Natalie Street, a third-grade teacher at Creekside Elementary, has been named the 2017 Elementary School Teacher of the Year for Suffolk Public Schools. In the classroom for eight years, she is known for her dedication and optimism, and has been called a natural born leader.
A colleague applauded Street’s high standards for all students in her class, while also creating a positive, family atmosphere in her classroom: “She doesn’t allow excuses by students for not meeting or exceeding goals. Her organizational skills, thoroughness, and willingness to collaborate with colleagues makes her the perfect teacher leader.”
In describing her efforts to show that learning can be fun, Street says she’s taught on top of tables, done cartwheels down the hall, spoken in funny accents, “made fun of myself, said I’m sorry a thousand times, and even cried with my students. I’ve told students my hardships and mistakes, while teaching them how to set goals and overcome mistakes. My philosophy of teaching is expressed through using a motivating balance of engagement, strong work ethic, and a sense of belonging.”
A parent said that Street “not only taught my son the third grade curriculum, she taught him that learning was fun, and the harder you work the bigger the reward. She taught him that a great work ethic and mastering the fundamentals will make you a success at anything you do.”
Street has worked hard to rebuild the Suffolk Reading Council, an organization dedicated to the promotion of literacy in schools and the community, and currently serves as its president. The Council has hosted two Saturday mini-conferences for local teachers and sponsored a division-wide book drive to donate books to homeless shelters, day care centers, and doctors’ offices.
Beyond the classroom, Street sponsors the Gator Gardening Club, helping students learn about plants first-hand as they work in the community garden at their school.
Street earned her bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University, and her master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, Maryland.