Educator Profile    Educators

Kathleen O'Connor (FL '05)

At the time of the Award, Kathleen O'Connor was:

Key Largo School
Key Largo, FL

Subject(s) taught: Reading, English/Language

Biographical Information

When students prefer to spend their lunch periods in the classroom of a highly challenging teacher, and when that teacher is also asked by eighth graders to be their graduation speaker three years in a row, it speaks volumes about how inspiring and effective an educator she must be. Kathleen O'Connor is just such a teacher. Using reading logs, peer discussions, hands-on activities and student performances of Shakespeare in costume, Ms. O'Connor motivates her students not only to read, but to think deeply and critically about what they read, and to love reading it. Test scores help attest to the success of her approach, with 88 percent of her eighth graders scoring 3.5 or above on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). With deep concern and compassion for her students, Ms. O'Connor goes above and beyond what's required to ensure that all of her students are receiving the best education possible. She provides additional tutoring before and after school without pay, and developed a method for individually measuring each student's outcomes according to a personal reading plan, which helps her provide highly focused remediation for struggling students. A National Board Certified teacher, Ms. O'Connor was selected by her colleagues to serve as grade-level chair and team leader, and has served as a mentor to new teachers. She has even had a profound impact beyond her school, serving on the board of directors for an aquatic center that she helped establish in the community. Kathleen O'Connor is clearly a key element in Key Largo's success.