Judy Kittleson, one of Briya’s English teachers, was awarded the 2017 TIERific Teacher Excellence Award by the Public Charter School Board (DC PCSB), which oversees all charter schools in the District. She was honored at a ceremony on December 11, 2017.
This award recognizes an outstanding DC public charter school teacher who demonstrates dedication, excellence, and care to their students and school.
Kittleson has been teaching ESL to adults for 25 years, and 12 of those years have been at Briya. In addition to teaching English, she teaches parenting classes, mentors new teachers, and works one-on-one with students in Briya’s National External Diploma Program, which she was instrumental in bringing to the school.
“I went into teaching because it uses my whole self—my intellect, my creativity, my personality, my sense of humor—and teaching English language learners feeds my curiosity about cultures, my love of language, and my desire to work for social justice,” she said.
During the ceremony, Kittleson gave a speech in which she mentioned her experiences teaching at Briya, described how she connects with her students, and offered advice to school administrators. “By knowing our students’ experiences, we connect new information with what matters to them,” she said.
Kittleson is a committed, extraordinary, and creative teacher. Judy is one of the best teachers I have ever had,” said Rebeca, one of her students. “I can ask her anything, whether it has to do with academics or something personal. If there is a vocabulary word that we don’t know, she acts out the word until we understand what it means.”
Kittleson also supports her students in expanding their goals. “I wanted to learn English but I never thought of going beyond that,” said Anabel, another of her students. With her help, I have been able to have a more ample vision, including going to college.”