Broken Arrow Express
COMING HOME: Lisa Welter, Teacher of the Year for Creekwood Early Childhood Center, sits in her classroom in front of photos of her students that hang on her wall. Welter is a Broken Arrow native and in her second year with Broken Arrow Schools
CHRISTOPHER DAVIS for GTR Newspapers
“I feel like it’s my purpose, what I’m supposed to do,” says Lisa Welter when asked about her classroom full of three-year-olds. For the Creekwood Early Childhood Center Teacher of the Year, her cheery classroom represents a fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
“I always wanted to teach in Broken Arrow,” says Welter. A proud product of her community, she was born and raised in Broken Arrow before attending Northeastern State University in Tahlequah for her degree in elementary education. Later, Welter returned to NSU’s Broken Arrow campus to complete her master’s in education administration. After a stint teaching for Union Schools, during which she was named site teacher of the year, Welter returned to the school district where she attended kindergarten through high school. This is her second year at Creekwood Early Childhood Center as the pre-K developmentally delayed teacher.
“I feel grateful and blessed to be in this career,” says Welter. She makes it a priority to engage her students and their families and strives to make them feel they are a part of the school. And, though her students each face unique challenges with their developmental delays, Welter’s philosophy aims to foster a strong foundation for successful learning. “Belonging is key,” she says. “It’s important to know you’re accepted.” She adds, “I want to provide an awesome environment for kids to thrive.”
Welter enjoys seeing her students succeed and loves when their faces light up as they accomplish a goal. Much of Welter’s curriculum is geared toward ensuring the youngsters will be prepared for school when they reach kindergarten. Her classes focus on learning and honing communication and social skills, a crucial skillset given most of her students find themselves in a new environment with new faces and expectations. Welter instills self-help skills and important habits, like hand washing, through modelling. She is also involved in creating individualized education plans for the students, a group effort that includes parents, and keeps everyone in sync with learning objectives and success.
Welter is also involved in professional development and training other teachers. A self-described “people person,” she participates in continuing education classes and sits on the social/hospitality committee. “I like to be the party planner,” she says.
Outside of school, Welter enjoys spending time with her friends and organizing activities, dinners and outings.
Welter’s recognition as Teacher of the Year at Creekwood ECC is a welcome validation of her lifelong journey to become an educator in her hometown. She looks forward to many more successful years doing what she loves. “Teaching fulfills me every single day and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”