Gardnerville resident Katie Hill is not only celebrating being a mother today, but being Douglas County Teacher of the Year as well.
The Gardnerville Elementary School sixth-grade teacher was honored at a dinner on Wednesday night, hosted by the Douglas County Education Foundation.
“I was shocked because I was onstage with so many teachers who I had taught with,” the 35-year-old mother of two said. “I was also pleased that I could share the awards show with my parents because they inspired me to be a teacher.”
Hill grew up in Gardnerville watching her parents, Steve and Gail Wilcox, teach at Douglas High School for 30 years.
She now teaches the children of the students her parents taught.
“What I really love about teaching is every day is different,” Hill said. “Kids are so rewarding to work with because they’re so fresh and young and enthusiastic and ready to learn.”
Hill said her philosophy on teaching is to make her students feel safe.
“Kids appreciate routine and structure and that’s what I strive to provide them with,” she added. “If they feel safe and are willing to take risks and make mistakes then they’re going to learn. The biggest thing is to make it safe.”
Hill is active in the school’s instructional consultation committee and social committee.
“Katie’s colleagues hold her in the highest regard as competent and hardworking, with a firm but fair approach to management. She treats her students with respect, kindness and goes out of her way to insure they are learning in respect to their individuality and development,” Hill’s nomination letter said. “She shares resources and ideas and has become the go-to person on campus since we received our promethean boards to navigate technology and access instructional resources.”
Hill has worked for the district for 12 years at Scarselli and Gardnerville elementary schools.
A video shown at the event included interviews with teachers nominated from their schools and their students.
Every spring, each public school in the district nominates its own Teacher of the Year who later gather for a districtwide ceremony. DCEF honors all of these deserving recipients with a recognition dinner, and provides each teacher with a Golden Apple classroom bell as a memento of being honored by their peers.
“There was joy expelled for every single representative as they were announced,” Superintendant Lisa Noonan said. “They were all just wonderful, humble, intelligent, dedicated people. It was wonderful.”
Noonan thanked the Education Foundation, including its president, Todd Gray, who served as MC.
Event sponsors included Carson Valley Inn, Valley Pediatric, Dr. Todd Gray, Jason Acevedo, DDS, D’Ascolli Orthodontics, Carson Valley Veterinary Hospital, Carson Valley Accounting, GE, Associated Anesthesiologist of Northern Nevada, Parigini Orthodontics, Carson City Orthodontics, Karwoski Dental, Carson Tahoe Health and Edgewood.