Kelly Ecklund-Mathis is in her third year of teaching at The New School and her twelfth year as an educator. In addition to teaching middle school language, Ms. Kelly has also sponsored several clubs.
This summer, she sponsored a Zoom reading club and a Zoom craft club. Ms. Kelly founded these clubs because she noticed the need for connections and community among her middle school students during the summer of 2020. She hoped that this club would provide an opportunity for students to meet with their friends over the summer.
“There was a time I had a really rough day. She was open to listening and really helped me through it.
Ms. Kelly is also really creative she did a craft club on zoom during the summer and we had such a fun time. It was a way for me to connect with kids during covid and also have a fun time.” — Sadie W., current student.
Q&A with Ms. Kelly
What is unique about teaching at The New School?
The New School is unique because there is a wonderful sense of community here with the administration, staff, teachers and students. The class sizes are small, and you can really get to know your students well in order to better meet their individual needs. There is also an emphasis on the arts and creativity, which makes for a well-rounded educational experience.
What drives you as an educator?
My main drive as an educator is to teach children how to think critically and become problem-solvers. More importantly, I also like to teach children to treat others with kindness and compassion.
What advice have you been given that inspires you?
The best advice that I have been given is that "Even one person can make a difference in the world."
What is a challenge you have had to overcome in your career?
I came to teaching late in life after working in several different careers. While I was getting my teaching certificate and taking classes, I was a single parent and had to work two jobs. It was a difficult time, but the rewards of teaching have made it worth it.
How do you remain a lifelong learner?
I love to do professional development to learn to become a better teacher. I also try to remain open-minded about trying new ways of teaching. I enjoy trying new ideas and having new experiences that help me grow as a human being.
What passions or hobbies do you have outside of teaching?
I love the outdoors and you will find me riding my bike, kayaking or hiking in my free time. I also love gardening and sewing and have sold some of the pillows that I make at White Street Walk in Eureka Springs.