Teacher of the Year, Relationships are important to Rush, her kindergartners
A native of New York – “way up on the Canadian border,” Barb Rush says she always wanted to teach. Being in a Simmons Elementary School classroom with kindergartners reminds her why she’s been teaching and nurturing young children for 30 years. “I teach them how to read. They’re going to do that for the rest of their lives,” says Rush. “… I teach them how to do their basic math. Numbers are everywhere.” So even if a student doesn’t remember her name, they are taking a part of their kindergarten teacher with them for the rest of their lives. “What a wonderful legacy,” says Rush, who began her 19th year at Simmons Elementary in August. She says being named Teacher of the Year at Simmons made her feel appreciated because her peers were recognizing her for always trying to do her best for students. “I have a really good group of people that … I’ve worked with for a long time,” Rush says. She also appreciates what she’s learned over the years from “some really good” principals including Susie Oder, Larry Caudill and Tiffany Cook, her current principal; and views working alongside younger teachers like Kelsey Brewer as a chance to grow. Beyond teaching kindergartners how to read and count, Rush says she views her job as an opportunity to share valuable life skills that she hopes her students will use for the rest of their lives. She likes sharing stories about her children and family so her kindergartners will learn from their teacher’s life experiences. “Relationships are so important with them,” explains Rush. She says kindergartners are not afraid to give her a hug and they still have a joy for learning. “They take care of each other. They care about each other,” says Rush. “So it’s nice to be in that kind of atmosphere every day.” Rush and her husband of over 30 years, Craig, have two grown children, Katie Harvey and Corey Rush, and two granddaughters. Rush says she’s already looking forward to going on field trips with her granddaughters and helping out in their classrooms when she retires in a couple of years.