By JESSICA ABLE
Record Staff Writer
Growing up, Ann Colvin, a kindergarten teacher at St. Albert the Great School, always knew she wanted to be an educator.
She was the oldest of seven children, she said, and “always loved being around children.” Her family experiences may or may not have pushed her toward pedagogy, but these days Colvin said she “always knew I would like to be a teacher.”
Those who know her say Colvin’s love for her job and the children she teaches is evident by her dedication in the classroom and all the extra hours she logs after school and during the summer.
That love and dedication have not gone unnoticed.
Colvin was named the Archdiocese of Louisville’s 2012 Irene Casey Catholic Inclusion Award winner for her dedication to meeting the learning needs of the students at St. Albert School.
The award is named for the late Irene Casey, an educator who was dedicated to assisting students with special learning needs.
Colvin has taught in the Archdiocese of Louisville for 21 years. She is beginning her 17th year at St. Albert School, and previously taught at St. John Vianney School and St. Edward School, spending two years at each.
Central to Colvin’s teaching philosophy, she said, is her “happy heart” theory.
“If you enter the classroom with a happy heart and try to treat others that way, everything stems from that. That’s my number one rule,” Colvin said in a interview Aug. 13.
For the last five or six years, Colvin has headed up the school’s SciLEARN FastForWord program, a reading program that addresses the learning disabilities of students with comprehension and processing problems.
Colvin said she has always had a tendency to reach out to students who need extra help.
“Children are coming to you now with more needs than ever before,” she explained. “You have to be able to read them, give them strategies to make them better and do that with respect, fun and engagement.”
Colvin, who has a warm and gentle demeanor that tends to put those around her at ease, said she tries to teach inclusion in her classroom by showing respect for each child and encouraging all the children to treat each other the way they would want to be treated.
“I don’t want any child made to feel any different — that’s my quest,” Colvin said as her eyes welled up with tears.
For someone who readily admits she “easily gives but doesn’t know how to receive,” she was flabbergasted when she learned she would receive the Irene Casey award.
“It’s a great honor to bring to St. Albert. I like the idea of our school being an inclusive program. The entire staff really works together resourcing each other,” she said.
Colvin also acknowledged her fellow teachers, especially her kindergarten team, the many teaching assistants at the school and Michele Conliffe, a recently retired resource teacher who nominated Colvin for the award.
Colvin will be presented the award today, Aug. 23, at an all-school Mass at St. Albert the Great. It will be presented by Judy Thomas, assistant superintendent of schools for the archdiocese.
Bernadette Cooper, principal at St. Albert the Great School, said Colvin is very devoted and works with each child so that he or she can reach their full potential.
“She’s worked very hard to keep the FastForWord program at St. Albert. She has written grants on her own. She works throughout the summer with the program,” Cooper said. “She likes to help all students. She especially enjoys working with children who are struggling and seeing them improve.”
Colvin and her husband, who have been married for 37 years, attend Immaculate Conception Church and have three children and two grandchildren.