Position: First Grade Teacher
School: North Elementary School
School District: Jackson R-2 School District
City, State: Jackson, Missouri
About the Nominee: Sarah Rottler was nominated by the parent of a student, Cristal Backer.
A Superhero! Ms. Rottler is a LifeChanger because teaching is her superpower. She is a teacher who helps children live up to their fullest potential. She shows exemplary leadership in her roles as a team member on North Elementary School’s Building Leadership Team and mentor in Children Always Love Books (CALB). Whether it's through founding her school's current Summer Reading Program, teaching students health and life skills in her school’s first ever running club (We R.U.N. Club) or showing students how to make a volcano at science night, all of her efforts build a better community, one child at a time.
A Giving Heart Ms. Backer's daughter was in Ms. Rottler’s classroom two years ago, but because Ms. Rottler volunteers in so many leadership roles within the school, she continues to be a part of Ms. Backer's daughter’s life. Ms. Rottler inspires every student to work harder and do better, which is every parents’ wish for their child. Forty percent of the students receive free and reduced lunch assistance. With a socioeconomically diverse student population, Ms. Rottler works diligently to narrow the achievement gap and encourages all students to achieve academic excellence and build character.
Saying “No” to the Summer Slide Ms. Rottler leads the school's Summer Reading Program, which is tailored to every grade. She is a true innovator in her approach to expand student literacy rates; the program has grown from 108 students participating to half of the school (157 participants) enrolled. Every year, her goals for the program are to increase student accountability, improve comprehension and writing skills and of course, create lifelong fans of reading! Ms. Rottler’s program is integral to her students' literacy successes.
Reach your goal. Unleash your potential. Never give up. Ms. Rottler spearheads the We R.U.N. Club. For 12 weeks, girls in grades 3-5 learn about forming healthy habits, exercise, nutrition, lessons of self-growth and overcoming obstacles. According to a study from the Dove Fund, 7 in 10 girls believe they are not good enough. She generously donates her own personal time to ensure that these students develop a high self-esteem and see the potential within themselves.
Serving a Community through Youth Development Ms. Rottler's We R.U.N Club culminates with her school district’s community 5K run. All proceeds benefit the Backpack for Friday Program, which provides weekly food and books to families in need. The students’ efforts help families within the school and the region. Feedback from a parent included, "My daughter participated this year and loved it - she was excited and able to complete it thanks to this group!”
Leading by Example All the programs Ms. Rottler leads are free to students. Being an exemplary ambassador for North Elementary, she strives to ensure that students are not limited by financial limitations, so she reaches out to community partners to fund these projects. Ms. Rottler has passion and initiative, and her professionalism keeps children focused and ready to learn. She serves on North Elementary’s Building Leadership Team, which plans events, coordinates professional development for teachers, etc. She is also part of the Professional Learning Community that meets to coordinate district-wide measures. Ms. Rottler challenges students to reflect on whether they are making good choices, and she is a role model to parents and teachers on how one person can change the world!
Igniting Students’ Love of Learning Ms. Rottler works to integrate STEM during school events and is always a friendly face at North Elementary's science night. She ignited a love of science in Ms. Backer's daughter, and it was wonderful to see them working together to create a volcano eruption, according to Ms. Backer. Ms. Rottler is a good sport and worked the dunking booth at field day. For Dr. Seuss’ birthday, she dresses up as Thing 2 from the Cat in the Hat. She is also a mentor in Children Always Love Books (CALB), which tutors students in reading twice a week for three hours. It is a huge commitment, but Ms. Rottler embraces challenges as opportunities.
Bringing a Community Together During North Elementary School's annual fundraiser, which the community is invited to attend, Ms. Rottler creates the most incredible auction basket. The fundraiser always has a packed house thanks to baskets like Ms. Rottler’s.
Meeting the Needs of Her Students The week before Ms. Backer submitted her nomination, another parent told her their child, who is in Ms. Rottler’s class, has become more self-expressive in describing her day of learning. There are students with various emotional and/or behavioral needs within her class. For students whose home life is not as stable, her class environment means stability, security and love.
Miss Rottler is Wonder Woman! Ms. Rottler is a LifeChanger to her students, their parents, other educators and the community. She shapes not only the minds of her students, but North Elementary School's future. As Henry Adams said it best, "A teacher affects eternity; she can never tell where her influence stops." Ms. Sarah Rottler is a LifeChanger, and teaching is her superpower!