“Grace and Accountability” These words form the motto Ms. Kelly Hackman, Elementary Behavior Interventionist, uses in her role supporting students as they develop important skills which help them remain in their classrooms with their peers. Ms. Hackman works tirelessly doing what she describes as “walking alongside teachers and students helping them form relationships which increase students’ abilities to navigate challenges and increase success”. Quick to give credit to classroom teachers for the number of strategies they employ hundreds of times a day, Ms. Hackman provides an invaluable service to the district offering grace to students while they learn and grow, yet holding them accountable at the source of behavior incidents. Ms. Hackman’s office is called “The Recovery Room”, but she is on the go all day long providing support to students, teachers, and administrators.
Ms. Hackman was a stay-at-home-mom for more than 10 years while raising Macayla, now a 17-year-old junior, and William, 12-year-old seventh grader. Ms. Hackman always wanted to be a mom, and she enjoyed her time focusing on her family. Prior to these years as a stay-at-home parent, Ms. Hackman worked for Missouri Private Probation Services for approximately eight years and managed contracts that included Dunklin, Texas, and Wright Counties. After working on the legal side of adult situations, Ms. Hackman felt called to be a part of helping the community at school. “I knew I wanted to connect with children – where I could make a difference in their futures and help them reach their own goals,” said Ms. Hackman.
Taking time to get to know students, to understand their unique challenges, and seeing beyond their misbehaviors are attributes of Ms. Hackman’s that serve children in our district well. Beginning with the district as a full-time substitute gave Ms. Hackman experience and allowed her to become familiar with many students. The district quickly moved Ms. Hackman into the role of Behavior Interventionist based on these student connections and Ms. Hackman’s reliability.
When asked about her favorite part of her work, Ms. Hackman replied, “I love being a part of the team and helping students bring about their own versions of success. Small rewards, small successes, and small victories in each day make it all worthwhile.” Throughout the day, Ms. Hackman receives radio calls to help in classrooms or to help move students to quieter areas and have individual discussions. “This helps students move past tough moments and hopefully allows them to restart in the classroom,” says Ms. Hackman.
“When students get really upset, I remind myself it isn’t personal,” says Ms. Hackman. “There’s usually something else going on, so I try to build a relationship with that student and help him or her build a skill to encourage them to be more successful – sometimes this is allowing adults to be in charge, sometimes it’s doing things when they are challenging, and sometimes the skill is following directions when students don’t want to”.
There is no “typical day” for Ms. Hackman. While she finds it rewarding helping teachers and students, the position is a demanding one – both physically and emotionally. “This job is never boring. Sometimes I’m on standby for critical moments, and other times we have scheduled interventions with students. I like to be as proactive as possible to help students avoid conflicts in their classrooms,” says Ms. Hackman. Providing opportunities for growth, and teaching students to return accountability at the source are ways Ms. Hackman mentors students. Ms. Hackman shares that the job of educators is to outlast the acting out. While she serves a role in helping students learn, Ms. Hackman’s goal is to help students and teachers strengthen their relationships – not take their places. “I’m not here to take anyone’s place,” says Ms. Hackman, “I want to walk alongside students and teachers to help strengthen those relationships so students can learn and tackle their own goals.” Having an enormous amount of patience, a calming nature, the physicality to keep up with young students, and the ability to provide mentorship are rare talents, and for these reasons, we are proud to recognize Ms. Kelly Hackman as this month’s spotlight staff member.