MASON — The Stewart-Johnson V.F.W. Post 9926 of Mason has named Kira Northup as its 2019-2020 “Teacher of the Year.”
The presentation was made recently by V.F.W. Commander Ray Varian.
Northup, a fifth grade teacher, has been at New Haven Elementary School for the past 12 years. She graduated from the University of Rio Grande with a degree in Middle Childhood Education, with an emphasis in English and mathematics. She has since gained a master’s degree, along with certifications in elementary education, school administration, reading, and special education.
Incorporating S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities into the classroom is important to her, Northup said. She has been awarded an AEP classroom grant to purchase Legos for S.T.E.M. activities, and was chosen as an “Excellence in Teaching” award winner through the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio in 2017, which allowed her to attend a S.T.E.M. conference in California.
In 2016, Northup began a one-day event each year that she titled, “Techy Tuesday,” which brings professionals in the areas of technology into her classroom. Computer coding, 3-D printing, and virtual reality are some of the technology her students have experienced.
Northup has been chosen as the Horace Mann Exceptional Teacher for New Haven, and was again chosen for the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio “Excellence in Teacher” award in 2017-2018 for her work with the “One Hen” project. As a result, she was able to attend the “Teach Your Heart Out” conference in Atlanta, Ga.
The month-long “One Hen” project is an annual event derived from the book with the same name. The project brings in guest speakers, allows students to make crafts to sell to their peers, then take the money raised to purchase food and take that food to the Bend Area Food Pantry. It has taken place for the past five years.
Outside of the classroom, Northup has started an after-school Crazy 8’s Math Club, assisted coaching the Wahama Junior High Volleyball Team, and been both a teacher and coordinator for the after-school PATCH program. She is presently a member of the school leadership team.
Northup is married to Nick Northup, who works as an adult educator with Mountain State Educational Services Cooperative. They are the parents of three children, Emma, Chloe, and Elijah. The Northups also serve as foster parents through Necco of Huntington.
As the post winner, Varian said she will go on to district and state competition.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at email@example.com.