April 10, 2015
Dear Dr. Robert Brooke and Administrator Certificate of Recognition Award Selection Committee Members:
Please accept this letter of nomination requesting that Kathy Fleming receive the 2015 Nebraska Writing Project Administrator Certificate of Recognition Award. Kathy is the building principal at Saratoga Elementary, which is a high need school in Lincoln, NE that serves a very diverse student population. There are several reasons we feel passionate that she deserves this recognition.
Kathy models lifelong learning. She encourages her staff to continue their learning through professional development. She is willing to learn right along with the staff. Because of Kathy’s leadership, the Saratoga staff pilot curriculum, write curriculum, and are represented on Lincoln Public Schools curriculum selection committees. They are also the first Lincoln elementary school to participate in a NeWP Embedded Institute. One teacher writes, “Kathy is a wonderful administrator who really pushed to get this writing professional development in place.” Kathy believes that in order to raise achievement in students, teachers need to be highly skilled. Applying for Saratoga to be part of an Embedded NeWP Institute was one way that she supported that belief for the 2014-15 school year.
Kathy’s staff have always felt her support. She always advocates for her teachers and her school. One teacher writes, “What I love about working with Kathy is she really is a teacher at heart. She carried her experiences as a classroom teacher into her role as an administrator.” Another writes, “Kathy showed through participation in the Saratoga Writing Institute that she cares about her teachers and students ability to become stronger writers. She has a better appreciation of what we all do each day in regards to writing.”
Kathy realizes how important it is for students to develop as writers—that writing is vital to student learning. She works with staff on ways to develop a better writing curriculum for teachers and students. She is willing to go through the writing experience with the staff, supporting their efforts to develop their own writing skills. Kathy realizes that if staff develop as writers, they will become better writing teachers of the Saratoga students.
The success of the institute was ensured when Kathy made the commitment to participate fully in the first such institute in a Lincoln elementary school. She attended almost every meeting with engagement and support. She participated actively and modeled positive behavior by attending meetings with integrity. Kathy wrote regularly and participated in discussions about her own writing and the writing of others in her small writing group. She also provided written feedback on the writing of other participants. It would be easy for a principal to choose not to be part of the institute and a small writing group due to the other demands on their time, but Kathy chose to participate fully.
Kathy expects the staff will implement what they have learned through participation in the institute. Kathy takes information learned as a result of each EQUIP presented and incorporates this information into the teacher observation process. This follow-up provides participants with encouragement and support to incorporate what they’ve learned into their classroom writing instruction. She holds teachers accountable and expects that staff will use this professional development opportunity to learn and grow.
Because of the commitment and support shown of the NeWP and the Saratoga Writing Institute, we hope you consider Kathy Fleming as your choice to receive the 2015 NeWP Administrator Certificate of Recognition Award. We know she is deserving of this honor.
Saratoga Writing Institute Participants