Christin Gelso, once a student who walked the halls of Trails Elementary School, was named the school’s Teacher of the Year for 2018-2019. She has been a first grade teacher at Trails for nine years.
Gelso feels called to be a teacher; she knew it would be her future profession from elementary school. Her mother Cindy Johnson is a pre-kindergarten teacher at Trails.
“Everyone knew I wanted to be a teacher just like my Mom,” Gelso said. “I truly did want to be like her when I grew up. She is an amazing teacher, and I continue to learn from her daily.”
Gelso can also list classroom teachers along the way who made the value of the profession evident.
“When I was in fourth grade, Ms. Leas, gave me a confidence and a sense of self-worth that changed my life as a student,” she said. “She was patient and kind. I knew her classroom was a safe place where I could make mistakes and I was valued. My experience in her classroom reassured me that being a teacher was what I really wanted to be when I grew up. Ms. Leas had changed my life and I dreamed of the day that I could be that person for a student.”
When it was time for student teaching, Gelso came back to Mustang. She completed her hours with veteran teacher, Donna Solomon.
“I fell in love with first grade after my amazing student teaching experience under Donna Solomon,” she said. “Her love for reading and writing was contagious. I knew when I was looking for a job that I wanted to be in a first grade classroom.”
There have been many students who stand out over her nine years as a first-grade teacher. She said she loves watching them evolve from an emergent reader to a fluent reader. She will always remember one student who is the epitome of why she continues to teach.
“My very first year of teaching I had a student run into my classroom during open house,” she said. “I had no idea how much joy and laughter this student would bring to my classroom. His energy, uniqueness, loving spirit, and kindness made my first year one I will forever cherish. Although I know he has made an impression on my life, he constantly reminds me of the lasting impression I have made on his life when he comes back and visits me year after year. We share stories, and I get to catch up on his life. This is one of many reminders of why I love my job and cherish the impact I have on student's lives.”
Gelso is honored to be chosen as Trails’ Teacher of the Year.
“I am proud to be Mustang Trails' Teacher of the Year,” she said. “Trails has always held a special place in my heart because I attended this elementary school. My desire is that each student grows into the best person that he or she can be, both socially and academically. I strive daily to make some small, memorable contribution in each child's life.”