career as a special education teacher have had diverse needs. Currently, I work with students with the educational diagnosis of emotional disturbance. Though intellectually capable, the pressures inherent in the academic setting often exacerbate their struggles with anxiety, stress, depression, thoughts of self-harm, acts of self-harm, selective mutism, bipolar disorder, autism, agoraphobia, and other emotional needs. My students may avoid work, act out, flee a class, become ill, or avoid school altogether due to the overwhelming nature of these needs. Fear on the part of other students and teachers who can’t see past the behaviors only causes additional isolation and feelings of rejection.

My students then need me to see the potential hidden beneath the surface, care for them unconditionally, welcome them into the safety of my room, and help them develop and utilize strategies to successfully regulate their emotions and manage their school day. They need me to share resources with their parents and coordinate programming with their medical caregivers, if they receive treatment, and to help discover outside treatment options if they don’t. They need me to think outside the box of discipline referrals and the traditional school day. And they need me to help their teachers and administrators understand that fear and anxiety might be disguised as refusal to speak or work. They need me to help their peers accept and appreciate them for the person they are. What an honor to be trusted to do the important work of empowering so many!”

Watch the video below to see SSD Superintendent Don Bohannon surprise Dailey with the announcement that she was named a Missouri Teacher of the Year finalist.


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12110 Clayton Rd, Town & Country, MO 63131  /  314.989.8100  /  314.989.8552 – 711 (Missouri Relay)

Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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