Each year, the Mercer Island Preschool Association (MIPA) honors a teacher, assistant, or administrator with the Exceptional Educator Award. The award is presented to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to our preschool community. This year we congratulate Kathy Morey, a teacher at Creative Learning Center, on being selected the MIPA Exceptional Educator of 2017. Kathy has dedicated about 16 years to teaching preschool children, and is incredibly deserving of this award.
The award is given annually by the Mercer Island Preschool Association (MIPA). MIPA Co-VP of Preschool Jessica Apodaca said they received 25 nomination letters for “Miss Kathy,” who has been teaching at Mercer Island’s Creative Learning Center for about 16 years.
Marilyn Wellnitz, the director and owner of Creative Learning Center, wrote in her letter that Morey “hasn’t earned this honor due to her many years, although the years alone are impressive, she’s earned it one minute at a time; with every rub to the back, with every kind word of encouragement, with her thoughtfulness, with an abundance of kindness towards not only the children, but her fellow workers.”
Morey is the first teacher from Creative Learning Center to win the award. There are nine teachers on staff, including Wellnitz’s two daughters. The Montessori preschool is located next to the Mercer Island Community and Event Center.
Wellnitz said the goal of the school is to “spark a joy of learning, and curiosity,” and that it’s important to her that a child’s first teacher is a positive influence in their life.
Morey said she just loves kids, guiding them and helping them develop not just academic skills, but virtues like respect, love, patience and kindness. According to the nomination letters, these are qualities Morey exudes herself, along with “a wonderful calming quality,” sincerity and authenticity.
One letter reads: “She has an authentic way of relating to kids that is so genuine and honest. I’ve watched her disarm kids who think they can persuade her to give in or change her mind and within a minute, they’ve forgotten why they were upset and are off playing. It’s like magic.”
Morey “engages every family and builds community,” one admirer wrote.
“Miss Kathy is everything you would ever want from a preschool teacher: positive, peaceful, patient, kind, thoughtful, playful, attentive, and a great communicator with the parents,” according to another letter.
Morey, who lives on the Island and has eight children of her own, said she is “blessed to work with wonderful kids, parents and staff.”
Thank you to all that participated and nominated so many deserving preschool teachers this year!
Text and photos courtesy of Katie Metzger, Mercer Island Reporter.
2016 Winner- Laura Selby of Stroum Jewish Community Center
2015 Winner- Jen Headrick of Pixie Hill Preschool
2014 Winner – Talina Birashk of St. Monica’s Parish School
2013 Winner – Alex Cruz of Patti’s Play Center
2012 Winner – David Weston of Sunnybeam School
2011 Winner – Lynn Ahringer of Early World Montessori
2010 Winner – Molly van der Burch of Pebble Preschool
2009 Winner – Lisa Given of Lisa’s Little School
2008 Winner – Rita Macomber of Emmanuel Day School
2007 Winner – Mary Ann Haney of Sunnybeam School
2006 Winner – Ann Connolly of Pixie Hill Preschool
2005 Winner – Judy Witmer of Mercer Island Learning Lab