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Westport Teacher Found Calling in Classroom

WESTPORT, Conn. – Teaching may be the only career Westport educator Karrie Sadler knows. But after 20 years in the field, there's no doubt in her mind that it's what she was meant to do.

Sadler, who was named Westport Teacher of the Year for 2012 at the start of the school year, said she was bitten by the teaching bug during her undergraduate career, thanks to one of her professors.

"I was a history major, and this professor of mine, he really inspired me because of the way he taught," said Sadler, a fifth-grade teacher at Greens Farms School. "My life changed the moment I felt I wanted to do that."

After she graduated with bachelor's degree in history, Sadler said she could have easily become a history teacher. But she decided to pursue a master's in elementary education from Southern Connecticut State University.

"It chose me," she said of why she pursued the elementary tract. "I have a lot of nieces and nephews, and I knew I wanted to work with kids."

Sadler started her career at a private school in Bridgeport. From there, she has taught at schools in Stamford and New York City. She has spent the last seven years in Westport — three years at Kings Highway School and four at Greens Farms.

Although Sadler's not new to Greens Farms, this is her first year teaching fifth-graders. Throughout her career, she has taught all elementary grade levels, except fourth grade. It's this constantly changing environment that she loves most about teaching.

"One of my favorite things about this job is it's never the same. Every year, I get a new set of students, minds and spirits that are eager to learn," she said. "And education itself is always changing. You can't get bored."

Although the constant change is what she enjoys the most, Sadler also said it can also be the most challenging aspect of teaching — both emotionally and mentally.

At the end of each year, Sadler said it's always sad to say goodbye to the students. And because educational methods are "constantly evolving," teachers must stay up-to-date on the best practices by attending conferences, workshops and classes.

Nevertheless, Sadler said she doesn't see herself doing anything else. "I love what I do. It's never felt like a job, job — it's a calling," she said. "I really feel like I'm making a difference."

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