THIS MONTH'S WINNER: Kelli Louis  |  NOMINATED BY: Carrie O’Connell

Biltmore Prep kindergarten teacher Kelli Louis always knew she wanted to work with kids. Becoming a kindergarten teacher, however, happened by accident. 

“I graduated college with an undergraduate degree in sociology and a minor in criminal justice. I planned on becoming a social worker,” said Louis. “I took a part-time job in a kindergarten class while I was looking for a job and fell in love with teaching. I went back to school and received a graduate degree in education.”

Now, in her role as the English language arts and social studies kindergarten teacher at Biltmore Preparatory Academy, Louis’ favorite part of her job is witnessing her students’ academic achievements. 

“The most rewarding aspect of teaching for me is watching my students learn to read. Kindergarten is a great age to teach because the kids try so hard to please – they are hilarious – and they are learning new concepts everyday,” said Louis. 

Watching her students gain confidence as they learn letter names and sounds at the beginning of the year, and then begin to read by the end of the year brings her great pride. 

Carrie O’Connell, a mother of two children at Biltmore Prep, nominated Ms. Louis for the Arcadia News Teachers We Love award because of Louis’ teaching abilities as well as the love she shows toward her students.

“She turned my son into this amazing reader,” said O’Connell. “I was thrilled to know my daughter would have Ms. Louis this year as well.”

O’Connell also mentioned Louis’ calming nature as one of her greatest assets. 

“Ms. Louis is a very compassionate person. She is incredibly professional but also has a sense of humor that makes her more approachable.”

Louis admits that although Biltmore Prep is known for its excellent Foreign Language Immersion Program, she never sought it out specifically. “When I interviewed with BPA, I took the job because I loved the community and people that worked at the school. Now that I have had the opportunity to be a part of the FLI Program, I am a huge fan,” said Louis. “I am amazed at how quickly they learn Spanish but are still able to go beyond expectations in my classroom.”

Winning teachers receive Arcadia News gift items, a gift certificate for The Spa at The Phoenician and a gift certificate for Postino. All winners are invited to an end of school year celebratory luncheon. Nominate a teacher you love at arcadianews.com.