Jan. 30, 2008
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
Wal-Mart names SRU graduate Teacher of the Year
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Kathe House Posey, a 1979 Slippery Rock University graduate and sixth-grade teacher at Mount Union-Kistler Elementary School in Mount Union, has been named Teacher of the Year in Pennsylvania in the 12th annual Wal-Mart and Sam's Club State Teacher of the Year program.
"Gov. Rendell called to congratulate me. It's very humbling," Posey said. "To receive an award for something I feel so passionate about - teaching children - puts things in perspective. I am child oriented. I always believe you can't lose sight of the children."
Posey's school, 40 miles east of Altoona, received a $10,000 educational grant from the Wal-Mart and Sam's Club Foundation. She received a leather tote, crystal apple and Teacher of the Year Certificate.
The Teacher of the Year program honors one teacher from every state. Phi Delta Kappa, a professional association for educators that partners with Wal-Mart on the program, selected the winners from among 1,200 applicants based on essays from the candidates. Teachers described their greatest contribution to students and special projects they initiated.
Posey said the school will create a scholarship in her name and give the $10,000 to a student from Mount Union Area High School who plans to major in education in college or who makes a significant difference in the community. Posey graduated from the high school and worked there for 20 years before moving to the elementary school five years ago.
"My ultimate goal as an educator is to make a difference in the lives of students," Posey said. "I will only pass this way once, and I hope the world is a little better because I was here. What gives me the most gratification is when you see the light bulb come on and you know that the children get it. Slippery Rock University taught me that if you can't reach a child one way, you have to try to reach that child in another way."
Posey, who earned a degree in special education and elementary education from SRU, was initially nominated by one of her students after she showed compassion following the death of a student's grandfather. Applicants also submitted a current resume and two letters of recommendation.
School Principal Deb Goodman said Posey excels at project-based education and engaging students. Posey recently organized a project on Indians in South America and required students to make props, clothing and bring Indian cuisine.
"She's a dynamic person. She really cares about her children and the children know that," Goodman said. "She's very genuine."
Posey said she always wanted to return to her home community after SRU. "I am from Mount Union and I graduated from Mount Union High School," she said. "This is where I want to give back to the community."
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.