Kathy Hollowell-Makle, Kindergarten Teacher, Simon Elementary School
*2013 DCPS Teacher of the Year*
Kathy Hollowell-Makle joined Teach For America in 1998, inspired by her volunteer work with an after-school program. After teaching for two years in DCPS, "I realized that I loved teaching," she says. "Here I am some 15 years later." At Simon, where she has taught for four years, Ms. Hollowell-Makle has served on numerous committees and acted as a grade-level chair and mentor teacher. Her principal, Adelaide D. Flamer, explains, "Ms. Hollowell-Makle is generous in sharing research-based best practices, and is highly respected among her colleagues as a knowledgeable, compassionate, dedicated, and enthusiastic educator." She has also been involved in policy conversations at a national level, contributing to a panel discussion on adequate elementary school funding at the Finance Project and participating in a small group roundtable about early childhood education with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Her children currently attend Oyster-Adams Bilingual School.
At Simon, Ms. Hollowell-Makle appreciates the attitude that "every student is your student," and enjoys the "happiness and joy that hum around the building." She creates that energy in her own classroom by focusing on students' confidence and perseverance. As she puts it, "At the start of the year, 24 kids will look 24 different ways, but the goal in the end is to move them all toward fluency in reading, writing and counting." By the close of the school year, more than 90 percent of her students consistently demonstrate early literacy at proficient or advanced levels. Last year, more than 80 percent of her students advanced two or more reading levels. "This can-do attitude permeates the classroom," says Ms. Hollowell-Makle. "Students encourage and cheer on other students." Ms. Hollowell-Makle takes pleasure in being a part of her students' academic and social growth, explaining, "The best part of teaching is having former students recognize me, and being able to see how wonderful they turned out to be."