Math teacher Kelby Hardy found out she was Riverside’s Beginning Teacher of the Year in a weekly staff email.
“It was a very little line and it said, ‘Congratulations to Kelby Hardy for being beginning teacher of the year,” Hardy said.
Later that week, Principal Gloria Wood-Weeks and other administrators walked in to her classroom during third period, popped confetti and gave her balloons and flowers.
The Beginning Teacher of the Year award is given every year to a Riverside faculty member who has been teaching for three years or less.
“I was excited,” Hardy said. “At first I jumped because the confetti was loud and my students were working so quietly.”
When Hardy, who teaches math I and honors pre-calculus, was young, she dreamed of being a teacher one day.
“Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “I would play school and create lesson plans.”
Hardy went to college planning to study computer science. Then she took one math class, told herself that it could not be her last and changed her major to math. During her senior year she realized she wanted to share her love of math with students, so she got her master’s in education to be able to teach.
The high school that Hardy went to in Beaufort, NC was much smaller than Riverside.
“I went to a high school that had like maybe 500 students and graduated with 100 students,” she said.
Hardy had an English teacher who had a calming presence and made it known that she wanted you to be in her class.
“I wanted to be that for my students. I wanted to be that place where they could come to somebody they could talk to,” she said “I will listen to you and help you talk through things.”
She also had a teacher in high school that would just give out assignments and not explain them. She told herself that she would not do that to her students.
One thing Hardy likes about being a teacher is seeing her students understand what she is teaching.
“I like seeing those light bulb moments in students,” she said.
Hardy sees herself being a teacher for a while at Riverside.
“I love my colleagues,” she said. “I love the students that I get to work with.”
When Hardy is not teaching, she likes to go on hikes in the mountains and walk her dogs.
“I love just being outside,” she said.
Hardy would like to let students know that her classroom is open to everyone even if she has not been your teacher.
She has also started building a self-care closet for the whole school. She is hoping that the project could start sometime before the school year ends.
“I’m working with the PTA to get hygiene products, snacks, hair ties, bobby pins, just things students might need,” Hardy said.