Nominated by daughter, Katelin Bartholet :

She is my mother and she has been with the school district for over 15 years; I know it takes a lot of patience and love to do what she does. She has had a rough couple years, but through everything, she always went to work and made a difference, and is making a difference in so many children’s lives. Some of the things she does with her students that make her stand out like a shiny gem include her extreme caring way with kids and all people, but she always has had a special bond with children. She used to teach pre-school at a private school, Mt. View Christian in Ridgefield, but switched to Battle Ground High School to be closer to us when we were old enough. Kids are always just drawn to her. We always joke that Andy, my youngest nephew, loves to hang out with my mom more than me or his mom. She just has a way that is almost indescribable with kids. She is always frank and honest with the kids. She will tell you how it is and put you in your place in the sternest, nicest way ever. It was always amazing to me that her stern voice was scarier to me than someone yelling at me. She helps out with the reading, writing and math groups, and she is always encouraging and supportive. She goes the extra mile, for example, she called a student’s parent to talk about their science project; she wanted to ensure the student’s parents helped the student, and made sure they understood what the child was to accomplish. Mom’s supervisor, Julie, told me that she goes to presentations and mock trials and takes pictures and sends the pictures to the yearbook person, even though she does not officially work on the yearbook. She is just and unbelievably, amazing person all around.

Congratulations Sandra, from all of us at K103!

What inspired you to become an educator?

When I was 8 or 9, I remember playing school with my younger brother, Dan. He will tell you that he knew how to read when he entered kindergarten because of our “playing school.” As for what inspired me to get into education, I do not know. I think I was born with the “teaching bug”. What I do know is that I have a great love and respect for children. They inspire me. They make me laugh, cry and see the world differently than I had seen it before. I want to be a positive and caring influence and hopefully inspire them to try a little harder, embrace learning and strive to be a great person and role model for those around them. It’s not all about math, reading and language. It’s about life.

What do you like most about teaching?

I enjoy the energy of the students, their imaginations that have no boundaries and the promises that they hold for the future. It sounds corny, but it is true. The days are never the same, the students are all different and each year brings new challenges; some good and some not so good. LOL

What has changed the most since you began your career in education?

What has changed is all the testing that is now required from the government, the use of computers and technology (this is BIG) and the focus that has turned from the student to the educators when it comes to accountability.

What would you like parents to know about your job?

I would like parents to know that I care about their children as individuals. I want to see them accomplish things in their lives and be a contributing member to society. Working as a team (educator to parent or educator to educator) is essential. I believe that every child has a talent or a gift and finding that and getting them to believe in themselves is my ultimate goal. I want parents to know that I truly want what is best for the child and for the person that they will become and develop into overtime. I will ALWAYS be honest with them and treat them with respect but I do expect respect back in return.

Share a favorite story about your years in education.

I have worked with every age since entering the education field. Preschool, high school and middle school, which is where I am now and the stories, are endless. I am sorry but I find this to be the hardest question of all. The preschool stories, all come from their innocents. The high school stories, since I worked with the "at risk" kids, are all about survival and the middle school kids, well, their stories are centered on just figuring out who they are. But, I guess my favorite story to tell is that when I run into a former student, after they have graduated and moved on, they always give me a hug and greet me with respect and kindness. That is a story with a happy ending.