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For our second interview, we spoke with Pearl Award Winner, Katie Turner-Lemons.

What’s your title and school location?

Board Certified Behavior Analysis (BCBA), District Office

How many years of teaching/experience?

10 years

What brought you to Salinas City Elementary School District?

Before joining SCESD, my experience had primarily been working with learners on the autism spectrum, and related disabilities, in the Central Valley. I have also always been passionate about working with at-risk youth and implementing preventative programming. The opportunity to work in a PBIS school district, with a variety of kiddos and a strong support team, inspired me to apply. I hope to make a difference in the lives of the learners in our district, especially those impacted by hardships.

What keeps you motivated and inspired on a daily basis?

I am motivated daily by the learners that we work with. Their progress and successes fill me with joy and their challenges inspire me to be better, more creative, and to keep trying.

What does your award mean to you?

I feel that this award is a reflection of my fabulous team of behavior intervention specialists (Behavior Jedis) that show up to work every day with a smile, positive attitude, and desire to change lives, despite working with some of the toughest behaviors. They are incredible!

What is the most gratifying thing about your job?

The best thing ever is when the data shows that a learner has made progress and no longer needs our support and/or graduates from our program.  

Any advice for new educators?

Some sayings that we have in our team are:

- "Ocean breath" = We say this whenever things get really tough and we need to take a break.

- "Q-TIP" = Quit Taking It Personally. Kids that need the most love, ask for it in the most unloving ways.

- "Pull the thread" = Things aren't always as they seem.