Meet Katie Rios
Katie Rios, director of Wildwood's elementary school, has a sixth sense when it comes to reading kids. Take Emma, for example. When she started as a 1st grader, Emma was convinced she would never have any friends. "She would come by my office every week to talk about ways to be comfortable with other kids," Katie recalls.
Fast forward three years. Emma has lots of pals, and she's active in the school's Green Team and other groups. She's blossomed into a regular social butterfly, and Katie is hardly surprised.
"I knew she had it in her," says Katie, who started her Wildwood career as a Pod teacher. "She just needed help bringing it out. We talked a lot and came up with a plan. It was all about taking baby steps and finding success in little ways."
The key to recognizing each child's potential, Katie says, is looking at "the whole child, seeing them for who they are and allowing them to develop into who they are meant to become. We guide them to develop not just academically, but socially, emotionally, and artistically in ways that encourage them to become life-long participants in the joy of learning."
That joy is abundant at the elementary campus. Kids write stories, research projects, read books, build robots, chat in Spanish, sing and dance, sculpt and paint, and compute and solve problems. Common threads in all of their activities are "good people" lessons, designed to teach children to be just, respectful, and thoughtful citizens.
Katie and her team make sure those lessons reflect the best practices in elementary education. A graduate of Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., Katie regularly attends conferences and workshops on math, reading, writing, and education leadership. She combines her new learning with classroom experience gleaned from years as a kindergarten, multi-age, and special education teacher.
"Elementary school plants the seeds of curiosity," Katie says. "I love watching our kids discover, grow, and achieve. To be part of another human being's foundational development is intensely satisfying."