Lauren Padon cherishes Craig students, colleagues as Best Elementary Teacher
With 12 years teaching in Craig, Lauren Padon has seen young students who are now nearing the end of their education with Moffat County School District.
Though they may be taller and a little more eloquent than when she first taught them, she hopes her former kindergartners will always remember their time with her fondly.
Given her latest honor, that’s a safe bet.
Padon was voted Best Elementary School Teacher for her work at Ridgeview Elementary School, though for her the honor is more about the children she guides toward bigger and better things.
“They really become my own kids throughout the year with the relationships I form with them,” she said.
The past school year has brought with it challenges and a diverse group of pupils, though by the time she has to say goodbye, it’s always a little hard.
“I got very attached to them, but that is every year,” she said. “Every year brings new things and new kids and new dynamics, but I just love being at Ridgeview with the colleagues, the families and everything.”
The particular grade level isn’t for the faint of heart, she said. While kindergartners are a little more mature than where they were as preschoolers, they’re just as rambunctious.
“One of my past colleagues said it was like keeping 20-some ping pong balls underwater. Once you get one down, another one pops up,” Padon laughed.
Still, the amount of energy that comes with playtime also begins to transfer into their learning.
“With kindergarten, the growth that happens, that’s when the light bulbs start turning on. They start to come in as readers and writers and that’s really awesome to see,” Padon said. “It’s always fun. Never a dull moment.”
While this is not the first time she’s won the Best of Moffat County title, Padon maintains she’s not the most deserving, or at least not the only one.
“I couldn’t do it without my teaching partner, Megan Charchalis. I wish it were a joint award, because we do everything together, plan together, develop the program. Everything we’ve done has been the same, and I wouldn’t be where I am without her and our paras,” she said.
Padon also credited Ridgeview’s paraprofessionals for helping each day go smoothly.
For that matter, she noted that the entire staff of the school — where her parents, Deb and Pete Bergmann worked as well — deserves a shout-out, not just her.
“It’s a collaborative effort, for sure,” she said.