Congratulations To Vision Of An Educator Honorees, Harrison Elementary Head Custodian Sarra Boggs And Lakewood High English Teacher Katie Spies
Harrison Elementary head custodian Sarra Boggs relies on Vision of a Lakewood Educator competencies such as critical and creative thinking, collaboration and empathy as she juggles the varied responsibilities needed to keep the building clean and operating smoothly. Sarra says she enjoys the variety of her job and the fact that there is never a dull day. Unexpected situations and problems often pop up, prompting Sarra to be flexible, problem solve and think critically about a solution. Those unexpected moments also challenge Sarra to have a growth mindset, something she embraces. “There are always new things to learn. You have to be resourceful,” says Sarra, who joined the District in 1999 and has been at Harrison since 2008.
Staff members’ empathy and support for each other is high and for Sarra, that extends to the students as well. She loves talking with the students who are often curious about her job duties. She approaches her job and her interaction with students with kindness and respect, treating the students as she would her own four children.
For Sarra, Harrison is like a second home. She takes pride in maintaining the Quail Avenue school because she knows that it holds a special place in the Birdtown neighborhood.
“I love how it’s the heart of the Birdtown community,” says Sarra. That extra care is noticed by Sarra’s nominator, Operations manager Ed Deblock. According to Ed: “Sarra is always trying to make Harrison look its best for the students, staff and community.”
Like any good educator, LHS English teacher Katie Spies strives to inject the right amount of rigor and expectations into her classroom. She also believes in creating a classroom environment that emphasizes empathy, communication, collaboration, inclusivity and community and works hard to foster that.
This is most evident in her collaborative work with the staff and students in the MILES program. Since last school year, Katie and her students have been building relationships with the MILES students by hanging out together every other Friday just getting to know each other through talking, board games and other activities. Katie was instrumental in a Special Olympics event held at Lakewood High last spring where her students were matched with a MILES buddy to participate in events.
Her class recently supported the MILES students performing in their class’ Poetry Cafe and they in turn will come join Spies’ students in acting out scenes from Macbeth that the students have re-imagined with their own modern day spin.
For Spies, the community-building is a means to ensure students feel seen, heard and cared for so that they can grow both in and out of the classroom. She extends that sentiment to her work with her building’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee, the LHS Peer Mediation group and Best Buddies program, which brings neurotypical and neurodivergent students together.
Katie is one of the staff members that has stood out for LHS Principal Joy Morgan in her first year at the school. “Katie brings an even voice, an open perspective and a strong work ethic each day to LHS. She is an asset to both staff and students and we are thankful to have her at LHS,” Principal Morgan said.