Kate Lepovsky knew she wanted to be a teacher since high school.
“I really liked and enjoyed working with children,” said the Folger McKinsey Elementary School 2022 Teacher of the Year. “Looking back, I always loved my elementary school. All the teachers made me smile. It was so fun and engaging. They made me happy and made me want to learn.”
Having a positive experience and good role models convinced Lepovsky that she would like to do the same as a teacher. She grew up in Bowie, where she went to Rockledge Elementary School. After graduating from high school, she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Salisbury University.
This is her 12th year at Folger McKinsey. She has taught third, fourth, and fifth grades at the school — staying with fifth for the last few years. Previously, Lepovsky taught at elementary schools in Prince George’s County and Carey, North Carolina.
Lepovsky enjoys fifth grade because her students have emerged from third and fourth grades as independent learners who still need academic, social and emotional help.
“The kids are so bright. It is fun to work with a classroom of diverse thinkers,” she said.
Lepovsky finds the fifth-grade curriculum content interesting. She teaches math, science, and social studies on a four-teacher fifth-grade team. Lepovsky said that students grow over the year and are ready for middle school when they reach elementary school graduation.
When it comes to fostering an effective classroom environment, Lepovsky admitted that academics are important, but she added that building relationships with students throughout the year is critical.
“Get to know them and how they learn, their likes and dislikes,” she said.
Lepovsky works to build trust and establish a supportive environment so that students feel confident to learn and even think outside of the box. She is a proponent of cooperative learning and encourages her students to work together by engaging with and listening to one another, necessary life skills students will rely on as they continue through school and enter the work world.
“This is my first year getting to know Mrs. Lepovsky, and I have really enjoyed working with her,” said Folger McKinsey Principal Jason Otte. “She is a dynamic teacher who uses relationships as a foundation for good instruction. Not only does she utilize engaging instructional strategies to grow her own students; she also holds many leadership roles in the building, such as the intermediate lead, grade level team lead, leader of the math and STEM committee for our school improvement team, and she holds a critical role on the principal’s leadership team.”
Lepovsky credited Folger’s administration for facilitating her success.
“They shaped a path for me to learn and grow as a teacher,” she said.
“I have learned the most from my peers,” she added, citing her colleagues as influential in her development as a teacher. “The Folger community is amazing. We get such support from the parents, and the students are hardworking and fun — they’re the best!”
Lepovsky acknowledged that being apart from her students during the pandemic was difficult. “To have them back means the world,” she said.
Kate Lepovsky will be honored at the AACPS Teacher of the Year event in April.
“I am grateful for all that Ms. Lepovsky does for our school, community and students,” Otte said.
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