Rachel Fulks was named Claremore Public Schools' District Teacher of the Year 2022-23!
Teaching found her. She was inspired by her mom, a teacher, and her dad, a pastor, who modeled teaching and caring for and about people. Teaching, learning, and caring also led her to missionary work in Colombia. When she returned to the states, she accepted a position at Claremont Elementary as a paraprofessional and Spanish translator. Motivated by her administrator, Fulks pursued her state certification and fell in love with teaching due to the mentorship of her outstanding co-workers.
Fulks is a student herself and realizes this is her biggest strength. Starting as a paraprofessional gave her a teachable attitude, relying heavily on the wisdom and advice of mentors. She thrived in a school climate that felt like a family. She was encouraged to observe other teachers, ask questions, and discuss students' needs with a team of people and took every opportunity to do so. These very qualities happen to be foundational for our Professional Learning Community. Our best resources are our people.
Her lessons make connections and tie to life outside the classroom while honoring existing diversity to engage students. She shared that her greatest accomplishments in this job includes connecting knowledge of other cultures and languages to our multicultural students to give them the richest education possible.
Fulks believes at the elementary level when so much brain development is taking place, manipulatives, paper books, and paper/pencil writing are invaluable. Reading, writing, kinesthetic learning, and face-to-face social interactions should dominate the school day. She uses all those strategies and tools to introduce, practice, and reinforce her lessons.