A Born Teacher Says Goodbye After Almost Four Decades in the Classroom

Teacher Appreciation Week - Kathy Galbraith Photo

She has taught sixteen 3rd grade classes at Skyline Elementary. The 2018-2019 school year will be the 37th and last as a teacher for Kathy Galbraith who will retire this year. 

Galbraith has degrees from Western Washington University, Idaho State University and Arizona State University. It was no surprise that Galbraith pursued a degree in education while in college. She tells a bit of her story and says, “I think I was born a teacher. I have always wanted to be a teacher. When I was in 1st grade, I drew a picture and wrote accompanying sentences showing myself as a teacher.”  

That turned out to be a good decision for Galbraith who says that she has had too many “best days” to count. “The first day of every year is a best day; the newness and potential for all these cute little faces makes me happy.” Galbraith goes on to say, “There are days when an unexpected note lands on my desk saying, ‘I love you.’ Those are special days. When a parent says, ‘thank you for helping my child’ or ‘thank you for creating a reader,’ those are wonderful moments. Some of the best days are when I can step back and not be involved in the ‘teaching and learning’. I watch the kids fluidly move around from group to group; working together, teaching each other, thinking for themselves and supporting their peers. That is an amazing day. I feel working with elementary students gives so many opportunities for fantastic days.”  

Fellow Skyline 3rd Grade Teacher Chelsea Buckham says, “I have had the honor of teaching ​at Skyline with Kathy for ​eight years. She has ​taught me about how to push students toward meeting high standards while also remembering patience and love at the forefront of every interaction. I have been inspired by watching her ​commitment to our profession. I will miss working with her, but Kathy deserves ​a relaxing and fulfilling retirement!” 

There have been many students after almost four decades in education. Galbraith says that a few students jump to the front as she recalls her career, “Two stories may be the most special. One occurred back in Phoenix with a boy who I struggled to develop a relationship with. He was difficult and sullen; I really did not think he liked being in my class. On Mother's Day, our art teacher had the students make pottery bowls. When the kids left that day, a wrapped package was on my desk. In it was a bowl and note from this little boy. He told me I was the ‘best mom’ he had.” 

Galbraith says that she carries a valentine in her wallet from another student. “He was a tough little guy, but I loved him. He wrote, ‘You are appreciated because I think of you as a mom to me.’”  

Ferndale School District Superintendent Linda Quinn adds a special ‘thank you,’ “Even as we wish Kathy well in retirement, I want our community to know that we are losing a pillar in our School District. The word ‘irreplaceable’ comes to mind. Thank you for your years serving students in Ferndale, Kathy.” 

As she completes her time in Ferndale, Kathy says that she will miss the Skyline staff, “We have experienced many changes at Skyline over the years but our Skyline staff are wonderful, professional and supportive. We have the greatest teachers and para-educators. We all support each other and are so dedicated. I would want my child (or now grandchildren) to attend this school.” 

From all the Skyline staff and students and the entire Ferndale School District community, we will miss you, Kathy! 

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This story is brought to you as part of a series of stories about our teachers in the Ferndale School District. Teacher Appreciation Week is being celebrated May 6th – May 10th in the Ferndale School District and around the country.