Teacher is winner regardless

  • Thursday, May 9, 2013

Kathy Green, left, and Lydia Schulz share a hug Tuesday, in front of a giant bulletin board at Summerville Elementary School that loaded with student and faculty thoughts about Green and her influence on them. Green was among the top five teachers of the nation in the recent LIVE with Kelly and Michael contest. She was nominated by Lydia’s mother Kristen. A.M. SHEEHAN/JOURNAL SCENE

Although she may not have won the national Top Teacher contest on LIVE with Kelly and Michael, Kathy Green is a winner and Top Teacher to those she teaches, their parents and her community.
“I don’t consider it not winning,” said Kristin Schulz, who nominated Green and whose daughter, Lydia, was in Green’s fourth-grade class at Summerville Elementary last year and is in her fifth-grade class this year.
“She got the recognition, the trip to NYC and was in a well-deserved spotlight … I am so glad she had that moment in the spotlight…the rest is just icing on the cake although it would have benefited the school.”
Would she nominate a teacher again? “Absolutely,” said Schulz, “I have so much respect for teachers and I am so happy to have had her [Green’s] impact on my child…I know Lydia will carry that with her long past the fifth grade.”
When Green returned from her appearance on LIVE, according the Schulz, children at the school were asking for her autograph.
Green is modestly pleased with the experience. “I am very happy,” she said Tuesday. “This validates what I am doing … it’s what I should be doing. It is a tremendous honor to be at the top.”
Green said her trip to New York City was a great experience that has given her many memories and new friends.
Green and her husband Willie were flown to NYC by ABC’s LIVE show, put up in The Pearl Hotel in Times Square for five days, driven around in a limo and treated like a queen, all on the LIVE tab.
And she will be dressing like a queen as well, having received a $5,000 gift card to Talbots for winning one of the top five slots.
But, more importantly, said Green, her students will benefit. She received 30 Intel Inspired Toshiba Ultrabook Convertibles that will enable her to take her students even further down the road of discovery and learning.
“The computers are for the classroom,” she said. “and will be shared with the school. Having the new laptops will allow me to use technology … we can do so much!”
Green thinks the national exposure she has received is very good for the school, the district and the state. “It shows the nation we are a family, here, a community and the entire state of South Carolina is recognized as doing something good in education.”
Green’s fifth grade Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) students are thrilled with how far she got in the competition and not a bit put off that another teacher won the top spot.
“One of my kids said ‘you’re still number one in my book,’” chuckled Green. “Another told me ‘if Kelly and Michael had come here themselves they would have picked you!’”
Green’s students are a mix of children each with a special talent.
She has been teaching GATE students since 1985 and several of her former students are back in the district as teachers. All of her students are doing remarkably well, she said. They are accountants, engineers, a pharmacist and a musician.
The mention of the musician brings a smile to Green’s face. “He was a busy little boy,” she recalled. “I said to him, ‘if you let me teach what I need to teach at the end of the day, I’ll let you sing.’”
“And he said when he made it big he would come home and give me a copy of his first record…and he did!”  The young man is a recording artist in England.
“It’s all about building relationships.”
Green’s husband of 28 years, Willie, is a CPA and hugely supportive of her, she said. She has a daughter, Ashley, who is in her second year of law school at USC. They live in Summerville.
The LIVE crew came to Summerville Elementary for two days to film and the result, Green said, “was remarkable. They did a really good job documenting what we do here.”
What is even more remarkable, said Green, is that just one quote could propel her to the top.
That quote, of course, is Lydia Schulz’ statement “She makes me want to be a better person.”
A bright-eyed little girl with a magical smile, Lydia was a bit disappointed when she learned Green did not win the top spot “but,” she said as she gave Green a huge hug, “I don’t care that she didn’t win … in my eyes she did win.”

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