Kim Fuller, a special education paraeducator at South Middle School, was named the 2016 Dedication To Education Award winner by the Lawrence Schools Foundation at a school assembly Wednesday.
The $5,000 Special Award for Dedication to Education rewards a certified teacher or paraeducator in the Lawrence Public Schools who goes the extra mile to help kids who need it most. The award honors someone who supports “Learning for All, Whatever it Takes” by ensuring that challenged and/or disadvantaged students learn.
Fuller, who is in her 12th year in the district, is very involved in South’s extracurricular activities in addition to her work in special education. Some of her involvement includes Students for Equity and Excellence Club Sponsor, co-founder of Women of Color, Brothers in Harmony, and organizer of the Native American Dancers of SMS assembly. She also serves on the Building Leadership and Equity teams.
She does all of this with a sense of caring for the students and displays passion and humor.
The school’s students know Fuller cares about them and has their best interests at heart.
“Ms. Kim is like a loving mother to each and every student and treats him or her like her own,” a former student wrote in a nomination letter. “She is the kind of person who can help you with any subject, whether it is math, English, history, anything. You can always go to Ms. Kim when you don’t understand or get how to do something and she will always be ready to help you.”
When the final bell rings at the end of the school day, Fuller’s dedication to the students just continues, as she supports her students in their post-school activities.
“Kim is at the heart of school spirt at South,” a co-worker wrote. “She attends every athletic event, drama and music performance, school dance and fund raiser both at South and at Lawrence High. She is there to support her students and former students in all of their endeavors and to encourage them to always remember to push themselves toward excellence.”
Principal Jennifer Bessolo summed up what Fuller means to the students at South.
Among the letters of nomination, was one signed by more than 60 staff members at the school.
“It is awesome (to be nominated by so many staff members at South),” Fuller said. “It is really cool. I love everybody and I love what I do. I have been doing it for awhile. I appreciate (former vice principal) Lynn Harrod for even getting me in the door. I used to drive a school bus, so I was around the kids, but he saw that there was more. I am happy to be here. I love being here – 12 years now.”
The Special Award for Dedication to Education, is a teaching honor created through the Foundation by a group of community members inspired by their fathers’ example. They are the sons and daughters of another group of anonymous Foundation donors (all with the first name Bob) who created the Bobs’ Award, a $10,000 Special Award for Teaching Excellence, in 1997. The Foundation annually presents the Bobs’ Award in the spring.
The Lawrence Schools Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that raises money to enrich the education of all students in the Lawrence Public Schools. The Foundation seeks to promote and enhance effective early childhood education, innovative teaching and learning opportunities, recognition of outstanding educators, and encouragement of student achievement.