Long-time Ross Elementary Teacher Wins United Way’s “Be There Award”

Ross Elementary kindergarten teacher Kathy Fitzgerald is the 2017 winner of the “Be There Award” from the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania. The award celebrates adults who go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of children and youth in Allegheny County by making sure they get what they need to thrive.

She was one of 17 finalists for the award after being nominated by Ross Elementary guidance counselor Dawn McElhinney.

“Kathy Fitzgerald is a unique and creative teacher that engages her little ones daily. She understands the importance of starting off their school career in the right fashion in order to instill a love of learning. She is an exemplary figure of education and has devoted her life to making sure students succeed in life,” said McElhinney.

Other finalists for the award included a former Pittsburgh Steelers player, representatives from various non-profit organizations such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Carnegie Library, Urban Impact and South Hills Interfaith Movement and administrators and teachers from four other K-12 educational institutions.

The award is a fitting capstone for Mrs. Fitzgerald as she will be retiring at the end of the 2016-17 school year after teaching kindergarten in North Hills for 25 years. During that time, she has been recognized for her outstanding efforts in teaching with a Teacher’s Excellence Award and multiple The Gift of Time Awards. Her impact will be felt for years to come at Ross through her efforts to secure funding for and the creation of an environmental classroom in the Ross Elementary outdoor courtyard along with colleague Liz Rava. This classroom allows science to be taught in a meaningful way and extend into the real world.

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