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Hometown Hero: EVSC Teacher Kelly Tenbarge

Educators invest so much of their time and energy to ensure your children are safe, comfortable, and succeeding academically.

That’s why one Evansville teacher is going above and beyond for her students.

At Cynthia Heights Elementary School, there is something to be said about Arts and Technology teacher Kelly Tenbarge.

“She just finds those special qualities in kids and really and really fosters that and works with them and that’s what makes her amazing,” says Chastity Nisbeth, Cynthia Heights Principal.

Kelly has been teaching for more than three decades and now she sees on average 200 students a day.

“Even though it’s been 32 years it has gone so very quickly,” says Kelly Tenbarge, teacher.

But for this teacher, there’s more than meets the eye.

For the last few years, Kelly has been helping students like 7-year-old Jade Dowdy.

“We meet at daycare after school, have snacks, and work on temple books or we do some reading,” says Tenbarge.

Jade needed some extra practice with reading, and without hesitation Kelly stepped in to help out of the kindness in her heart.

A quality Cynthia Heights principal Chastity Nisbeth says isn’t a surprise.

“When I’m talking with kids in here I’ll say ‘okay what’s your most favorite part of the day? If you could do it besides recess?’ A lot of them will say art Mrs. Tenbarge is great, she listens she’s great she’s great at giving kids tasks,” says Nisbeth.

Although Kelly says she’s not doing anything special, that it’s a part of her job, in the eyes of her students they say otherwise.

“She makes learning fun,” says Jade Dowdy, student.

“On the days that I’m really struggling, I’ll read some of those kind notes from the parents saying you’re making a difference, so and so loves coming to your class, they love seeing you,” says Tenbarge. “And that just changes if you’re having a tough day that it matters.”

Not all heroes wear capes, in some cases teaching itself may be considered a superpower.

And what could seem like a lesson in art or technology, just might actually be a lesson in love.

“It just warms your heart to know that you were a small puzzle piece in their life in becoming an adult,” says Tenbarge.

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