CT’s 2023 Teacher of the Year is now a national finalist

CT Teacher of the Year is now a national finalist
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 7:28 PM EST
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BRISTOL, CT (WFSB) - Connecticut’s 2023 Teacher of the Year is now in the running for National Teacher of the Year.

Bristol Eastern High School teacher Mrs. Carolyn Kielma has been inspiring students inside and outside the classroom for decades.

Kielma always brings a positivity to the classroom and lessons that is unforgettable to all the students.

Bristol Eastern High School Principal Michael Higgins commented, “Carolyn Kielma is a Rockstar.”

She has created this safe space in Room 125 for students for around 20 years teaching more than just science.

“I guess my message would be that it’s okay to be wrong and to try,” Kielma said. “Most of learning is messing up, getting it wrong, realizing what you did, and learning from that.”

Kielma is a constant reminder in the halls of equity and inclusion by being transparent and vulnerable with every student that passes.

Higgins said, “It’s really her energy. She just brings a vibrancy and enthusiasm for what she does.”

One of the most important parts of teaching for Kielma is for students to understand that learning is not all about getting it right or wrong.

She wants everyone to know that learning is about the process of discovery.

Kielma said, “you have to keep learning to become a better person than you were yesterday.”

Her greatness has been recognized statewide in Connecticut, but it doesn’t stop there.

She is one of five teachers left in the running for National Teacher of the Year.

“As long as you have ambition and drive and determination, you can do anything,” Kielma said. “You just have to work.”

It’s impossible to deny that Kielma’s students enjoy coming to her class every day.

“They are so excited. They’re over the moon. You’re going to win Mrs. Kielma, you’re going to win,” Kielma said. “I’m like alright calm down, this is an honor right here. I got this far.”

In this competition, she’s joined alongside teachers from Alaska, Illinois, Oklahoma, and D.C.

“Anybody can win. It’s not really about the competition; it’s just about learning from so many other teachers,” Kielma said.