Channel 6 News surprised Killeen ISD teacher Tami Kraft with our April 2018 Outstanding Educator Award on Monday.
Kraft, who teaches social studies at Ellison High School, has taught in Killeen for two decades. Prior to that, the seventh-generation Texan spent five years teaching in her hometown of Amarillo and a couple years in Waco. She said her lessons emphasize real-world applications.
"I want them to think about the issues," Kraft said of her students. "I try to teach both sides of issues, but I want them to understand that they're going to be adults. And, the problems that we have, there are solutions -- if they think about it."
Kraft recalled once being approached by a father who remembered her telling his son to make a choice between being a leader or follower. The son chose leader and went on to provide support for Air Force One.
"Ms. Kraft is a wonderful teacher," Principal David Dominguez said. "She is truly dedicated to the well-being of her students -- not only their knowledge of curriculum but their success in life."
Every day is not easy inside Kraft's portable classroom. But, she said being recognized in this way reminded her why she chose teaching.
"This kind of gives you a little bit of hope for the future and that little boost to keep fighting the good fight for public education," Kraft said.
Kraft is heavily involved as a yearbook advisor. This year, she will oversee the publication of her 11th yearbook in Killeen.
Teaching runs in the family. Kraft's great-grandmother was a teacher in Texas. And, both her sisters became educators, too.
Channel 6's Outstanding Educator Awards are sponsored by Precious Memories Florist and Gift Shop in Temple. Click here to learn more about Precious Memories.
Channel 6 honors Outstanding Educators monthly during the school year. Click here to nominate someone for the award.
Kraft used to teach English before switching to social studies. Below, read her nomination letter from a former student turned teacher.
"She was my Sophomore LA teacher. She incorporated such creativity and differentiation into her lessons. I remember doing so many engaging and fulfilling projects in her class. She empowered me and allowed me to really bring out my strengths and develop my weaker areas. I still read the novels for pleasure that we read for class and I can get my nerd on and explain to my friends the significance behind the elements. Especially for the books that have been made into movies. She was awesome. Even though I teach much much younger students, I still use similar class management models and much watered down versions of her lesson ideas."