Steiner named Mustang Education Center’s Teacher of the Year
Mustang Education Center’s Teacher of the Year, Kishia Steiner, has found her niche in pre-kindergarten. For 10 years, she has greeted Mustang’s tiniest students at the beginning of the year when they don’t know how to line up at the door or how to wait their turn to talk. By May, she says good-bye to little students who can write their names, recognize the letters of the other children’s names and can confidently manage classroom procedures.
Steiner graduated from high school in Carnegie, Oklahoma and credits her own teachers with the realization that she too would teach.
“I had such positive experiences with my teachers from the beginning,” she said. “I can remember the teachers who had an influence on my life. They kind of just made me who I am.”
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A coach who saw her potential convinced her to start running. Recognizing that talent plus dedication on her part earned her a scholarship to college. After graduation, she taught one year in another district as a kindergarten teacher before joining Mustang’s pre-kindergarten program.
For Steiner, teaching pre-kindergarten students has special rewards beyond watching the children’s knowledge expand.
“I get love notes and drawings every day,” she said. “I feel like a movie star when they see me in public. In my very first year of teaching, one little boy - I was playing with him in the kitchen center - said ‘I love you more than roller coasters!’ To me that’s the biggest compliment you can get from a 4-year-old because roller coasters are amazing.”
Steiner said kids in pre-k love coming to school and they’re sad when school is out for a break.
“It seems like every year they ask me where I sleep,” she said. “They think that my assistant and I live together because to them we are always together.”
At the beginning of every year, she tells her new classes that she asked the principal to send her the “smartest, kindest, most well-behaved children in Mustang and that she did.” Steiner believes communicating high expectations is vital.
“I believe children will live up to what you expect from them,” she said. “I want them to know I believe the best about them.”
Steiner said teaching pre-kindergarten has taught her a great deal about patience, but there is no where else she would rather be. Her husband is a high school pre-AP algebra teacher.
“We would never change jobs,” she said.
In the end, Steiner hopes that her students leave MEC to enter kindergarten at their home school with the same memories and positive experiences that carried her through her own education.
“My goals for my students is that they get a positive experience from pre-kindergarten,” she said. “I want them to love learning and to learn to respect others. When a parent tells me their child begged them all during break to take them to school, I feel like I have done my job well. It is fulfilling to look at the progress they make from the beginning of the year to the end. When a child learns to write their full name, recognizes the letters of the alphabet, holds a pair of scissors and uses them correctly and enjoys coming to school, that is all the reward I need.”
Steiner is one of 14 site Teachers of the Year at Mustang Public Schools. A district Teacher of the Year will be named at a special banquet in March.