Triton’s teacher of the year always wanted to be a teacher
Ever since she was a child Katie Macrafic knew she wanted to be a teacher. “This is what I was meant to be,” the Triton kindergarten teacher said.
She has 21 years teaching experience, the last 19 teaching kindergarten at Triton. Her fellow Triton teachers agree and she has been chosen as Triton’s 2018-19 Teacher of the Year.
Growing up in Rochester, she wanted to be a teacher “from the get go.” As a child, she couldn’t wait until she was old enough to babysit. Aunts and older cousins who were teachers were her role models. Her mom worked in a craft shop and as she got older that gave her the chance to teach crafts.
She also had great teachers, she said.
She graduated from Rochester John Marshall High School and went on to get her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota, Duluth That’s earned a master’s degree from Winona State.
Her first teaching job was a one-year position in Rochester. The assistant principal at the school moved to Triton Elementary and through that connection Macrafic learned of an opening as a first grade teacher. After a year in that grade she switched to kindergarten where she has happily remained ever since.
After 20 years in the district she has had multiple students, and generations, of local families.
“l love knowing the families,” she said. “I love having that connection.”
She can tell a student, she said, that she had their cousins or siblings in her class. And sometimes she can tell them she had their mom or dad.
When she tells a student she knew their mom or dad or cousins or other family members it makes an instant connection with that student, she said.
While she said her students are always the top priority she has “dabbled” in other things during her years at Triton.
Two of her favorite activities, she said, include helping with the elementary school’s Veteran’s Day program and the various activities during “I Love to Read” month in February.
She is the co-leader of the school’s Hero anti-bullying program and most recently has been involved as a PBIS coach. PBIS, which means Positive Behavioral Intervention Strategies, is a new program being introduced this school year. Macrafic is one of eight teachers and staff members who have been receiving special training in the program and helping to implement it.
That has included being active in the “Golden Awards,” as well as the Hero awards program held each month to recognize students for behaving in a responsible manner.
She is also the kindergarten team leader, a member of the Teachers Assisting Teachers (TAT) team, a pre-kindergarten PLC leader, a member of the District Achievement Team, co-president of Triton Education MN and the lead negotiator for Triton Education MN.
As if those school duties are not enough to keep her busy, Macrafic and her husband, Brandon, who is principal at the Rochester Career and Technical Education Center, live in Kasson with their two children, sixth-grader Ellie and seventh-grader Henry.
Macrafic said she sees teaching as more than a job.
“It (teaching) is not just a job,” Macrafic said. “It’s how I choose to spend my life. “You can tell who goes into it as a job and those who love it.
“This is what I was meant to be,” she said.
As Triton’s Teacher of the Year she will be considered for Minnesota Teacher of the Year.