Submitted by Sonja Bailes, Special to the Press-Tribune
Everyone appreciates a pat on the back for a job well done, but the one Jennifer Gulett got this week brought tears to her eyes.
Gathered in the gymnasium for an assembly at Waller Elementary, Gulett had no idea all the hoopla was for her. Then, her name was called out as Bossier Schools’ Gold Star winner for October.
“I’m so surprised,” Gulett said as she hugged Principal Lisa Nix and wiped tears from her eyes.
It was a nomination from the parent of one of Gulett’s former students that won her the employee award for excellence.
It read, “Mrs. Gulett goes above and beyond. She cares so much about her students and makes sure they succeed. She is very dedicated to her work and strongly believes it’s what she does which makes the kids believe in themselves.” The nomination went on to say, “She is the reason my son (who has dyslexia) actually likes to read now and is also reading at grade level. We owe her a lot; this is just one way of saying thank you. Thank you, Mrs. Gulett, not just for helping my son but for helping everyone that needs it.”
“The fact this mother took the time to say that means so much,” Gulett said. “It means the world to me. It means I made a difference with one child. One at a time.”
“When a parent nominates you, it means even more,” said Jill Skaggs to Gulett. Skaggs works for the marketing department at Bossier Federal Credit Union, which sponsors the Gold Star award.
Teaching is, no doubt, in Gulett’s blood. Her mother, Norma McKellar, taught for years at Bossier Schools. The timing of the Gold Star award was particularly emotional for Gulett.
“This is special because my mom and I started Read 180 together,” she explained. “She was at Plantation Park and passed away five years ago this month.”
Gulett said while her mother was alive, they were able to compare notes about the Read 180 program that was geared toward struggling readers in fourth and fifth grades. It was a great bonding experience.
“I ended up being able to teach with her that way, which was always my mom’s dream,” Gulett added.
Her enthusiasm for helping children go from struggling to proficient readers is evident.
“I love to see children grow and help them become confident in themselves. Confidence is key. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”