Region 1 | Vicki Meredith, 61
School: Woodlawn Elementary, St. Petersburg
Subject: Math and writing
Education: Bachelor's degree in elementary education, Eastern Illinois University; master's in elementary education, University of South Florida
Woodlawn Elementary can be a challenging school.
Vicki Meredith said she saw it in the halls, in her classroom, through her kids' actions. They were not kind, they didn't focus on work and they spent their time being rude to each other.
They didn't know what kindness looked like or felt like. So, she stepped in.
"I knew I had to do something to teach these kids," said Meredith, a 40-year teaching veteran.
She created "The Kindness Revolution" to promote kindness and peace through the students of her fifth-grade class. They make posters for the school, reflect on kindness in their journals and make smiley cards. If you get a smiley card from a peer in school, you sign it and pass it on to someone else so they can have a smile.
"Now, there's so much love going on in the classroom," Meredith said.
She was nominated for the Outstanding Educator of the Year award by her principal, Karen Russell.
"I have such a passion for teaching," Meredith said.
Her students also try to help other students at Woodlawn, making business cards for tutoring and delivering them to teachers to hand out.
And Meredith has "family meetings" in her class, a time when she comes together with her students to talk about different acts of kindness or anything else the students want to discuss.
"She has given the kids a special sense of closeness and family ties," said Kim Shone, whose daughter is in Meredith's class.
"This (award) would be a lifetime achievement for her because teaching has been her lifetime commitment," added Shone.
Sabrina Rocco, Times staff writer
The 2011 Outstanding Educator will be chosen from six nominees and announced Tuesday.