Celebrate Our Teachers of the Year

Silas Wood Principal Steve Toto (right) congratulates his Teacher of the Year- Mrs. Kristen Bernard.
Silas Wood Principal Steve Toto (right) congratulates his Teacher of the Year- Mrs. Kristen Bernard.

When a teacher is nominated by his or her colleagues and parents for Teacher of the Year, it is a special honor. When the same teacher is nominated twice for this recognition, it is something remarkable. Such is the case with Kristen Bernard, Silas Wood Sixth Grade Center’s nominee for New York State Teacher of the Year.

Mrs. Bernard has been a teacher at Silas Wood for over twenty-five years. Principal Steven Toto describes her as, “…a leader in every sense of the word…She looks at the “whole-child” with a deep sense of understanding, holding pupils to high expectations and encouraging them to always do their best…She is caring, sensitive, thoughtful, compassionate and always prepared. Her lessons are created with care and creativity…”

A colleague writes, “…It is an honor to have the privilege to work with Kristin Bernard…When I came to this district, (she) was the first person to take me under her wing and provide me with guidance…she was an unofficial mentor to me and to other new teachers…Kristin has made a significant impact in the building… (she) originated Family Bingo Night, which has now turned into Family Fun Night…She has been the Student Council Advisor…organizing various events in the building, including Candy Give Back to Veterans, creating benches from bottle caps, and developing the Silas Wood Garden.

A parent relates,”…She has such a passion for education. She is extremely organized, detail-oriented, firm but understanding, nurturing and helpful. She has a true love for her profession…It seems the students never want to let Mrs. Bernard down. She is always there for extra help…She gives her students the passion to learn…”

A former student writes, “…Although I attended Silas Wood four years ago, I still hold a few things from that school close to me. One of which is Mrs. Bernard…When we first met all of our teachers, something about Mrs. Bernard stood out. Her warm smile and big heart helped everyone on team one adjust very quickly…She was one of the first teachers who I remember explaining the importance of studying and staying on top of my work, and because of how kind she was, I decided it was a good idea to listen to her…As the year went on, I realized how lucky I was to have a teacher like her. I found myself always understanding what was going on, and because of her, I developed a strong base that would help me in my future…The funny thing is that, at the time, Mrs. Bernard had no idea of the impact she made on my friends and me, and she still does not realize how many of her students’ days she continues to make, solely because of her kindness…I believe that is what makes her such an extraordinary teacher…”