Tasha Wilson’s second-graders at Kingsland Elementary School in Kingsland, Arkansas, know how much their teacher loves them. In her classroom, students know it’s okay to make mistakes as long as they learn from them. Wilson motivates her pupils to perform at their peak academically, and they feel safe enough to take intellectual risks they might avoid in other classrooms. She creates deep, well-rounded learning experiences that use all the senses. For a social studies unit on the Southwest, for example, Wilson brought in pieces of cactus for the children to taste. Teaching writing is one of Wilson’s many strengths: Second graders leave her class able to write five-paragraph essays, a writing skill they will use and build on throughout their academic careers. Wilson’s students demonstrate tremendous growth under her guidance. Last year her students showed growth of 34% in math and 37% in reading on Renaissance Star 360 assessments. With scores above national averages in every area, Kingsland recently earned a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School designation.
Wilson never hesitates to help colleagues or the school community. She mentors novice teachers each year and often steps into their classrooms to model lessons. Wilson has served on the Professional Learning Community leadership team, Professional Crisis Response Team, and literacy and math improvement teams. She tutors after school through Educational Consulting Services to help identified students achieve mastery in math and literacy. Kingsland’s principal is in the building only in the afternoons, so Wilson steps in during the mornings, handling assemblies and other administrative duties. She is, however, committed to the classroom: The district recommended Wilson for a prestigious fellowship to prepare her for a future in administration, but she preferred to continue working directly with students.
A master of classroom management, Wilson presents students with a balance of structure and caring support. She goes above and beyond to make sure students treat each other fairly and tolerates no bullying. Wilson goes the extra mile to build trusting relationships with students with behavioral challenges, spending time with them one-on-one until their classroom performance turns around. During conferences, Wilson creates individualized plans with parents to help each child succeed. Parents know Wilson’s door is always open: She is happy to talk with them about their children’s progress, whether it’s in her classroom, the school parking lot or a nearby grocery store.
Wilson earned a bachelor’s in elementary education from University of Arkansas at Monticello in 2003.
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