Hendry County Teacher of the Year: Kristin Mann

Posted 2/3/21

CLEWISTON - Kristin Mann decided she wanted to be a teacher when she was in the second grade

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Hendry County Teacher of the Year: Kristin Mann


CLEWISTON - Kristin Mann decided she wanted to be a teacher when she was in the second grade, “I thought my teacher was amazing and I wanted to be just like her. She was always so kind, funny and I truly felt she loved her job.”

Since the summer of 2004, Mann has lived in Clewiston. She is a dedicated and much loved 5th grade teacher at Eastside Elementary School in Clewiston.

“The best thing about Clewiston is being a small town. I am not originally from Clewiston, and it took me some time to adjust to not only moving all the way from Ohio, but trying to figure out what was my purpose in life and this town was going to be,” Mann said. “Teaching helped me to meet some amazing people who are more like family than co-workers. I also knew that in order to succeed in this town I would have to make it 'my town.' I eventually got married and had two boys.”

She was initially hired as a paraprofessional at Eastside Elementary School. While there, she finished up her associate’s degree at Palm Beach State College, and went on to graduate from Florida Atlantic University.

“I worked at Eastside for all of those years until I did my student teaching at Central with Mrs. Berner in Kindergarten, fourth grade at Eastside with Mrs. Mitchell, and finishing up my student teaching at Westside in 5th grade with Mrs. Kirstein,” Mann explained. “Being able to work with amazing teachers at all three elementary schools has really been a blessing. Most people just get to work with their teams at their schools. I was able to learn from so many amazing mentors throughout all of my experiences at all of the schools.”

Always seeking improvement, Mann spends most of her free time doing things to make her a better teacher, “Book studies, leadership roles at Eastside, or trying to make a difference in the community. My boys also play travel baseball for the Gulf Coast Knights in Estero, we are usually traveling 2-3 weekends a month.”

When asked about her accomplishments, Mann answered, “My most memorable accomplishment in teaching is anytime when a prior student reaches out and thanks me for making a difference in their lives,” said Mann. “It is remarkable to watch students I have taught in elementary school go on to be amazing young adults. This is truly the reason why I do what I do each and every day.” She went on to explain, “It makes me want to be not only an educator, but mentor, role model and influencer every day I wake up and report to this rewarding career.”

“As a teacher I feel it is important to show your students that not only do you have their best interest in the classroom to teach them, but also that their community is important and being a good citizen is important as well. I feel that making connections with parents in the community is key to not only being a successful teacher, but helps make Eastside a wonderful place to work at. Our motto at Eastside has always been that we are a family. I believe that, and I think the students do as well,” said Mann.

Mann was named the 2021-2022 Hendry County Teacher of the Year. Mann said she was extremely honored, “Hendry County truly has amazing teacher’s and I am so proud to represent them.”

She had many people to thank along the way, “I have had several mentor teachers who have made a huge impact on my life and teaching career,” said Mann. “Mrs. Mara Duke was the first principal I have worked for, and really set the foundation of high expectations for what teachers, staff members, and students should be like everyday. I actually do the morning announcements at school and everyday I use one of her key phrases to end the announcements: Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours. I hope you chose to have a great day! I always felt that it was uplifting! Yet, at the same time it puts the responsibility of how you will go throughout the day.”

What are of the biggest challenges she faces, currently? “Keeping students motivated and believing that they may only be in the fifth grade but they make a difference in the classroom, grade, school, town and ultimately in the world. It is my goal to make them believe in themselves and I always talk about growth, not so much about getting straight A’s.” Mann explained, “I know every parent wants that, but sometimes seeing a student make growth in an area they struggle with is a beautiful thing, and reminds me that I am making a difference.”

“I also try to instill morals and values of kindness and friendship into my students. I know that the students will not always get along, or make all the right decisions, or choices but they can always think about others feelings and be more empathetic. That is really what every teacher wants from their students. The grades are important but work ethic and the type of person you become will always outshine the letters you get every nine weeks in school.”

“Watching my students figure out what they have been struggling with and start to see if they put forth effort they will succeed,” Mann said are some of her happiest moments.