A Woodlawn second-grade teacher who coworkers describe as a proud Riverhawk who stays the course and is a steady eddy was honored Tuesday as the Lawrence Elementary Teacher of the Year.
Marilou Cavin was recognized by Lawrence Superintendent Rick Doll during a school assembly. Doll told the elementary students that Cavin had been selected as teacher of the year for her calm, steady presence and willingness to help others.
“She is always looking out for the kids,” Doll said.
Cavin has been teaching at Woodlawn for nearly 20 years.
“It was definitely an honor to be recognized,” Cavin said. “I’ve always put my whole heart into the kids.”
Cavin wasn’t expecting to be honored, but when Doll mentioned a longtime teacher with a Kansas State background was getting the award, Cavin thought it might be her.
“There are a few K-Staters in the building. I’m very proud of it. And, they’ve teased me for many years,” Cavin said. “There are a lot of wonderful teachers here and a few of us have been here for a very long time.”
Prior to joining Lawrence Public Schools in 1989, Cavin spent 12 years working with children in nursery schools and child care centers in Lawrence, Manhattan, Clay Center and Junction City.
Cavin was among the teachers who started the school’s Outdoor Wildlife Learning Site and continues to volunteer at workday events to help maintain it.
“She goes above and beyond what is in the classroom to help the school community,” Woodlawn principal Jeanne Fridell said and pointed to the number of committees, both at the school and district level, that Cavin has served on.
“I have served on a lot of boards,” Cavin admitted. “I want to make sure the kids have the best education possible. I want to find the materials that are appropriate for them. And, it gives you a heads up of what is coming down the pike.”
The honor comes with a $1,000 check from KU Credit Union and Cavin’s photo will be displayed in the district office. Her name will also be nominated to the Kansas State Department of Education’s Kansas Teacher of the Year program.
While one of Cavin’s students recommended redesigning the classroom with the award money, Cavin said she isn’t quite sure what she’ll do with it. But she said she might buy something small for her students.
Cavin’s said it’s watching the students grow and learn that inspires her.