Legacy Loves Gold Star
The way Kathy Marusarz became an educator mirrors her teaching style; non-traditional.
Once a national sales manager for Hyatt Hotels in Chicago, Marusarz embraced a career change six years ago when her family relocated to the Shreveport/Bossier area and she landed the job as a Special Education teacher at Legacy Elementary.
Marusarz calls it a “natural migration into education,” given both her mother and grandmother were teachers. It is a decision not once has she second-guessed.
“She’s like the child whisperer,” said Legacy Principal Pam Williamson. “I’ve never seen anything like it. She gets things out of children that others said wasn’t possible. We’re seeing miracles.”
Children that were never supposed to speak are now verbal. Others never expected to read are experiencing the love of literacy.
“For me, it’s the children. They are the core, the heart. Everything starts here and it goes from there,” Marusarz explained. “Sometimes it falls well within exactly what you’re supposed to do, sometimes it pushes the boundary. They (Legacy administration) have allowed me to stay out there when you need to for the kids’ benefit.”
Her efforts -- and successes -- are not lost on parents, either. A glowing letter from a student’s mother moved the judging panel that chose Marusarz as Bossier Schools’ Gold Star winner for April.
“I’m not even sure if it’s possible to put into words how our family feels about Mrs. Kathy Marusarz. As my son gets ready to head to Benton Middle next year, I can’t help but ponder how we are going to do it without Mrs. Marusarz!” the letter from Stephanie Noel began.
The letter continued, “Mrs. Marusarz is not just a Special Education teacher. She’s also a nurturer, a cheerleader, a counselor, a motivator and an advocate. She truly understands what her ‘children’ need and works extensively, tirelessly and unselfishly to get it for them (Even if they are no longer in her class). She makes sure that every child KNOWS that we ALL have gifts and we are ALL special. In her class, there are no labels, and there aren’t any ‘I CAN’Ts.’”
Noel calls Marusarz her family’s “guardian angel,” adding she knows they are not alone in saying that.
“My child may forget the academic lessons he learned while he was with her, but he will never forget the love and compassion she’s shown him and the other students,” Noel concluded. “She is truly one of a kind, and I would love to see her honored before he leaves Legacy.”
Thunderous applause and cheers erupted in Legacy’s gymnasium when Marusarz was surprised with the Gold Star employee award. You can see it here. All the while, she downplayed her role, heaping praise on others rather than herself.
“I really don’t think that it’s me. It’s a totality of what we offer here,” Marusarz offered. “The kids do really well at this school because of our teachers. It’s a really neat place to be. It’s friendly, it’s open, it’s loving. It gives them an environment they feel safe in and they develop and I think it’s just a natural process.”
While there is no magic formula for the strides students in Marusarz’s class have made, she simply credits it as love and acceptance.
“That really is the most important,” she added. “You establish that and you can start moving into other areas. But these children particularly, they don’t have the same tool chest that a lot of children have, so they’re reaching from different places. You have to love them, you have to accept them, and they can access what they have. But they have to feel like it’s okay.”
It is easy to see why Marusarz is called the “child whisperer” and “our guardian angel.” Don’t tell her that, though.
“I’m the luckiest. We laugh, we cry every day. There’s always something really incredible going on with these children, because they are difficult on their best days and they achieve something every single day.”
Bossier Schools is also lucky to have an exemplary teacher like Kathy Marusarz making a difference each day in the lives of the children in her care. Congratulations to our Gold Star!
Editor’s Note: Know a Bossier Parish Schools employee who deserves a Gold Star? Nominate them by going to http://bit.ly/2cZB4XX or www.bossierschools.org and clicking on the Gold Star icon. The deadline to nominate someone for our last Gold Star award of the 2016-17 school year is Friday, May 5.