SUFFIELD — Kris Pryce considers herself lucky to have spent 21 years teaching in her hometown.
And in recognition of her dedication to students and her passion for teaching, Pryce, a literacy specialist and lead teacher at A. Ward Spaulding Elementary School, has been named the town’s teacher of the year for 2014-15.
Pryce, 43, and a lifelong town resident, went through the public school system and was consistently inspired by a number of elementary, middle, and high school teachers whom she described as “dynamic.”
She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in intermediate upper elementary education from Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven and a master’s degree in reading and language arts from Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.
In being named teacher of the year, Pryce was recognized by colleagues for her “creativity, dedication, love of learning, mastery of content, and a true commitment to excellence,” according to an article on the Suffield public schools website.
She’s committed to excellence in reading, to be specific.
“As a reading specialist, my basic job is to get kids to love reading,” Pryce said. “I have to get little kids to realize that they are readers.
“Every student is different,” she continued, which is why she works with teachers to help them develop ways to get students to like reading. “The more time kids spend reading, the more likely they are to find enjoyment in it.”
Pryce is not opposed to utilizing modern technology if that’s what it takes to strengthen students’ interest in reading.
“Sometimes iPads are helpful,” she said. “As long as they are reading, I think any format can and should be used.”
She advises young people thinking about teaching as a profession to ignore the negativity surrounding Common Core, which is national education standards, and the constant evaluations, and instead ask themselves one simple question: “Do I truly love working with students?”
“It takes a special person to have the patience and compassion to work with students every day,” she said.
Pryce couldn’t be happier with her job and said she “loves going to work every day.”
She also made a point of showing appreciation for the “tremendous staff” in the Suffield school system, who she says make her feel “lucky to work there.”
“Kris epitomizes the dedicated and caring professional,” said Scott Dunn, principal of A. Ward Spaulding Elementary School. “And having been a lifelong member of the Suffield education community, she is the perfect representative of Suffield schools.”
Pryce was presented with a teacher of the year plaque at a Board of Education meeting in June, where School Superintendent Karen Baldwin spoke about Pryce’s “collaborative nature and deep focus on serving all children,” according to a write-up on the school system’s website.