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Samantha Kunk says she did not intend to follow in her mother's footsteps. Her mom is a teacher, and Kunk says she saw firsthand how demanding a teaching career could be.

“I had seen how much time my mom put into it, how much work,” Kunk says. “It frightened me a little.”

After she graduated from college, Kunk found herself helping out in a classroom. In spite of her earlier reservations, “I fell in love with it,” says Kunk. Now she teaches at Whitmore Elementary, the school where her mom also works.

Kunk started in a kindergarten class, but she now teaches a self contained classroom for K through second grade. She was nominated by the mother of one of her autistic

students. The mom praised Kunk’s patience and her caring attitude.

“She helps every student in her class be better,” writes Gabriela Solis. Kunk “takes her time with my son to teach him to better understand how to express himself and is patient when he is having a bad day.”

Solis adds, “I see her love for each student and the patience she has. My son has made such a big improvement and I have her to thank. She is the best teacher I have met.” 

Working with students in a self contained classroom means that "I get to keep them three years," explains Kunk. "I really enjoy working with these kids," she says, and she gets to know them better because of the smaller class size.

Getting to know her students is important since “every student is very different,” Kunk explains. She needs to “really get to know them” in order to understand “what’s going to work best for them,” Kunk says.

When she is not at school, Kunk enjoys hiking and exploring the outdoors with her dog. She adopted a rescue dog about 4 years ago.

Kunk says her favorite subject when she was in school was math. “I love math. It really challenged me, and I liked the challenge,” she says.

“I still enjoy teaching math,” she adds.

Teacher Fun Facts:

Hobbies: Hiking, diving, spending time with her dog Favorite Subject in School: Math

Once a Wildcat: Kunk was a collegiate diver with the UofA swimming and diving team. She now coaches a club diving team. 

April 2017