Holly Ehle, a kindergarten teacher at St. Peter’s Lutheran School, was named the Arthur L. Amt Lutheran School Teacher of the Year during the Lutheran Education Association Convocation in Milwaukee in October.
This honor goes to a teacher in the Indiana District of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod who best demonstrates the characteristics of exemplary teaching. Recipients of this award represent the best in all teachers and serve as role models among Christian teachers by growing in the Word and witnessing of their faith life to those around them.Since 1995, only five teachers in Fort Wayne-area Lutheran schools have received this honor. There are more than 800 Lutheran teachers in the Indiana District.Holly earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a kindergarten endorsement from Purdue University and began her teaching career in Mishawaka. She soon discovered a passion for early literacy that led her to earn a master’s degree in elementary education with a reading specialty from Indiana University. Holly began serving as a reading specialist and teacher trainer for School City of Mishawaka. Her areas of concentration in that position were the diagnosis and remediation of reading and writing difficulties at the kindergarten, first-, and second-grade levels through the Reading Recovery method, the promotion of accelerated development of early literacy skills through brain-compatible learning methods, and serving as an early literacy teacher trainer for that district’s primary teachers. Holly began teaching at St. Peter’s preschool in 2004 and completed a colloquy from Concordia University Chicago in 2009. She received the call to become the kindergarten teacher in 2011.In 2010, Holly began developing a new literacy program for St. Peter’s pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. Literacy Enrichment and Achievement Program (LEAP) is a program offered in the afternoon every school day at St. Peter’s and operates as an extension to the morning kindergarten session. LEAP provides additional instruction and learning opportunities that are designed to enrich and expand upon the literacy skills that children learn in their core kindergarten program. St. Peter’s LEAP was uniquely designed to allow each child to reach his or her highest potential. Seeking to supplement the traditional kindergarten curriculum with an individualized learning program full of hands-on activities, LEAP was designed to develop each child’s character, concentration, socialization, and work habits in addition to strengthening each student’s essential early literacy skills.This enrichment is designed for all kindergarten-age children; from those requiring extra instruction and practice on basic literacy skills, to those who come to school with advanced skills and wish to be challenged. “I'm truly thankful for the opportunity God has blessed me with to be a part of such an incredibly talented, educated, and loving staff," Holly says. "I can’t imagine how any profession could be better than having a small part in carrying out the beautiful promise that God has given us in Proverbs 22:6: 'Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.'"