BRIGHTON — Southeast Elementary teacher Lisa Kitchens has been named the Brighton Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of the Month. Kitchens, who teaches first grade at the school, was nominated by Elizabeth Chaparro, a parent of one of her students, for her dedication to her students.
“ I often volunteer in the classroom and have observed a good connection with each student,” she said in the nomination. “It’s a wonderful feeling to hear my daughter loves her teacher, knowing that I feel 100 percent comfortable knowing my daughter is getting a good education and she is in good hands.”
Kitchens said she was surprised, honored and humbled with the award because she entered the profession wanting to help kids in a different capacity than she was as a 911 dispatcher. As a 911 dispatcher, she would often have to help kids during their time of need and it began to take a toll on her.
With the support of her family, Kitchens went back to school to become a teacher and after graduating two years ago, began working as a first grade teacher at Southeast Elementary School. She said that’s why the award means so much to her.
“It gives me the inspiration to keep doing the things I’m doing in the classroom and to know that I’m reaching my goals of helping students learn,” she said.
As a teacher, Kitchens tries to make a personal connection with and get to know each student before getting into the learning dynamic. She said they get to know each other and that she takes personal interest in what her students do on their time off and in the stories they share.
“I let them know that maybe I’m their teacher but I’m their partner in this and we are going to do things together and I let them get up and teach their classmates things. I let them share their ideas and I try to enable them with the tools to be independent thinkers and leaders,” she said and added that her favorite part of being a teacher is watching her students have an “aha” moment.
When Kitchens isn’t teaching she’s spending time with her family. She has been married to her husband Fred for 15 years and together they have an 11-year old son Vinni and 12-year-old daughter Nicolette. She said her dream of being a teacher wouldn’t have been possible without their support.