Heather Kilgore, a multiple disabilities support (MDS) teacher at the Child and Career Development Center (CCDC), has been selected as a finalist for the 2024 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year. Each year, public school teachers who support K-12 are recognized by the Teacher of the Year program for excellence in teaching and outstanding academic contributions to Pennsylvania’s school-aged children. Kilgore is one of 12 teachers from across the commonwealth who have been selected as finalists.
Kilgore began her teaching career at CCDC in the fall of 2004, where she served as a student teacher in a high school learning support classroom. In January 2005, Kilgore was officially hired at CCDC for a middle and high school emotional support classroom role. After nine years, she transitioned to her current role as a teacher in a K-4 MDS classroom.
Kilgore has become a beloved teacher and colleague during her years at CCDC. “Heather is one of those teachers you come across once in a great while,” shared Dr. Susan Mateka, principal at CCDC. “She is able to see exactly what each child brings to the community, and her whole teaching approach involves finding and using their unique strengths to help them fully participate in meaningful learning.”
While Kilgore’s selection is well-deserved according to many of her colleagues, she attributes her success to the supportive and close-knit community at CCDC. “I am so honored and humbled to be named a finalist for PA Teacher of the Year. This recognition is not about me though. It is about all of the amazing teachers, therapists, instructional assistants and nurses who support one another throughout the challenging and rewarding times of our profession. I have the honor to work with such amazing, dedicated and passionate people,” Kilgore stated.
As a finalist, Kilgore must submit several videos showcasing her lessons and classroom. Considering her students’ enthusiasm for her class, it will not be hard to capture Kilgore’s remarkable work. “The best thing about my classroom is the students. I have the honor of teaching the most incredible children who have taught me more about life than I could ever teach them,” Kilgore shared. “You can't leave my classroom without smiling from ear to ear. There's no greater feeling than the love you'll receive from my students.”
The Teacher of the Year will be announced at the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) annual SAS Institute this fall.