Our Mrs. Ballmann, FZ Educator of the Year

Kelsie Ballmann

We are so proud of our very own Mrs. Ballmann, Special Educator.  This week, it was announced that she was chosen as the Fort Zumwalt’s District Educator of the Year.  Mrs. Ballmann was nominated to represent our building earlier in the school year.  Being in the top five of the twenty-seven teachers representing each school in our district, she interviewed with the district panel.  On Wednesday, Dr. Floyd, Assistant Superintendent, came to our staff meeting surprising Mrs. Ballmann with the announcement.  

Mrs. Ballmann is one of our special educators who services students in our Intensive Language and Behavior Support (ILAB) classrooms. The program services students who come to Rock Creek Elementary from across the district to receive services to meet their needs.  This is her seventh year of teaching students with autism requiring specialized and explicit instruction in academics, social skills and communication skills.  Mrs. Ballmann consistently incorporates a team approach with various therapists, behavior specialists, and paraprofessionals to support her students.   She is constantly looking for the best methods to reach her students, make learning relevant for them and to increase their independence.  Mrs. Ballmann utilizes community-based instruction, giving students opportunities to practice their social skills and communication skills during community outings.  One example was a trip to the pumpkin patch and then to a restaurant where students ordered and paid for their own food. Preparation for their trip including learning many academic and social skills.   In addition, her students run a coffee cart, Rocket Brew.  A couple of times a month students make and deliver coffee, tea and hot chocolate to staff members in the building.  Prior to their “coffee day”, students deliver order forms, collect orders and plan their jobs.  Students and staff alike enjoy this positive and real world learning opportunity.  Mrs. Ballmann continues to improve this program and learn new methods of supporting her students. 

Mrs. Ballmann is involved with our school community, as well.   She serves as the sponsor for Sign Language Club and is the co-sponsor for SHARE Club.   Additionally, she serves on various committees and has presented to our staff and at the district level, regarding the development of social skills.  We are proud of all the success Mrs. Ballmann has achieved, but more importantly, we are grateful for her passion, love, and talents which she shares everyday with her students and team!