VERDE VALLEY EDUCATOR OF THE WEEK: Laurie Sudol

Cottonwood American Heritage’s Laurie Sudol says that she loves “when my students share creative or silly ideas that are personal to them, or when they want to join a discussion that interests them.” VVN/Bill Helm

Cottonwood American Heritage’s Laurie Sudol says that she loves “when my students share creative or silly ideas that are personal to them, or when they want to join a discussion that interests them.” VVN/Bill Helm

COTTONWOOD – As principal at Cottonwood’s American Heritage Academy campus, Eric Evans says he could place Laurie Sudol “anywhere in K-6 and she would shine.”

Fortunately first-gradeool’s first grade students, Sudol belongs to her.

“She has a gift, Evans says. “One of her greatest gifts is her ability to take children who come to her classroom and turn them into learners who are ready for the next challenge.”

For Sudol, the gift is the one that she receives each day as she gets “to see their happy energetic faces.”

It’s actually one of many things Sudol says she enjoys as an educator.

“I love when my students share creative or silly ideas that are personal to them, or when they want to join a discussion that interests them,” Sudol says. “It’s a moment when a child may feel empowered, successful or confident. I am lucky to have the opportunity to uplift and share with my students.”

Sudol believes in “strong and consistent routines,” says that they “are vital” for first grade students.

“Modeling is so important, and sharing expectations with my students early on allows me to focus on curriculum throughout the year,” she says. “My goal is always to help instill and promote confidence and success for each student.”

TEACHING STYLE

“I begin my year with setting up a structured environment with all of my students working together to create a warm and safe academic community. Within a short time, I start developing lesson plans with student-centered instruction in mind.

“As each child is unique and different, so are their learning styles and behaviors. My goal is for all of my students to participate and enjoy what they are learning so it is always a year-long process to encourage each student to do their personal best.

“In my book, confidence and happiness are key so bringing a positive attitude, setting goals and establishing high expectations for my students helps to elevate them toward their full potential.”

NOTABLE

“This is my first academic nomination.”

QUOTABLE

“My students always hear me say, ‘Do your best, your personal best.’”

“When a student says ‘I can’t,’ I say ‘I can’t yet.’ This process goes on until the student says, ‘I can’ and usually at that point, students want to participate and share their experiences and what they have learned. This really helps to build a bridge toward positive communication and confidence.”

DID YOU KNOW?

Evans says that Sudol’s strengths include “strong organizational skills, knowledge and depth of the learning standards, and her ability to differentiate the learning.”

“She has a great ability to bring all students up to and even beyond grade-level expectations in reading and math,” Evans says. “I knew she was special when I saw her in action. She has it. She is a natural.”

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