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31st Annual Simplot Teacher of the Year Finalist Katie Balls

31st Annual Simplot Teacher of the Year Finalist Katie Balls

Please join us in congratulating Simplot Inspirational Teacher of the Year finalist, Katie Balls. Ms. Balls teaches 1st grade at Jefferson Elementary School.

This year, the Simplot Education Council received 2,377 nominations for 398 teachers in Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25. Finalists will be featured daily through Thursday, May 9, 2024. Three Simplot Inspirational Teacher Awards will be announced on Friday, May 10, 2024 – one for a teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels. In addition, 5 finalists have been selected for each category and each will be awarded a $100 check. The Simplot Inspirational Teacher Award Recipients of 2024 will each be presented a $500 check on behalf of the Council.

“I recommend Katie Ball as the Inspirational Teacher for 2024. She is a 1st-grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary and has taught for 19 years. She is the epitome of a kind, caring and dedicated educator. Her students love her. I have often been with her when current and past students see her in a store or restaurant. It is like a rock star has arrived. There are gasps, excited tugging of parent's clothing, and then they run for a big hug! Students of all ages rush to see her and talk with her. Even students who have not been in her classroom, but have interacted with her at Jefferson, rush to speak with her. I have also taught her students in high school, and they speak of her with love and fondness.

One reason she is so loved is that her classroom environment focuses on kindness, inclusivity, and expectation. Simply, she shows them how to be good learners and citizens. The students in her classroom care about her and each other. They work hard to learn, and they celebrate the success of their classmates. It is so inspiring!

Additionally, her students are successful in developing important foundational skills of learning. Her students leave her classroom loving school and prepared to succeed in future grades. They are so successful because of her engaging lesson plans. Every year her classroom is turned into a bat cave as the culmination of their science unit on bats, in which they have learned many facts about bats and written about them as well. Ms. Ball supplies the necessary materials from her personal funds and spends time after hours to set up the learning activity. This is just one of many examples of her engaging teaching methods. I also know she is constantly learning and growing as an educator. She often explores instructional methods and implements new research-based strategies to help her students learn and succeed. She is a master at best practices in her classroom.

For 19 years Ms. Ball has put her students first, going the extra mile, buying extra supplies, creating engaging lesson plans, and doing all she can to love and nurture her precious "littles." She is extremely deserving of this recognition. Thank you for taking the time to consider her, and thank you for recognizing educators and supporting education in such a positive way. I appreciate the time you spend on this endeavor. As an educator, it means a lot to be noticed for your efforts and to feel the support of our community.” Fellow Educator, Heidi Luker