2019 Garfield Elementary Teacher of the Year

Fourth Grade Teacher Claire Wolgamott


Claire Wolgamott
Garfield Elementary School
Fourth Grade Teacher

How are you working to increase equity in education and opportunity for students in your school?
As a teacher at Garfield, I participated in the Resilient Schools initiative, a trauma-informed program developed at Truman Medical Centers. The initiative provided teachers training in childhood trauma and strategies for improving students’ abilities to cope with difficult emotions. Using the information and training I received, along with my experiences before, during and after implementing this into my own classroom, I was privileged to be given the opportunity to share this with other teachers across the nation through a published interview.

What message about public education do you want to share?
As a public educator, it is my duty to fight for and protect the rights and equity of treatment of my students, their families, my colleagues and our schools. Sitting idle is not an option. One of the most powerful forces for change? A vote. Just as I work to promote democracy, encourage informed voting, and the importance of remaining active and engaged in social and political issues outside of my classroom, I do the same inside my classroom. Emphasizing to my students the importance of good citizenship, and assigning jobs and framing it as each student’s contribution to making our classroom community better for everyone. Encouraging students to fact check, question everything, and always keep an open mind. Democracy through voting on decisions that impact the entire class, no matter how small. Explaining the importance of EVERY single vote, and to never forfeit that right. And to be EXCITED to have the power to make their voices heard. They are the next generation of voters. If we recognize the need for change, as educators we must lead by example.