“Mrs. Couts gives a great first impression of what school is to be like. My kids love her to death.”

Patty Couts, Kindergarten Teacher, Indian Valley Local School District

The following story was shared by Indian Valley Local School District in selecting Patty Couts as a 2017 Celebrate Teaching Distinguished Educator. 

Education is a people profession, and no one has exemplified the qualities, skills, and dispositions associated with this any better than Mrs. Couts during her 24 year career. Colleagues, administrators, parents, and students all flash a smile when presented her name. Each of these constituency groups offer a unique perspective on her work, but a common theme emerges without exception; Mrs. Couts is a kind, warm, caring, professional, and supportive human being. 

A secretary arguably has the most genuine perception of staff members’ personality and approach to the job than any other person in a school. Sherry Morrison has been secretary during Mrs. Couts’ entire tenure at Port Washington. She comments, “Patty is always so positive, never complaining. She is an expert at handling situations in the classroom. She never wants to make more work for anyone and is always thinking of others. Anyone who knows her loves her!” 

Long-time fellow kindergarten teacher, Heidi Baker, has this to say about Mrs. Couts: “Patty is a colleague that knows WE is more powerful than ME. She is the legs that keep our team moving forward. I value her smiles and support.” 

Troy Page, principal of Port Washington Elementary, recognizes what Mrs. Couts brings both to the team and to students. He cites her expert mentorship of a first year kindergarten teacher as a way she not only impacts the students in her classroom, but the one next door. Additionally, she keeps an open mind and willingness to stay fresh with new instructional strategies that benefit student learning. For example, this year she has implemented a new technique to help five and six year old students learn sight-words. She picked up this new technique from the first year teacher. This example embodies the humility of her disposition that serves as the foundation to her success. 

Parents, too, echo adoration and appreciation for Mrs. Couts. Scott Edwards is a father who has had two children in Mrs. Couts’ class. He and his wife, Kristen, speak highly of her work. In particular, they appreciate how she takes notice of their children as individuals and conveys both social and academic adaptation to school life. Scott goes on to say, “Mrs. Couts gives a great first impression of what school is to be like. My kids love her to death. She makes them enjoy school and they want to go.” Can there be any greater reassurance for parents who send their child off to school for the first time? 

Lastly, Mrs. Couts’ impact on students are remembered for years to come. A freshman at Indian Valley High School, Hailey Jones, can still recall the impressions made by Mrs. Couts. Hailey reflects, “We did a lot of interactive games and activities. She made it fun. But more than that, she helped us all feel accepted by one another.” Wow! What skill in creating a sense of community that is remembered nine years later by a teenager! In conclusion, Patty Couts would be an excellent representative for the 2017 Celebrate Teaching Distinguished Educator Award.