Last week, I attended the Franklin B. Walter Banquet at our Educational Service Center in Archbold. Honored at the banquet were our Franklin B. Walter scholarship winner, Senior Joey Adams, and teacher Holly Kobee, who was selected as Defiance County’s Special Education Teacher of the Year. In the future, I’ll tell you a little bit more about Joey and a teacher that he honored, Mr. Bob Pelton, but this week, I wanted to share our administrative team’s nomination of Mrs. Kobee to receive this honor. Following is our nominating essay.
“Holly Kobee is an outstanding special education teacher for several reasons. First, Holly’s journey to becoming a special education teacher has been one full of challenges, and her perseverance in becoming a teacher of special education students is a tribute to her love of teaching. Holly tutored for Hicksville Schools for a year before being assigned to a special education position. Holly was not certified as a special education teacher, so she received temporary certification and immediately began work on a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Learning the ropes to everything from alternate assessments to writing IEP’s to differentiating instruction for her students while also tackling her course load as a Master’s Degree candidate made for a hectic life for Holly. But she handled it all with great steadfastness and her usual cheerfulness. Today, she is a fully licensed, successful Special Education teacher.
Second, Holly has an amazingly positive attitude. Honestly, upon first meeting Holly, one would think that no one can be as happy and positive as Holly is. But it’s not an act. Holly has a tremendous outlook on life, and she brings this attitude of ‘we can do it’ to her students each and every day. When students come to Holly’s classroom, they know that they are coming to an environment where they are safe from ridicule, free to learn from their mistakes, and surrounded by the positive support of their teacher.And third, Holly brings a unique energy to all she does. As noted, Holly spent some time tutoring students for our school district. She worked with students at a variety of grade levels in a variety of subject areas. It’s quite a challenging task. But Holly never waivered in her belief that she could impact each and every student, and we admired the great energy that she invested as a tutor. That is why we offered Holly a special education position when it came open. We knew that even though special education was not her background, she would do everything within her ability to become a master teacher of special education students. And she has. She’s like the Eveready Battery Bunny: She just keeps on going and going and going. And we’re a better school district because of it.
Mrs. Kobee is a constant in the lives of her students. They know that in her, they have a great teacher, but also an awesome mentor. As Mrs. Kobee leads her students through the rigors of their studies, she also helps to guide and direct them through life’s challenges. As noted before, her students know that when they are with her, they are in a good place with a person who cares about them. A former student named her baby daughter “Holly” after the teacher who meant the most to her. What more proof would one need of the impact that Holly Kobee has on her students? Truly, Mrs. Kobee’s friendly disposition endears her to all students at Hicksville High School, and not just those she teaches.
Holly co-teaches with Mr. Davis, our social studies teacher, in Freshman Global Studies and Sophomore American Studies. She co-teaches with science teacher, Miss Retcher, for Freshman Physical Science. And she co-teaches with another science teacher, Mrs. Laney, for Sophomore Biology. Anyone who has taught knows that it can be very difficult to share your classroom with someone else. But these teachers gladly do so because they know that Mrs. Kobee will add to what they’re doing, not detract from it. Their respect for Mrs. Kobee, her knowledge of effective instruction, and her spirit of teamwork mirror how the rest of our staff feel about her.
Across the board, parents tell us that their kids ‘love’ Mrs. Kobee. It’s not surprising. When speaking to the parents of Mrs. Kobee’s students, one hears such words as ‘confidence,’ ‘happy,’ ‘respect, and ‘try harder.’ These are attitudes and characteristics that Mrs. Kobee inspires in her students, and when parents see the difference in their children, the mark Mrs. Kobee is leaving on the lives of those she works with is unmistakable.
As administrators, we work with all types of teachers. We are blessed to have a very solid, amazing staff here at Hicksville. But even among an excellent staff, there are those teachers who stand out because they just take care of things, and they do it so very well that we don’t have to worry about them. As a matter-of-fact, we depend on them because they have “a call beyond oneself” that drives them to deliver excellence each and every day. Holly Kobee is such a teacher. She makes us a better school because she does everything that we’ve asked of her (and we’ve asked a lot)—and more. She is most deserving of being recognized for the great instructor she is.” Congratulations, Mrs. Kobee for being named Defiance County’s Special Education Teacher of the Year!