After two years of teaching middle school math, Kelley Norman took on a new group of students as she now coaches and mentors classroom math teachers.
"Ms. Norman is a great instructional coach because she was a great teacher," said Teresa L. Songs, principal of Chase Middle School in Topeka.
Throughout her career, which included teaching fourth grade at Williams Science and Fine Arts Elementary Magnet School in Topeka, Norman has created environments that encourage active learning.
"I believe that whoever is doing the most talking and doing is also doing the most learning," Norman said. "In classrooms, the people engaging in the most 'doingness' should be students instead of teachers."
Norman's philosophy has made an impact on countless students.
"In Ms. Norman’s classroom there was always an element of competition," wrote one student, now in high school and a leader in his class. "We played math games that went along with the lessons and the winners got prizes, which made all of us work hard to learn."
Another student recalled all the extra time Norman was willing to spend to help students.
"I arrived at school 90 minutes early and would find Ms. Norman at her desk with her enthusiastic look ready to help me on math," wrote the current high school junior. "She took the time out of her day to help me succeed on the things I was struggling with when she could have been grading papers or inputting grades."
Norman’s current work mentoring other teachers is paying off for the school district, according to Songs.
"As an Instructional Coach, Ms. Norman’s impact was directly seen as those math teachers she mentored had significantly higher percentages of students scoring proficient and above on their state assessments," wrote Songs. "She assisted beginning math teachers with in-the moment coaching and modeling. … This exceptional mentoring along with the establishment of Tier II interventions were significant factors in Chase Middle School being one of the few schools to go off of the 'On Improvement' state status."
Norman earned a bachelor's degree in education and bachelor of arts degree from Washburn University and is pursuing a master's degree in educational administration from Emporia State University.