“Over my four years, I’ve had the opportunity and pleasure to watch groups of students, who mean the world to me, grow and mature into young adults as they prepare for high school,” said Spring Hill Middle School eighth grade teacher Taylor Woodward.
The passion and energy Woodward has brought to Spring Hill Middle School during the first four years of her teaching career have been strongly noticed by her colleagues, friends, family and students. As the 8th grade math, algebra 1 and math intervention class teacher, Woodward enjoys challenging herself and her students while understanding the crucial role she plays in their lives as they inch closer to high school.
“I care so deeply about not only their academic success, but also their personal development,” said Woodward. “I can proudly say that I have supported, advocated for and pushed my students to be the best, most authentic version of themselves.”
On top of teaching, she has also served as the head girls track coach at SHMS for the past three years. That opportunity has provided her with a different way to interact with her students that extends beyond the classroom doors. While there are an endless number of positives that accompany Woodward’s role at Spring Hill Middle School, it’s the relationships she’s able to form with her peers that stand out the most.
“I’ve gotten to know incredible, highly skilled teachers, supportive and passionate administrators, and the most genuine, kind and funny eighth grade students imaginable,” said Woodward. “These people all make my job worth it!”
Originally from St. Johns, Kansas, Woodward attended Kansas State University where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. She then went on to Northwest Missouri State University and graduated with her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction in 2021. While on her journey to becoming a teacher, she was reminded of the importance to keep track of the ‘reasons why’. It’s a trait that she still carries with her today.
“Teaching is an intensely emotional and mentally taxing job,” said Woodward. “Yet in small moments, we are rewarded when our students write us thank you notes, excitedly tell us about their weekend plans, pass tests they weren’t sure they could pass or just smile for the first time in a few days. Those of us who pour so much heart, energy, time and dedication into our students do so because of our ‘reasons why’.”
Teaching through the COVID-19 pandemic created its own set of unique circumstances for Woodward, but she never wavered from her main teaching objectives. Her desire and focus to help her students learn and enhance their math skills has led to another successful school year with students about to take the leap to high school education. While the building and structure may be different, the overarching goals and mentality she wants her students to possess will stay the same at the next level.
“One piece of advice I give to my students is that their classmates do not get to define them,” said Woodward. “Middle school is a time of so much change and transition for students. I think it’s important for students to hear that they are the only ones who can say what they want to be. Each of them has to decide for themselves what type of student they are, what type of friend they want to be and how they will treat everyone they come in contact with.”
Woodward sets standards and expectations in her classroom because she understands the importance of treating everyone with respect and dignity. Eighth grade is a year of growth and development, and she wants to ensure her students continue to mature as they prepare for the next chapters of their lives.
“Taylor is a passionate educator that finds creative ways to make sure each student gets the support they need,” said Woodward’s nominator, Landon Parker. “The biggest impact on her students is the social and emotional support she provides when a student needs someone in their corner to not only be there in the moment, but also to help them grow as a person for the future. She is dedicated to collaborating with colleagues to provide the highest quality instruction in the classroom.”
“As you can tell from Taylor’s nominator, the dedication she shows to her students is positively contagious and is setting them up for success in high school,” said Jenny Housley, Blue KC Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “Taylor understands the importance of a strong education and has quickly learned some of the best practices for how to pass her mathematics knowledge down to her students. We’re proud of Taylor’s success and know that her career will continue to flourish in the years to come.”
Blue KC Sporting Samaritans will continue to be recognized monthly at Children’s Mercy Park during Sporting home games. Fans are encouraged to nominate teachers and students who are making a positive impact on their schools and communities by using the form online at SportingKC.com/BlueKC.