Boise State College of Education and the Lee Pesky Learning Center will continue the annual tradition of honoring inspirational K-12 teachers with the Pesky Award for Inspirational Teaching at the university’s winter commencement ceremony on December 17. This year marks the 12th year the award will be presented.
Loren Bailly, a learning coach at Taft Elementary in Boise, is one of two recipients this year. Bailly has been part of the Boise School district for over 28 years. She attended Boise schools from kindergarten through 12th grade as a student and has been teaching at Taft Elementary since 2007. She taught a year of kindergarten, 12 of 3rd grade and two years of a 3rd and 4th grade combo class. She is currently serving as the learning coach, switching from her own classroom to student-centered learning for all classrooms at Taft.
Bailly said she became “truly inspired to continue my pursuit of becoming a teacher through the love of learning passed on to me through teachers in my life.” Loren’s mom, Dr. Kelly Cross, is both a former teacher and professor in the College of Education, and Bailly grew up hearing from her classmates about the impact her mom had on their learning. Bailly said, “I knew how amazing she was, but hearing it from my peers and how much they loved learning from her was one more push for me to continue on my journey to become a teacher.”
Taft Elementary principal, Tim Lowe, said Bailly is an “exemplary educator in every sense of the word. In her 16 years at Taft, she has embedded herself in virtually every aspect of the school. It is common to see former students come to hug her on a daily basis, and many of them still identify her as their ‘favorite teacher’ years after leaving her classroom. She goes well out of her way to connect with families. She frequently attends athletic games, musical performances, and other extracurricular activities in order to support her students. She has even attended weddings (and funerals) of former students. Parents treat her like she’s a part of their family.”
In addition to teaching, Bailly has served as a mentor teacher and a liaison-in-residence for Boise State teacher education students.
Regarding her contributions to Boise State Teacher Education programs and students, Lowe said Bailly was a “remarkable liaison-in-residence for several years. In that capacity, she mentored dozens of student interns and student teachers that completed their professional year at Taft. Much to her credit, nearly all of them are currently teaching classrooms of their own. Her guidance and support were invaluable to those students as they navigated their early experiences in the classroom and learned their craft.”
“During my time at Taft, working with others in the Boise District, and through my work with Boise State, I have continued to be inspired to be the best educator I can be,” said Bailly. “I am so thankful for the many wonderful colleagues and friends I have had the opportunity to work with over the last 15 years.”
Alan and Wendy Pesky founded the Lee Pesky Learning Center in 1997 in honor of their son Lee, who passed away in 1995 at age 30 from a brain tumor. As a child, Lee had to learn skills to overcome processing dysgraphia, a problem with organizing letters, numbers and words on a line or page. The nonprofit center, headquartered in Boise, serves mainly children and some adults with learning disabilities, as well as those from economically challenged homes. The center also provides educational services for Idaho teachers.