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

Suspect attempts to extort victim over email | Police blotter

The Mercer Island police blotter for Sept. 4 through 9.

Democratic incumbent Rep. Adam Smith of Washington’s 9th Congressional District (right) and challenger Sarah Smith discuss the issues facing the district during a forum the Mirror hosted on Sept. 19. Andy Hobbs/staff photo
Smith vs. Smith: Two Democrats clash in 9th Congressional District forum

Democratic socialist Sarah Smith seeks ‘bold new progressive vision’ in bid to replace incumbent Adam Smith.

Self-driving vehicles are coming and cities know it

Public and private sector representatives met to discuss the future of autonomous vehicle policy.

Female mayors discuss opportunities in their cities

Emerging leaders focus on diversity, development and deliberate actions.

Self-driving car conference on Sept. 19

Tickets can be found online at transpogroup.com/avconference.html

Next steps for MICA

Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA) and the City Council held a study session on Sept. 17.

Protesters gather at SeaTac’s Families Belong Together rally. Photo by Alex Garland
Immigrant youth vulnerable to abuse in Puget Sound area centers

Federally-funded facilities struggle to maintain health and safety of minors stuck in limbo

Unknown suspect breaks into home while family is away | Police blotter

The Mercer Island police blotter for Aug. 28 through Sept. 3

Photos courtesy of Trooper Rick Johnson
Troopers seek hit and run suspect, call on public for help

The Washington State Patrol asked locals for any information to identify the vehicle and suspect.

Most Read