One of the Fairfield school district’s own may be crowned on of the nation’s top teachers on “Live! With Kelly.”
Kristin Golia, a third grade teacher at and Stamford resident, is one of 12 nominees on “Live’s” third annual “Top Teacher Search.” Voting for the contest began Friday and continues through 3 p.m. Monday, April 30 -- visit the contest’s site to vote.
Golia was nominated by Fairfield resident Jessica Gerber. Golia (whose maiden name is Travis) was Gerber’s son Teddy’s third-grade teacher, the year Teddy was diagnosed with pediatric cancer.
“While his life, and our family’s life, was turned upside down, one person who stepped in and became a beacon of strength and normalcy was Kristin,” Gerber wrote in her letter nominating Golia to Live’s Top Teacher Search.
Though Teddy ended up missing 100 days of third grade (he was diagnosed with the rare, aggressive cancer just two months into the school year), he was still able to graduate from third grade on time thanks to Kristin, Gerber wrote.
“She volunteered to come to our house and tutor him whenever he was able. She sent home fun activities and books. She visited him in the hospital. She made videotaped greetings from Teddy's classmates and sent them to us. She was calm, caring, thoughtful and strong, and even though she was incredibly upset to see Teddy suffer, she never let him see it, and instead greeted him with a smile every day she saw him.”
Teddy relapsed in June 2010. Golia drove to Yale-New Haven hospital on the last day of school to deliver Teddy’s report card and a DVD that she and the school’s music teacher put together. The DVD showed messages of “love and support” from teachers and Teddy’s classmates, Gerber wrote.
Just two-and-a-half weeks after Teddy passed away in August 2010, his sister Gillian entered Golia’s third-grade class: “And again, she managed to help make an unbearable situation bearable,” Gerber wrote of Golia.
Gillian Gerber had a wonderful year in third grade, Gerber wrote, “Thanks in great part to Kristin’s guidance and support.”
When Golia was married in June 2011, she and her husband chose to make a charitable donation to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation -- which raised funds for pediatric cancer research -- in lieu of wedding favors.
“Kristin Golia is not even 30 years old yet, but she has a wisdom and gravity of someone much older,” Gerber wrote in the nomination letter. “She has the gift of being able to say and do the right thing in incredibly sensitive and painful circumstances, which when added to her abilities as a teacher, make her an exemplary human being, and someone I am so proud to know.”