“I wanted a career where I could make a difference and inspire a love of learning in others,” says Grace Sullivan, fifth grade teacher at Lakewood Elementary. “It is truly the best job, every day is different!”
Sullivan attended the University of Iowa where she majored in elementary education with endorsements in language arts and reading. She also has minors in English and theater arts.
After graduation, finding a teaching position close to family was important to Sullivan. “I grew up in West Des Moines and my family lives there, so I knew I wanted to be close to them.” Lakewood fit that requirement, but it held something more. “After I had my interview at Lakewood, I knew I wanted to be there.”
Sullivan credits the teachers, staff, and administration with making Lakewood the ideal place to teach. “It felt like home. It is such a great environment that is conducive to creativity and innovation.”
It is also an environment that encourages teachers to support one another. “I am very blessed to work [with] and be mentored by such amazing and talented teachers,” she says.
When asked what she loves most about her position, Sullivan replies, “The kids. There’s nothing better than seeing a group of kids really engaged and involved in learning.”
Sullivan may be the classroom teacher, but she credits her students with expanding her knowledge as well. “They always make me laugh and make me see things differently than I did before. It’s like having 25 different perspectives on any topic.”
According to Sullivan, her students are also supportive of one another. They “experience genuine joy for their classmates,” she says.
They are also extremely flexible, which Sullivan says is helpful. “I like to try different things in class, and they don’t always work perfectly!” But her students are willing to go with the flow. According to Sullivan, “They roll with the punches and are always up to try anything.”
Additionally, she is proud of them for achieving a balance of academic and personal success. “While I’m extremely proud of their measured success and growth this year in their academics, their personal growth is just as inspiring.”
When Sullivan isn’t in the classroom she can be found spending time with friends and family or delving into a good book. “I love reading,” she says. “I also enjoy baking, being outside, and playing with my dog.”
Quotes from students – what they enjoy about Ms. Sullivan’s class: