KB Elementary educator eighth Teacher of the Year finalist | SierraSun.com
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KB Elementary educator eighth Teacher of the Year finalist

Katie Fagundes
Special to the Sun
Courtesy Michael Gelbman

Kings Beach Elementary teacher Molly Holiday was selected as the eighth Truckee Hometown SEARS-Sierra Sun Teacher of the Year finalist. Holiday was recognized for her dedication to students and for her effective communication skills.

“Molly is dedicated to her profession, to making a positive difference in these young people’s lives and to truly caring for the kids at Kings Beach Elementary,” wrote one parent nominator.

Holiday was very excited to hear of her nomination.

“I was so awed and appreciative someone took the time to do it,” said Holiday.

On May 22, Esmeralda Estrada of Plumas Bank, Michael Gelbman publisher of the Sierra Sun, and Charlie Riley owner of Truckee Hometown SEARS presented Holiday with a Teacher of the Year finalist certificate.

In addition, Holiday received a gift certificate to Las Panchitas, courtesy of Plumas Bank, and a $50 gift certificate from Truckee Hometown SEARS.

Students in Molly Holiday’s classroom are excited about their learning. Their lessons are filled with music, dance, and art; their classroom is filled with charts tracking their goals and progress.

Holiday motivates and engages all of her students, which is just one reason she has been selected as a Teacher of the Year finalist.

Molly Holiday grew up in the Bay Area. She attended college at California State University Chico where she earned degrees in both Latin American Studies and Spanish.

After working as ski instructor and lifeguard with her husband in Europe and Tahoe, she decided to settle permanently in the Tahoe Area.

Holiday attended Sierra Nevada College’s teaching program and received a Bilingual Cross Cultural Language and Academic Development (BCLAD) Elementary credential. She began her teaching career at Kings Beach Elementary, where she has taught the last 17 years. Holiday has taught Kindergarten, Kindergarten/first grade combo, fifth grade, and currently teaches first grade.

Kings Beach Elementary school is a Two Way Immersion School where content is taught in both English and Spanish.

Students in the lower grades focus primarily on Spanish and then as they progress through each grade Students transfer the skills they have learned to English. In first grade, 90 percent of instruction is done in Spanish.

Holiday enjoys teaching the younger students the foundations for their education.

“First grade is fabulous because they learn to read and that is the keystone for everything,” said Holiday. “They are so excited when they can become readers and access print all around them.”

Holiday strives to meet every student “where they are.” She asks her students questions so she can best assess where their perceptions are and make their learning more cemented.

Holiday’s ability to connect with her students not only better informs her teaching methods, but helps create a classroom full of enthusiastic learners.

Holiday uses an inquiry based teaching model to excite students about learning. Students are the driving force of gathering information and are engaged because they feel ownership of their learning.

Holiday makes every effort to remain flexible and go where the students are excited while still meeting learning goals. She finds ways to incorporate what the students bring into class, whether it be interests or specific objects.

Holiday hopes students leave her class able to question like a scientist and look at the world deeply.

“I hope they are powerful thinkers and confident in themselves,” said Holiday. “I want them to trust in themselves, use their resources and think I can do it!”

Holiday herself embodies a can do attitude.

“Molly has an amazing energy level,” said Kings Beach Elementary principal Eileen Fahrner. “She volunteers to do many things for our school community way beyond her classroom.”

Fahrner describes Holiday as a wonderfully creative teacher and commends her energy, kindness and professionalism.

In addition to teaching her first graders, Holiday teaches the morning GATE program, paints school murals, hosts staff parties, serves on the first grade leadership team and has volunteered to teach a combination class next year. Parents also note Holiday’s encouragement of parental involvement and commitment to effective communication.

Holiday hosted a family potluck in the classroom and encouraged parents to be involved and meet one another. She uses an online program to send messages to parents, share pictures of class projects, and keep families informed about school activities.

“Both my wife and I appreciate how Molly always takes the time to update us on our son’s progress,” wrote one parent. “No matter what, she always makes time to talk to us.”

Holiday acknowledges that the support of many people helps her to accomplish so much for her students.

“Our staff is really supportive of each other and Eileen Fahrner is amazingly supportive and an incredible resource,” said Holiday. “My husband is incredible and he allows me to do what I do, I have a super supportive husband and my two girls come in and help, they are all part of the team.”

Holiday’s biggest inspiration is her students. She enjoys their hugs, smiles and creative energy.

“It’s such a great job to come to every day,” said Holiday. “Not that every day is easy, but it is worth it because they are growing; I learn so much from these kids.”


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