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11 Questions for Kim Tredick
Sulphur Springs Teacher Wins $25,000
May, 2007 - Issue #31
Kim Tredick
Kim Tredick
Fifth grade teacher Kim Tredick was recently awarded $25,000 from the Milken Family Foundation for being recognized as an educator dedicated to making every student successful. The cash award was a surprise for this Sulphur Springs teacher and the check presentation was a media event with not only local press, but every major news channel in attendance. The Milken Family Foundation selects up to 100 teachers each year to receive the national award. Tredick is a GATE (Gifted and Talented) teacher and administers a "Let's Play" program to teach social skills to elementary school children. Tredick will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming Teacher Tribute dinner.

1. So Kim, you've gotten a lot of press recently. What was it like being in the spotlight?

I was completely overwhelmed and blinded by the lights. I had a small taste of paparazzi. They were pleasant but they put me on the spot. It's kind of second nature as a teacher to think on your feet, but that was a surprise.

2. How did (the Milken Foundation) find you?

They have a committee that consists of people from the Department of Education. The committee searches the school districts and asks questions to the superintendent, board members and other staff members. But they are very vague.

3. Twenty-five grand is nothing to sneeze at. You must have felt like you hit the lottery.

Yes. I have not received the money and it's probably a good thing that I haven't or I would have spent it a hundred different ways. I did buy lunch for my students, however.

4. Any plans?

At least half of it will be put away for my boys for college. Always thinking about education. I would like to do a little remodeling in one of my bathrooms and I am going to be frivolous and buy a little piece of jewelry. I've always wanted to walk into, say Ann Taylor, and buy everything on the mannequin.

5. It's almost Mother's Day. What role, if any, did your mother have on your choice of career?

I think my mom always just supported whatever choice I made. I played soccer my entire life and she supported that. She's always been positive and always encouraged me to be the best I can be.

6. The average parent today is so busy with work responsibilities and after-school activities for their children. You're a mom. Is it hard to find a good balance between your family and your career?

It is a delicate balance. Usually my needs are last, my own children are first and then the 30 children in my class are second. My poor, patient husband is third and always fighting for a higher spot.

7. How important is it for parents to stay connected to their child's school?

I have a unique position because I see it from both perspectives. Parents need to ask better questions to their children regarding school-related events and assignments. We can't just ask, "how was your day?" I ask my boys what was the best thing about today, the worst thing about your day. I ask a lot about peers and relationships. Peers can sometimes have more influence than schools and family.

8. You have a house full of men. What words of wisdom do you give your two sons?

I think it all comes down to respecting individuals. We all have strengths and we need to appreciate everyone else's. I tell my boys communication is key. You need to express yourself and make sure the people you are talking to understand your message.

9. What is [State Superintendent] Jack O'Connell really like?

He is down to earth, intelligent and has a good sense of humor. He's very tall!

10. Tell us about the "Let's Play" program at Sulphur Springs Elementary.

Last year I started the program to help children learn valuable social skills and make new friends. The students are paired with peer coaches who are kind, friendly and may have more advanced social skills. Together they participate in fun activities that teach social interactions. Students benefit by developing communication skills, problem-solving techniques, compromise and play skills. The peer coaches, in the meantime, learn how to accept, include and help children with differing abilities. Everyone involved gains social competence and friendships. Social competence as a young child directly relates to academic achievement in elementary school.

11. I understand Rosey Grier was at your school when you received the check. Did you tell your students about his role at the Ambassador Hotel the night Bobby Kennedy was shot? (Grier was credited with tackling the shooter Sirhan Sirhan.)

No! I'll have to tell them that tomorrow. I'm an athlete and I always remember him as one of the Ram's Fearsome Foursome.
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