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

County planning Mercer Island sewer upgrade

County prepares to replace an aging pipe running beneath Lake Washington

As PSE moves away from coal, one community scrambles to build a new economy

Lewis County has long relied on the energy needs of consumers throughout the region. That’s all about to change.

Mercer Island community hosts ‘homecoming’ for baseball team

The MIHS team can finally play on its home field after the re-opening of Island Crest Park.

Mercer Island teams advance to Destination Imagination state event

A record 12 teams representing MI schools qualified for the state tournament.

Students at St. Monica School, a private Catholic school based in Mercer Island, prayed for the 17 victims of the Parkland school shooting. Photo courtesy of Krista Pittiglio
Students throughout the region leave class and call for action on guns

The demonstrations, part of the National School Walkout, marked the one month anniversary of the Parkland school shooting.

Inslee signs Breakfast after the Bell legislation into law

Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, sponsored the legislation in the Senate.

41st District legislators disclose how they voted on public records bill

Senate Bill 6617 would have exempted legislators from the state’s Public Records Act.

Islanders report several cases of fraud and car prowling

The blotter consists of officers’ accounts of crimes and other incidents in Mercer Island.

Washington state passes Mercer Island legislator’s equal pay bill

The Equal Pay Opportunity Act, sponsored by Rep. Tana Senn, will address the gender wage gap.

Most Read