Teacher Kelli Stanley combines her artistic talents with expert instruction to help make learning come alive for her first graders at Oakvale School in Oakvale. Using literacy centers, small- and whole-group activities and differentiated instruction, Ms. Stanley has not only improved student test scores but established a solid foundation of learning to prepare her students for upper grades. Before coming to Oakvale, she raised achievement among fourth- and fifth-grade students in a multiage classroom at Bramwell School, a rural campus with economically disadvantaged students that was in danger of closing. A National Board Certified teacher, Ms. Stanley has participated in the Governor's Summer Institute and presented her strategies for teaching reading at international, national and state conferences. On the first day of school, Ms. Stanley places her students' photos and names above their cubicles to give them a sense of ownership of the classroom. Giving her young pupils such VIP treatment is part of what makes Kelli Stanley a very important and highly effective educator.