- December 27, 2019
Fourth grade teacher Natasha Walsh, Belle Terre Elementary School's Teacher of the Year, brings creativity and technical savvy to her instruction, colleagues and parents said.
"She is one of those special individuals who is able to build relationships with the toughest of students and find a way to get along with the mot difficult of colleagues."
— JESSICA DeFORD, principal, Belle Terre Elementary School
"I have personally witnessed this creativity firsthand, while my daughter was a student in her classroom," parent Alma Bevacqua wrote in a letter of reference for Walsh. "I can recall a time that my daughter was having trouble with a mathematical concept. Not only was Ms. Walsh patient, but she used specific music lyrics to help her and the other students work their way through a challenging concept."
When COVID-19 led the district to transition students into home-based instruction, Walsh delivered all of her students' belongings from the classroom to their homes, and included a care package for each, Bevacqua added.
Several years before, Walsh worked with fellow Belle Terre Elementary School teachers to create a school-based food pantry that provided food, warm winter clothes and Thanksgiving turkeys to dozens of families.
Although that club is no longer active, Walsh wrote in a statement as part of her Teacher of the Year application, she hopes to start a new one.
Walsh teaches all subjects, but particularly prides herself on her ability to help students understand tricky math concepts. Students often enter her classroom wary of math, but she sees that as an opportunity.
"Although every year it breaks my heart when I hear students say they're not good at math, I have learned to love that moment," Walsh wrote in a statement submitted as part of her Teacher of the Year application. "I have grown to accept those words because I know that I have changed past students' feelings, and I will continue to work with my students to show them that they can actually become amazing mathematicians."
Walsh, a graduate of Flagler Palm Coast High School, began teaching at Belle Terre Elementary School in 2012, after teaching one school year at Wadsworth Elementary School.
"Natasha is one of the most organized and efficient teachers I have ever worked with," Belle Terre Elementary School Assistant Principal Katrina Feola wrote in a letter of reference for Walsh. "She uses her advanced skills with platforms such as Google to streamline not only her own work but her entire team and school wide for anyone who would like to use her templates."
Walsh holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education from University of Central Florida and state endorsements in reading and ESOL instruction, and is an Apple-certified and Google-certified educator.
"I have had many teachers, and when I look back, the one thing that always stands out to me are the teachers who made learning fun, enjoyable and memorable," Walsh wrote in a statement. "Those same teachers also took the time to make me feel like I was important and cared for. I want to be that teacher for my students. I know my students will learn many things during their time with me, but I hope what they remember most is how I made them feel."