Golden Apple Award: Lincoln East teacher builds a community

10/11 Golden Apple award sponsored by Doane University College of Education
Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 10:03 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 1, 2021 at 7:50 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The 10/11 Golden Apple winner for March knows the meaning of community. As a student, Lincoln East was Sue Palmer’s home. And as a special education teacher, it’s been her home for 31 years. She knows it’s special, and she’s built a community of compassion, respect and love.

We surprised Sue Palmer in her Lincoln East classroom. She was nominated by Cindy Anderson and her son Kellan for the amazing work she does with Kellan and all of the students everyday.

At first, Anderson had a hard time getting her son Kellan out of the car for school. Now that he’s working with Ms. Palmer, there’s no hesitation. Kellan is non-verbal and Ms. Palmer has an innate ability to understand him. Kellan shows his appreciation to her with side hugs. Anderson says even on difficult days for Kellan, Ms. Palmer is positive.

“It’s a bad moment, not a bad day for students that have behaviors,” said Ms. Palmer. “So, I always look to find out how I can make it better. I’m very honored, and it’s just awesome to be appreciated. I’ve done this forever, and I want to keep doing it.”

Anderson said to educate a child it takes a village, and she considers Ms. Palmer as the leader of their village.

Sue Cassata is the principal at Lincoln East. Cassata says Palmer has built a community there. And when Cassata is having a rough day, she heads to teacher Palmer’s classroom.

“What we witness when watching Sue work with the kids, is true compassion for students, said Cassata. “To come into a space and know they are loved and supported; they are challenged to be better.”

A caring community makes everyone better. And the students, teachers and parents all appear to be gaining in this Golden Apple teacher’s village.

“This is our last year at East,” said Anderson. “It’s just been such a positive experience that Kellan’s had here, and I can’t show enough appreciation for her, in everything she’s done.”

Doane University College of Education
Doane University College of Education(Doane University College of Education)

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