Each year the Alpine School District Foundation chooses 10 educators from among the more than 4,000 in the district to receive the Accent on Excellence Award. Meadow Elementary third-grade teacher Kimberlee Sweat was surprised in her classroom on Friday, May 14, by the presentation of the award. “I can think of so many more deserving teachers. It was such a complete and wonderful surprise,” said Sweat.
The Accent on Excellence Awards honor outstanding educators and employees who are exemplary role models and heroes for their students. The Alpine School District Foundation and several local businesses partner to recognize and celebrate the winners.
Kimberlee Sweat has been a teacher at Meadow Elementary for her entire 14-year career. She’s taught third, fourth and fifth grade. “Every year and every class is different; what works with one class may not work with the next. Teachers are perpetual students. I feel like I learn from my students sometimes more than I realize, and I’m always looking at other teachers to do things better,” Sweat explained.
Sweat’s third-graders had just returned from specialties when Principal Alisa Hart came into her classroom and asked if she could have a moment. Members of the Alpine School District Foundation and School Board followed Hart into the room, then Sweat’s family came in. “I turned to my students and asked, ‘Why is my family here?’ ” laughed Sweat. One student knew about the presentation for a whole day before his teacher or anyone else in the class. “He told me he worked on his speech all night,” said Sweat.
The Alpine School District Foundation partnered with several local businesses to fill a basket with goodies for the winners of the Accent on Excellence Award. Sweat and her students checked out the items in the basket together. “I thrive off their energy. Every moment we can keep them excited and engaged at this time of year is important. I’m very proud of them and impressed with them,” she continued.
“Kim Sweat is a great example of someone who puts her whole heart into teaching. She takes on the responsibility of House Leader and leads in such a manner that helps all feel confident in their assignments,” said Principal Hart. “She also volunteers as our Drama teacher and has worked hard during the pandemic to video the school play so that all patrons can enjoy the performance. She’s a first-class teacher and Meadow loves her.”
“Teachers have to stay in tune with and know what their students need from them,” Sweat said. “I have to be flexible and sometimes set aside the lesson plan to do something else to help them reset. When they see me adjusting and working toward solutions, it gives them permission to do the same. I tell my students that ‘tomorrow is a new day’ and they can always try again. I always want them to feel cared for – that’s the most important thing.”