Brewer named Pinewood Elementary Teacher of the Year

Kari Ifland | BPSB
Kriston Brewer

Kriston Brewer, fourth grade special education teacher, has been named the 2021-2022 Pinewood Elementary Teacher of the Year.

She believes that a teacher’s responsibility to her students extends beyond the textbook because teachers are role models for their students as well as educators.

“Students are always learning from you,” she explained, “not only academically, but also socially. They watch how you react to situations in your classroom. They see how you treat others. They watch you when you are frustrated, happy, and sad. Students see how you handle the stress and pressure of the day.”

As students observe their teachers, they learn how to interact with each other and within society at large. This is one way a teacher’s reach extends far beyond academics and the academic year.

“It is easy to tell a student what they should do or how they should react,” she said. “It is much harder for us to model that in our daily behavior. That is when they are truly learning.”

Brewer asks an important question that she believes teachers must ask themselves: What are we teaching?

Brewer has been a fourth grade teacher at Pinewood Elementary for seven years, first as a regular education teacher and then as a special education teacher. Prior to that, she was a job coach at Pride Industries, helping people with disabilities obtain and maintain a job through their agency.

In addition to her teaching duties, Brewer is a member of the PWE School Improvement Plan committee, and helps organize Family Reading Night, Grandparents Day, Awards Day, and Sports Day at the school.

She is also the Special Education Facilitator at the school, attending daily PLC meetings by subject with fourth grade teachers and discussing curriculum and interventions for struggling students.

Brewer earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Northwestern State University and an Elementary Education Certification from McNeese State University. She is also certified in Special Education, Mild/Moderate.

She is passionate about working with students with disabilities, and her goal is to become an expert in finding solutions to learning challenges faced by her students.

“Students with disabilities are unique individuals with a variety of needs,” she stated. “As a special education teacher, I am challenged to discover the specific interventions that will fulfill the needs for my students. Figuring out what each student needs is like having a new puzzle to solve every day.”

She points out that educators need support and good communication from parents, school administration, and fellow staff members as well as quality professional development and achievable goals for students.

“One of the biggest blessings of being a teacher is the ability to make a difference every single day,” she concluded.