Natalie Muldoon’s 8th-grade daughter often quotes her own teachers, going as far back as pre-kintergarten. Her younger daughter has teachers that have helped her through tough challenges. It’s a reminder of how important a good teacher can be in a child’s life.
“I would say that my main strength is my true belief that everybody is a ‘math person.' I believe students need to be told that they are good at math. They need to be allowed to explore and think about math."
— NATALIE MULDOON, Belle Terre Elementary School Teacher of the Year
“These lessons can be life long,” Muldoon, an academic coach at Belle Terre Elementary School, wrote in a personal essay for her Teacher of the Year application. “I am inspired to be an educator that can motivate students like my daughters. I pray that they will continue to be positively impacted by amazing educators.”
Muldoon has been at Belle Terre Elementary for as long as it’s existed, since 2005, and taught at Indian Trails K-8 for a year before moving to Belle Terre. She taught in Fort Lauderdale for five years before moving to Flagler County, and is ESE-certified with endorsements for teaching gifted students and ESOL students.
Some years, as a classroom teacher, she taught gifted students and students with learning exceptionalities in the same classroom — an experience of which she’s particularly proud. “I was able to grow both populations of students,” she wrote.
Muldoon also takes pride in helping students grasp a subject that many children dread — math.
“I would say that my main strength is my true belief that everybody is a ‘math person,’ she wrote. “I believe students need to be told that they are good at math. They need to be allowed to explore and think about math. They need to know that it is okay to make mistakes, and you don’t have to be fast at solving problems to be a mathematician."
She takes on extra work, facilitating training sessions for other teachers and starting projects — like Operation S.O.S. (Supporting Our Soldiers), which collected donations in partnership with the VFW for service members; as well as science fairs and math Olympics, among others.
“A great part about teaching is that there are always opportunities to take on other projects and adventures,” she wrote.
She’s strived throughout her career to be a leader.
“I feel that my teachers, students and administrators know that they can trust me to lead by example,” she wrote. “They know that I am honest and that I will always take the time to listen and consider perspectives when working toward a solution.”