Miss Kathy gets a hug from a student at the Creative Learning Center after being surprised with MIPA’s Exceptional Educator award. Katie Metzger/staff photo

MIPA awards Exceptional Educator of the Year

Students, parents and colleagues surprised preschool teacher Kathy Morey on a sunny April 9 afternoon with cake, balloons and the award for Exceptional Educator of the Year.

The award is given annually by the Mercer Island Preschool Association (MIPA). MIPA Co-VP of Preschool Jessica Apodaca said they received 25 nomination letters for “Miss Kathy,” who has been teaching at Mercer Island’s Creative Learning Center for about 16 years.

Marilyn Wellnitz, the director and owner of Creative Learning Center, wrote in her letter that Morey “hasn’t earned this honor due to her many years, although the years alone are impressive, she’s earned it one minute at a time; with every rub to the back, with every kind word of encouragement, with her thoughtfulness, with an abundance of kindness towards not only the children, but her fellow workers.”

Morey is the first teacher from Creative Learning Center to win the award. There are nine teachers on staff, including Wellnitz’s two daughters. The Montessori preschool is located next to the Mercer Island Community and Event Center.

Wellnitz said the goal of the school is to “spark a joy of learning, and curiosity,” and that it’s important to her that a child’s first teacher is a positive influence in their life.

Morey said she just loves kids, guiding them and helping them develop not just academic skills, but virtues like respect, love, patience and kindness. According to the nomination letters, these are qualities Morey exudes herself, along with “a wonderful calming quality,” sincerity and authenticity.

One letter reads: “She has an authentic way of relating to kids that is so genuine and honest. I’ve watched her disarm kids who think they can persuade her to give in or change her mind and within a minute, they’ve forgotten why they were upset and are off playing. It’s like magic.”

Morey “engages every family and builds community,” one admirer wrote.

“Miss Kathy is everything you would ever want from a preschool teacher: positive, peaceful, patient, kind, thoughtful, playful, attentive, and a great communicator with the parents,” according to another letter.

Morey, who lives on the Island and has eight children of her own, said she is “blessed to work with wonderful kids, parents and staff.”

For more information about MIPA, see www.mipreschoolassociation.org.

MIPA Co-VPs of Preschool Jessica Apodaca and Amanda Colburn present Kathy Morey with the Exceptional Educator award. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Exceptional Educator Kathy Morey poses with her students and the director and owner of Creative Learning Center, Marilyn Wellnitz. Katie Metzger/staff photo

The Mercer Island Preschool Association awards an ‘Exceptional Educator’ annually. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Kathy Morey receives a congratulatory hug from one of her students. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Morey received a cake and a plaque from MIPA, along with flowers and balloons from colleagues and students. Katie Metzger/staff photo

More in News

After Seattle’s controversial employee head tax was repealed, King County Executive Dow Constantine wants to bond against existing tax revenues to generate $100 million for affordable housing. Photo by Joe Mabel/Wikipedia Commons
County executive proposes $100 million affordable housing bond

The money was already coming, but Constantine wants to speed up the process.

Mercer Island Fire Station 92. Reporter File Photo
Fire damages Mercer Island commerial building

All Mercer Island Fire Department units responded to the fire on Tuesday.

Mercer Island Marine Patrol assists with seaplane crash

The plane was attempting a water take-off when it lost control and crashed into Lake Washington.

‘Racially insensitive’ yearbook photo sparks outrage among MIHS parents

Black Student Union president angered that a “white group of people can justify for a black community…and has been question[ed] on what is and is not racist.”

Past and present collide at Flag Day on Mercer Island

Guest speakers discuss history, patriotism.

Seattle and King County officials want a safe injection van

The mobile project—an alternative to permanent sites—still doesn’t have a defined timeline.

Bikes stolen, cars prowled by unknown suspects | Police blotter

The Mercer Island police blotter for May 30 - June 9

An autopsy found that Tommy Le was shot twice in the back during an fatal encounter with a King County sheriff’s deputy. Photo courtesy Career Link
New report calls for increased transparency from King County Sheriff’s Office

The fatal shooting of Tommy Le served as a case study for researchers.

Most Read