Kelsey Howald Nominated as Kettle Run’s Teacher of the Year


Mandy Holmes, Managing Editor

Meet the 2023 Kettle Run teacher of the year, Kelsey Howald! She has taught English for seven years, and Kettle Run has been lucky to have her for the past four. Mrs. Howald is extremely deserving of this award, as she exemplifies how to be the best teacher possible. Her classroom is a safe space where students can be themselves and enjoy learning. Meghan May, a senior in her fourth block class, says, “Mrs. Howald values each student at Kettle Run and takes the time to show them she cares. She puts all of her energy into each lesson she makes, so she knows that we will have a fun, safe learning environment.” 

Mrs. Howald is a Virginia native and graduated from the esteemed University of Virginia with a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in Teaching. She did student teaching and long-term subbing at Charlottesville High School while obtaining her degrees. She felt very supported by her first group of students, as she felt they rooted for her success. Following graduation, Mrs. Howald moved to Bowling Green, Ohio for her first three years of teaching. This school community was incredible and she was involved with lots of extracurricular activities. Despite her love for the community, she and her husband felt it was time to return to Virginia.

She has wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember and recalls one educator that truly inspired her. The teaching style of Mr. Marlow, her seventh-grade science teacher, is one she’s always tried to emulate. He was caring and made every student feel special. There were no “dumb questions” and his class got to wonder about the world. Mrs. Howald says, “Lots of teachers taught me how to be a student, but Mr. Marlow taught me how to be a lifelong learner.” 

Caring for her students is Mrs. Howald’s number one priority. She holds her classes to a similar standard as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid. This includes physiological, safety, and love/belonging needs at the bottom, then esteem and self-actualization needs at the top. Mrs. Howald wants to help her students reach self-actualization and strive to become the best version of themselves every day. She preaches this, saying, “I want my class to be about how can I help you be the best version of yourself through reading and writing. But if I don’t help students meet all these needs or if they come to class where all these needs aren’t met I can’t get there. Students are people first and students second and that’s the most important thing.” 

Mrs. Howald strives to encourage future educators and teaches a class called Teachers of Tomorrow. This course guides students on how to become a teacher and provides them with exposure to the field of education through class and field experiences, such as shadowing other educators. She shares advice for anyone interested in becoming a teacher, saying, “Believe in your kids and believe in yourself. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.’” This is an awesome mindset to have and truly shows how much Mrs. Howald deserves to be Kettle Run’s teacher of the year!