Educator of the Month: Katherine Cox

Asbury-Educator-of-MonthThird-grade teacher Katherine Cox is a natural performer, and that serves her well in her classroom.

Cox is not afraid to put her dramatic skills to work and sing a Broadway show tune if that’s what keeps her students engaged.

Cox has taught third grade at Rosenwald-Dunbar Elementary in Nicholasville for the past four years, but teaching elementary school was not her original plan.

Cox graduated from Asbury University in 1994 with a degree in secondary education. Her goal was to teach high school English, and her first job was working in the Extended School Service program at Bryan Station High.

After two years there, Cox married and became a stay-at-home mom for the next 15 years, raising Avery, now 18, Eli, 15, and Ellie, 13.

When Ellie was old enough to attend school, Cox returned to subbing and found a home in third grade. Children that age are the perfect blend of independence and pliability, she said.

“It really is a fantastic age,” she said. “I fell into a niche.”

Cox headed back to Asbury to earn her certification to teach elementary school. While working as a long-term sub and taking care of three children, she also took classes, three times a week for 18 months.

Back in the classroom at Rosenwald-Dunbar, Cox insists on participation and engages students with a dynamic and entertaining persona. She draws on her background in concert choir and will go from speaking in a whisper, to singing like an opera star, to using an old-man voice all within one lesson.

“With their short attention spans, I must create a persona that’s engaging,” Cox said.

Reese Burden is one of Cox’s students and called her a “great teacher.”

“She’s funny,” Reese said. “If I have trouble, she makes it a lot easier.”

Perhaps that’s because Cox accepts that mistakes are inevitable and fixable. So, she gives her students half-a-dozen oversized erasers to show they are all prepared to handle mistakes. This removes the fear of errors and boosts participation among students.

The enthusiasm seen in her classroom is no accident. Cox said the excitement is intentional. “It’s not just contagious,” she said.

“I teach enthusiasm for being here.