Educator of the week

Kathleen Molenhouse 
Annie Keller Regional Gifted Center

Science Specialist

As a proud native of the Southside of Chicago, Kathleen Molenhouse holds true to the values of academic perseverance by humbly bridging the gap of higher education within her community while keeping educational traditions alive at home.

Ms. Molenhouse holds fond memories, as a child, of her parents sharing the importance of education and ingraining in her that a good education provides for a better way of life. They also incorporated unique learning opportunities for the entire family. Her parents would make learning an adventure by taking family vacations and including visits to local museums and historical sites. She also admired how close-knit, kind and supportive her larger Chicago community was – and still is. Today, her and her husband continue this tradition and take every opportunity to create similar learning experiences for their children; during their own family vacations they venture off to local museums and historical sites with their 4 children.

Ms. Molenhouse has invested more than 15 years as an educator to continue sharing the importance of education for her community – just as her parents had done for her. She knew at a very young age that she wanted to be an educator, and her 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Weber, helped her realize that dream. She was “very enthusiastic and passionate about teaching”, she states. Mrs. Weber fueled her fondness and love for Science that translated into a passion for learning how things work and function. A great big thank you goes out to Mrs. Weber for helping mold Ms. Molenhouse into the educator in-and-out of the classroom that she has become.

Currently, Ms. Molenhouse is the Science Specialist for grades 6th – 8th at Annie Keller Regional Gifted Center. Science is her favorite subject to teach because she enjoys encouraging her students to dissect animals, mix chemicals and build roller coasters. Every day, her students make discoveries through their own inquiry and “the most rewarding sight is the smile on the face of a student who ‘gets’ it!”. Ms. Molenhouse encourages her students to not only be involved with Science but STEM as a whole, and she puts this belief into action by showing her students the connections between her classroom work and how it applies in the real world.

As a STEM advocate for the Annie Keller community, Ms. Molenhouse brings monthly programs which showcase advancements in STEM, she has partnered with Illinois Math and Science Academy to receive a certificate for hands-on activities and even coaches Lego Robotics. She also leads her campus' partnership with our Viva Technology™ program and the Motorola Solutions Foundation. Through this partnership we are able to host the Viva Technology™ Program for parents, educators and students - we are currently going on 11 years! Ms. Molenhouse also plans on leading an extra-curricular engineering class for young girls and will be incorporating Computer Science into the existing curriculum in the near future. This is probably a contributing factor to Annie Keller's recognition as the #1 Middle School by the Chicago Suntimes' Top 50 rankings of 2014.

Kathleen shares that her passion for teaching and learning extends beyond the classroom as she is an avid reader and enjoys gardening, biking and spending quality time with her family. Glad to hear that she is passing along her childhood experiences to her own children.

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