Celebrate Staci Wells, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of Excellence

Staci Wells

“As educators, we meet truly outstanding professional who makes a difference in the lives of children. Staci Wells is just that person! She is willing to go above and beyond and plays a critical role in sparking a passion for learning while consistently challenging and engaging all of her students.” –Bill Withrow, Redoubt Elementary principal

Ms. Staci Wells teaches second grade at Redoubt Elementary School in Soldotna. She has been a teacher for 11 years, all in Alaska. “Teaching isn’t just my job,” Ms. Wells says, “it’s who I am.” Ms. Wells approaches teaching with a very personal tactic, what she calls “guided instruction in a central style.” She engages her young students in classroom instruction, of course, but as she says, “In order to see their lightbulbs go off, you need to get face-to-face.”

She believes the impact of teaching and learning is more powerful in a small-group setting, which allows her to catch students in a moment of difficulty and quickly redirect them to success. Similarly, she can immediately see who has already mastered a skill and help him or her to move on to the next step.

The parents of her students agree with her approach. One parent wrote, Ms. Wells teaches these kids some amazing things, and they get it! My child knows things I would not expect from a second-grader.”

Ms. Wells earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Western Oregon State College and an education degree from Kenai Peninsula College.

She devotes much of her energy to searching out activities that are more fun and engaging for her students. “If I don’t think a lesson is exciting and worthwhile,” she says, “how can my students?”

Ms. Wells has recently helped her school implement STEM learning and, Staci Wellssimultaneously, personalized learning, also known as “student choice.” Offering both programs together results in a room full of eight-year-olds with unbridled enthusiasm.

Ms. Wells says, “I believe I inspire students by stepping out of my comfort zone and offering them opportunities that allow them to think outside the box. I want them to realize their full potential.”

Under Ms. Wells’ passionate teaching, students gradually learn to set goals and review their progress. A teacher never knows what to expect when he or she is handed a class list at the beginning of the year. But, as she tells us, that list quickly becomes a family. She states: “Knowing that I am trusted with a parent’s greatest treasure is a high calling of honor.”

Every morning, Staci spends time in her classroom getting ready for the coming day, and former students stop by to say hello. They come by to determine if the room decorations have changed, or to quiz her about a specific memory or event. But mostly, they stop in to get a hug.

Ms. Wells admits, “There is nothing that makes me prouder than the relationships I’ve made with my students. When they stop in to say hello, I know I was successful in making an impact on them.”

“I am very proud of all our finalists for this prestigious award,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “They all embody the qualities we want all of our teachers to exhibit, especially in how they ensure a strong, positive relationship with each and every student. Each finalist is very deserving of this recognition and I look forward to their continued excellence and leadership in our district.”

Congratulations, Staci Wells, BP Teacher of Excellence.


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