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Stephanie Stratton teaches first grade at Kiva Elementary. Stratton has been teaching in the Scottsdale District for over 20 years. She taught at Tavan Elementary before moving to Kiva.

Stratton is originally from South Carolina. She began her career in marketing but says, “I think teaching’s in the blood.” She explains that her dad was a professor and her mom was the director of a center for preschool-age children.

When she was a kid, Stratton says art and reading were her favorite subjects. “I remember the day that the light bulb came on,” she says of her early school days and her love of reading.

These days, she enjoys teaching social studies, parts of grammar and life sciences. She likes lessons on animals and is well known for her love of giraffes. “I have 170 of them in my classroom,” she says. “I’m momma giraffe.”

Stratton likes to spend her free time watching movies, and spending time with her son, her friends and her pets—she has three dogs, Rosey, Riley and Rockers, and a cockatoo named Rita.

She loves hot rods (her first car was a Volkswagen Beetle) and she is also a soccer enthusiast. “If I wasn't a teacher, I would be Mia Hamm,” Stratton jokes.

Stratton was nominated by student Ryan, who writes, “She makes it fun to learn new stuff.”

One of the ways Stratton keeps her students engaged is getting them out of their seats often and involving them in curriculum-based activities that enhance their textbook learning. She reminds her students to “do it right the first time or do it again,” she says.

Stratton recalls that her most embarrassing moment in a classroom was in the days before smart boards. She recounts the time when a pull-down map had a string that got caught in her dress. When the screen went up, the dress did, too! She says that luckily she was wearing a slip, but even so, some of her students were giggling and some were horrified.

Stratton works to instill a sense of right and wrong in her students. She advises them, “If it feels good in your heart, it’s the right thing to do. If it doesn’t feel good in your heart, think again!” Her parting words for students: “Watch out for giraffes!”

Teacher is Great Form

November 2021