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Kathryn Grace, Waterbury, a 33-year veteran teacher for the Essex Town School District, has received the UVM outstanding teacher of the year award for grades K-5. She was also a "runner-up" for the Vermont Teacher of the Year.
Grace is a resident of Waterbury and a native of Duxbury, where her family still owns the farm where she grew up with her parents and nine siblings. She is married to Robert Grace and they have three sons, James, Jeffrey and Jonathan.
Grace earned her BS (1975) and masters (1980) in education from the University of Vermont and her certificate of advanced graduate studies in language and learning disabilities from St. Michael's College in 1993. She has been adjunct professor at both Trinity College and St. Michael's College, teaching her colleagues how to integrate special education students into the regular curriculum.
Grace has been an employee of the Essex town school system since December 1975. Her first role here was that of a fifth-grade teacher with various teammates to include Terry Moore, Joan Mallory and Paul Garrett. She taught in the classroom for six years before returning to UVM to earn her master's degree in reading and language arts. In 1981, she returned to Essex and became the corrective reading teacher.
Over the next few years her teaching role changed several times to include district assessment specialist, language arts coordinator and then, finally, learning specialist. She became the first learning specialist in the district and was assigned to work with students and teachers in all three of the Essex schools. Since 1990, she has been a learning specialist at Founders Memorial School, grades 3-5. Last year, she also assumed the role of literacy teacher leader for founders in addition to her special education duties.
Outside the classroom and school Grace is one of the original instructors and a contributing author for the Time for Teachers project which focuses on teaching teachers the five parts of reading.
She is a professional developer for the Stern Center for Language and Learning and has written and published a book entitled Phonics and Spelling Through Phoneme-Grapheme Mapping. She wrote the first draft of the Vermont House Bill 527 Section 2903 entitled Preventing Early School Failure: Reading Instruction.
She has been honored several times by her colleagues through receipt of the following awards: the Robert T. Stafford Award for significant contributions to special education; the VT/NEA Teaching Excellence Award; and the American Legion Auxiliary Education of the Year Award. She was also given a community award by the local Little League organization in Waterbury.