Outstanding Educator 2021, Kirkland Middle School
Sara Ward, English language teacher
Kirkland Middle School
Niki Cassaro, principal

Kirkland Middle School’s Outstanding Educator Award for 2021 goes to Sara Ward, an English Language teacher at the school.
Sara’s principal, Niki Cassaro, says “Sara’s dedication to her students is apparent in all that she does. She values every student and supports them in reaching their full potential. Sara truly believes all students can learn and is relentless in ensuring their success, focusing on building and maintaining relationships with students and developing highly engaging lessons. She does NOT give up on students.”
Sara brings students’ interests into the classroom, creates engaging modified learning opportunities for our EL students who are still learning English, and infects all students with her enthusiasm for reading and learning. This year, Sara expanded her practice to include small group learning sessions. Sara led a number of these sessions in addition to the classes she taught to ensure students had their learning and social-emotional needs met. She knew students would not experience successful without these groups and connections to her and their peers. Even though we’ve returned to school in person with 80% of our students attending in person, Sara continues to run these small group sessions because students valued the support. To say Sara goes beyond expectation to support her students’ learning is an understatement; she often sacrifices her own time to ensure students have positive, meaningful, and accessible learning experiences.