MONTROSE, Colo. (KREX) — Kindergarten teachers are tasked with helping kids understand the basics of schooling. Shanda Bray is a kindergarten teacher at Johnson Elementary School, and she’s our September Montrose Golden Apple winner.

Kindergarten really is the foundation for kids academic careers, everything builds upon what they learn in kindergarten. I asked Ms. Bray what she thinks the key to being a good teacher is. She said, “The biggest key I think is celebrating learning, and celebrate what they’re doing. When they’re struggling, you celebrate the little things and move forward from there.”

At the beginning of the school year, kindergarteners are just staring out and learning their numbers and ABC’s, but by the end of the year, they’ve gained reading and writing skills. Ms. Bray told us, “Watching that progression is just amazing. They start out with very little sound and letter recognition, and then they can read. It’s just so exciting.”

Ms. Bray has been with the Montrose County School District for 29 years. She spent most of that time working in the Early Childhood Center, but switched to teach kindergarten three years ago. What keeps her coming back? “The kids. I love being with the kids. They have stories, they’re funny. Little things they say make my day.”

The person that nominated Ms. Bray for this award, told us that she excels as an educator because of her kindness, her patience, and her dedication to the students. You can nominate an outstanding educator for a Golden Apple Award by clicking this link: