Katie Ferguson

Katie FergusonKatie loves teaching. She has been dedicated to the teaching profession since she joined Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School of Math, Science, Technology, and Invention as a first grade teacher in 1998. While there, Katie and her class were fortunate to have been presented some fantastic opportunities. In 2003-2004 Katie’s class participated in more than 10 video conferences through Project VIEW. The video conferences were with museums and institutes across the country such as the Buffalo Zoo and The Ocean Institute in California. Her work with videoconferencing was highlighted in a small excerpt in Teaching K-8, a magazine for education, the Daily Gazette, and in a case study by the Evaluation Consortium at the University at Albany. She was also awarded the Red Apple Quality of Life Award in 1998 and 1999.

In 2007, Katie joined the Jessie T. Zoller Elementary School staff as an integrated 2nd grade teacher where she still teaches today. At that time Zoller School was involved with the Charitable Leadership Foundation through a grant to support literacy. Her work with independent literacy centers has often been observed by teachers throughout her district. Her self-created materials, which are used to support literacy, have been shared with numerous teachers in both her building and throughout the district. In the summer of 2008, Katie and her colleagues worked together to lead a workshop on literacy centers for new schools joining the Charitable Leadership Foundation grant. She was also videotaped teaching a guided reading lesson for a DVD intended for a workshop for the administration.

Katie prides herself in individualizing instruction to meet the needs of her learners. In seeking to reach all of her students, she works in small groups as often as possible and will present the material in a variety of ways and a number of times so that each child has the opportunity to hear, see, and experience a new concept. Katie enjoys creating materials to meet the specific needs of her students, from individual behavior charts to songs, chants, or cheers to help children learn new concepts.

She also believes that a strict, but caring environment is essential to learning both academic and life lessons. Using professional development offered by her district, Katie created her own unique, theme oriented classroom management plan in which every child will experience success and is held accountable for his or her own actions. This too has been adopted by various teachers throughout the district.

Katie believes she, and her students, owe her success in education to the collaboration her wonderful colleagues have given and the many professional development opportunities her district has offered her. In her 16 years in Schenectady, she has taken more than 25 professional development workshops. In May, 2010, Katie was awarded Teacher of the Year by the Schenectady City School District, which led to her applying for the New York State Teacher of the Year. She was selected as New York State Teacher of the Year 2012. In February, 2013, Katie was recognized by the National Education Association (NEA) Foundation as a 2013 Pearson Foundation Global Learning Fellow and will spend nine days touring Brazilian schools.

“Teaching is more than a profession to me. It is a way of life”. She believes that the children entrusted to her, no matter their background, will learn and be independent in her classroom.