Teacher of the Year: Katherine Kramer

Assistant headmaster and 8th-grade teacher at Immanuel Lutheran School
in Alexandria, Va.

Nominated by Whitney Work:

“Delightful. Witty. An incredible story-teller. Compassionate. Caring. Dedicated. Nurturing. Engaged. These are just a few of the adjectives that spring to mind when thinking about how best to describe Ms. Katherine Kramer.”

“She has taught at ILS for nine years, first teaching 2nd grade, and later moving into a position in the Upper School before assuming the role of assistant headmaster in 2016.
In this role, she is not only able to continue teaching, but also to educate the faculty at Immanuel through on-going pedagogy sessions for all teachers throughout the year. Her love for teaching and learning is demonstrated in the classroom and her work, guiding and mentoring other teachers as they grow in their roles as well.”

“She inspires and challenges students to not only explore but genuinely grow in their love for the true, good and beautiful in the world, and her door is always open.”

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Q&A with Katherine Kramer


What originally got you interested in teaching?
Both of my parents are very capable and inspiring teachers, so I’ve been blessed with outstanding lifelong models. While neither teaches in a K-12 classroom, they educated my brother and me, and still are continually educating and mentoring others. As a literature major in college, my pedagogy professor’s excitement, curiosity and deep compassion ignited my desire to teach and ultimately led me to switch majors and prepare for the field of education.

Why do you think teachers are essential?
Well, first of all, I’d say that we’re not nearly as influential as parents are in a child’s life. Parents are the first teachers of their children, but teachers are important precisely because we help parents nurture, train and educate their children. It’s a role that requires both authority and humility. I look at my colleagues every day and am amazed at the constant little vignettes of their affection and guidance that shape a child’s outlook, community, discipline, sense of belonging, knowledge and virtues.

What is the single best piece of advice you can give parents?
Ask for forgiveness when you should and freely give it when they need to be forgiven. Also, please limit their use of phones, video games and social media.

How can parents and teachers work together to empower and engage children?
By communicating. By spending time together. By being in a relationship together. It’s simple but challenging and rewarding.

If I weren’t teaching, I’d be …
That’s impossible to say because this is my dream job. There is no other job I’d find more appealing, although I wouldn’t mind a sabbatical year to try writing children’s fiction.


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