“I became a sponge for knowledge and soaked up everything about child development, relational capacity, teaching and classroom management,” Budd said. “My talents were patience, empathy, teaching and a dedication to growing the minds of the future.”

PS_TOY_PageWhen students enter Debbie Budd’s second-grade classroom at Purple Sage Elementary School, they’re met with a smiling face, a handshake and friendly greeting. Before any book is opened, the class shares stories about their evenings or weekends in an effort to create a family environment.

Budd has been selected as the 2017 Teacher of the Year for Purple Sage. Budd, who has been an educator for 13 years, has taught second grade at Purple Sage for three years.

Education wasn’t Budd’s first career venture. As a college graduate, she had dreams of becoming a high-earning accountant that could support her whole family. But she soon found that her calling was far beyond the business world as she left her first career to raise her children and eventually work in a church nursery, Budd said. It was in the nursery that she found her first classroom and a passion to continue in an education career.

“I became a sponge for knowledge and soaked up everything about child development, relational capacity, teaching and classroom management,” Budd said. “My talents were patience, empathy, teaching and a dedication to growing the minds of the future.”

Budd is a strong proponent in the Capturing Kids Hearts Program, which tasks teachers to develop relationships with students on a personal level and develop a trusting classroom where students feel comfortable taking risks with learning.

“A teacher gives a child the tools that enable them to become a better problem solver, a confident speaker, a compassionate individual and a great negotiator,” Budd said. “I try and teach my students all about the world and the environment we live in. I tell them that they will be the next generation of people who will grow up to find cures for diseases and create solutions to stop poverty.

Budd is described by her peers as a kind-hearted and special leader, Purple Sage Principal Sara Nelson said. Budd serves as a second-grade team leader, a member of the Capturing Kids Hearts Process Champions Team, and as a mentor teacher.

“Debbie is a collaborative educator that strives to grow her craft,” Nelson said. “She is a hardworking, thoughtful educator with patience for individual students. Her need to give attention to specific student needs is met with a willingness to do whatever it takes to allow each student’s successes to be celebrated.”