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Carrie Kraynak

English Language Development (ELD) teacher and team leader
Flower Hill Elementary School

Teacher of the Year Finalist

Carrie Kraynak is an English Language Development (ELD) teacher and team leader at Flower Hill Elementary School. Colleagues say she is a beloved member of the staff; they call her a joyful and positive force that lights up every room.

Nationally Board Certified, Kraynak implemented a targeted reading program for first grade students. She uses a range of strategies to support students’ language development and academic growth, which creates a supportive environment and enhances comprehension and language acquisition. In her specialized literacy class, she incorporates pictures, poetry, songs and objects from everyday life as teaching aids to complement daily phonics instruction.

She’s also found innovative ways for Emerging Multilingual Learners (EMLs) to contribute to the school culture—by encouraging their participation in using their language skills on the daily morning announcements, and by creating pep rallies to inspire EMLs to perform their best on the ACCESS annual English language proficiency test.

Her students showed improvement in the 2022–2023 school year. Literacy scores among first grade EML students increased from 42 percent to 62 percent that year. In foundational literacy, Flower Hill’s performance outpaced the district’s by 16 percent, a testament to Kraynak’s influence in setting and achieving high standards.

As a member of the Instructional Leadership Team, she creates professional development opportunities for her teammates, coordinates their schedules and offers her classroom as space for novice teachers to observe and learn. Her classroom was even observed by the U.S. Department of Education, which recognized her exemplary literacy instruction as rigorous.

Perhaps a group of third graders summed her up best: “She’s kind and patient. She’s always happy and she sings songs and plays games that help us learn. She makes me feel calm and happy, and if I’m confused I know she will help.”