“She’s even a role model to me,” said Indian Trails Elementary Principal Emily Cross.

Kari Lund, a third grade teacher at Indian Trails Elementary, is Fort Osage School District’s 2014-15 Teacher of the Year.

“I’m so proud of her,” she continued. “She’s a reflective practitioner, a non-stop learner. She’s great at setting goals for her students.”

Kari Lund spoke with The Examiner about what makes a teacher stand out and how she gets her third grade students engaged in learning.

1. How does it feel being named Teacher of the Year and how long have you been teaching?

Lund: I have been teaching eight years total, with five at Fort Osage and three with Indian Trails. It’s fabulous to receive this award. It’s very humbling and I’m quite overwhelmed.

2. How do you engage children to increase their success?

Lund: There are a lot of ways to get children engaged, actually. The first is to give power at their level. Indian Trails is a Leader-in-Me school and we implement “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” We give students the opportunity to assist in the learning process, whether by running our school assemblies or presenting daily calendar information. When you empower a student, it engages them.

3. Recall a time when you believe you made the most positive impact on a student.

Lund: I had a student who was struggling one year and the way I showed them success was by finding a way to meet their potential. I helped the student with schoolwork before and after school, as well as interventions. There are a variety of methods. But once you open their internal potential, you can watch them really grow.

4. What qualities do you believe makes a teacher stand out among the rest?

Lund: Be very collaborative with your peers and a great help. Collaboration and cooperation are key when you work with a variety of people. Also, be flexible, along with having a big heart and being compassionate.

5. What advice would you give to aspiring or budding teachers?

Lund: They need to open and engage students’ minds every day. Every child should walk out your classroom with success. That’s the goal.