Kathy Lynn Cedoz is a retired elementary educator with a career spanning almost four decades of service to her students, community and profession. As a child, Ms. Cedoz idolized her mother, a first-grade classroom teacher who had spent more than 35 years in the educational field. She remembers growing up with her mother’s career “always in the back of her mind,” and was once invited to demonstrate a visual arts project for her mother’s class, which was a formative experience. While growing up, Ms. Cedoz enjoyed learning and going to school, and she wanted to be able to pass the same feeling along to other students by becoming a teacher.
After high school, Ms. Cedoz enrolled at the National College of Education, now a division of National Louis University, graduating in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts. She remained at the school for an additional year of postgraduate study, earning a Master of Arts in 1972. Shortly after completing her studies, she began teaching at the elementary level, joining the staff at McKenzie Elementary School. She would remain at McKenzie Elementary School for the remainder of her educational career, guiding 39 years of students through the unique demands and rewards of early childhood education. Ms. Cedoz credits her success to the tight-knit school community, explaining that she could not imagine teaching without the support and encouragement of her fellow staff members and her students’ parents.
While Ms. Cedoz treasures her time in the classroom, she considers it among her greatest accomplishments to have maintained friendships with some of her former students, including two who eventually returned to McKenzie Elementary School to teach. Her lifelong motto is “pay it forward,” and she emphasizes that the greatest difference that someone can make in the life of another person is to show kindness and help them through support and inspiration. In her retirement, Ms. Cedoz sponsors food for her area homeless shelter once a month, and remains active in the larger community. In recognition of her commitment to her students and to education as a discipline, she has been nominated several times for inclusion in Who’s Who in Teaching.