Kim Prothero, 4th Grade Math & Science Teacher at Endeavour Elementary in Vancouver, Washington
Nominated by Ryan Larrabee
Mrs. Prothero is absolutely awesome. She teaches 1/2 time in the classroom and the other half she spends being the math coach for our 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classes. She has been a huge asset to our school as well as our district by being part of a team that has put together a unified math curriculum for the district. She spends countless hours at school and during her own time to dissect math standards and design activities and interventions for the wide array of student abilities our school has. Her students in the class love her calm demeanor and her relatable teaching practices. She truly cared for each student she comes in contact with and will do whatever it takes to make each student succeed in their goals. Mrs. Prothero will fight for her students and advocate for their needs. She communicates with families with respect and professionalism and is a teammate with them in their child's education. She is one of the most humble educators I know and does so much more that is behind the scenes and never gets the spotlight on. She deserves this award 100% and distinction.
Congrats, Kim, from all of us at K103! Get to know Kim Prothero:
What inspired you to become an educator?
My senior year in high school I took a class through my high school where we ran a preschool for the first 2 periods of our day. I only took the class because my friends were taking it....I really wasn't interested in kids or teaching. I ended up being completely surprised by how much I enjoyed teaching, and the educator that was running the program encouraged me to become a teacher. I am so grateful that I had this experience and discovered early in my life what a wonderful profession teaching can be!
What do you like most about teaching?
I love being able to inspire kids to be the best that they can be. As a math teacher I often get students in my room that have been discouraged and frustrated in math. By making math more student-centered and hands-on, even the most reluctant students can learn to enjoy math and be successful.
What has changed the most since you began your career in education?
Today we ask our students as well as our teachers to do so much more work! When I began my career, I had a textbook provided for me for every subject and my lesson plans listed the pages that we would be working on that day. Now every single lesson, every single day is a lesson that I have created myself to match our new standards without any text book support. Although this is much more work for teachers, I believe the education we are providing today is far superior to what I was delivering when I began my career, 35 years ago. We are asking our students to do much more challenging work than ever before, and they have shown that they can do it!
What would you like parents to know about your job?
I think parents would be surprised at how close-knit our classrooms are. We are like an extended family. It is amazing what students share with us every day, and by the end of the year we all know each other VERY well. I keep my students for two years. By the end of that second year, I spend a great deal of time mourning the loss of each of the students as they graduate and go on to middle school. It means the world to me when they come back and visit!
Share a favorite story about your years in education.
In the middle of my career I spent 13 years in a district office doing elementary math staff development for a school district (teaching teachers). When I moved to the Portland area six years ago, I decided to go back to the classroom. I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could actually teach math to students like I was telling the teachers in my staff development classes to do. It was extremely challenging that first year back, but it was the best decision I have ever made. I love my job!