Biography, educational philosophy, awards received and professional development

Kelly N. Edmondson

Brief biography:

When I first began my teaching career in the Columbus, OH Public School District, I taught ninth grade English exclusively. After leaving Columbus, I taught for the next five years in an urban high school that was part of the Washington D.C. Public Schools. While at Wilson High School, I taught English to all four of the grade levels. I also taught a Peer Mediation / Conflict Resolution elective that provided students with skills to settle conflicts in a non-violent manner. Although I truly loved teaching high school English, I transitioned to the community college level once I had my first set of twins. Five years and another set of twins later, I still teach community college. At this level, I have taught several remedial writing classes, as well as English Composition 101 and Introduction to Literature. I also have taught Business Communication and even Psychology since I also have a major in Psychology.

Teaching philosophy / style and what motivates me to teach:

As an AmeriCorps member in Portland, OR, I was assigned to mentor and tutor several students at an urban high school. From the moment I stepped into one of the high school classrooms there, I felt like I was home. I always had suspected that I would enjoy being an educator and my time spent in the classroom confirmed that fact. As I worked with the students in the classroom as either a mentor and tutor, I was constantly overwhelmed by all of the potential that these students had. And so much of this potential was untapped. I watched as the most skilled teachers were able to draw out this potential, and I knew that also was my calling.

Because I initially was drawn to education because of the students’ potential and the power of education, I am a highly student-centered teacher. As most teachers will say (hopefully!), all students have the ability to learn and it is our job to decipher how to reach them. I have demonstrated this belief by always opting to teach the most remedial classes, as opposed to the Honors and AP classes. With these classes, I exemplify my student-centered philosophy by meeting students where they are at, rather than expecting them to already be at a certain level. For example, I always individualize what students are reading, rather than just assigning one text to the entire classroom. Over the years, I have accumulated an enormous collection of paperback novels that span a wide array of reading levels. I pair each of my students with a book according to their interest and reading level. I then provide them with assignments on that specific book, which they are able to complete since the book is at their level. Thus my classroom experience illustrates my student-centered philosophy; my focus on individualizing instruction and my ardent belief that all students can learn.


While teaching at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School in Washington D.C. I was honored as an Outstanding Educator by our P.T.A. I also was named a “Community Peacemaker” by a national organization due to my work as a Peer Mediation teacher and moderator. My biggest award, however, was being named Teacher of the Year in the DC Public Schools. I received monetary compensation, as well as a plaque that was given to me by the late Senator Ted Kennedy.

Professional Development:

    Several education graduate classes, including a Smartboard class; Creating a Peaceable Classroom; Differentiating Instruction; Teaching ESOL Students and Integrating Technology into the Classroom

    Staff development sessions at the various colleges where I have taught. The topics covered have been: teaching reading across the curriculum; teaching writing across the curriculum; portfolio development; privacy policy; copyright laws; and many others

    I also have participated in several “norming” sessions at these colleges, particularly University of Cincinnati, Clermont, where we examine student writing and then decide what grade the writings should receive in an effort to more accurately standardize our grading.