Kristen Fleury Wins Prestigious National Award from NSTA
Kristen receives her award from NSTA President Dr. Mary Gromko
It appears that Bellingham native Kristen Fleury has found her niche in life. Fleury, who graduated from Bellingham High in 2006, went on to graduate from Boston University four years later with a Bachelors in Communications. She started her career in the business world at a fashion-focused advertising agency called Toth & Co. and later moved on to the research and planning company Communispace. After just over five years, she decided it was time for a career change and in 2015 she became a teacher.
Apparently it was the right move, because Fleury, now an eighth-grade teacher at Pierce Middle School in Milton, won the Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award for New Teachers earlier this year. She’d been invited on a trip to Los Angeles to attend the annual conference of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)—one of the benefits of winning the award. During the conference, all award recipients were mentored and provided with various involvement and networking opportunities and activities.
"The chance to go on this trip was like winning the science-teaching lottery. Not only did I get a stipend to attend the conference and see what new trends were emerging in science education, but it being in L.A. really sweetened the deal," said Fleury.
Her principal at Pierce Middle School is Dr. Karen Spaulding, who said, “Kristen Fleury is without question the most talented novice teacher I have ever observed. In fact, she is one of the most talented educators, novice or veteran, I have ever observed.”
According to Dr. Spaulding, Fleury’s expertise and skill in supporting students with special needs in the science classroom is equally impressive. She said that Fleury is extremely dedicated to her students and works tirelessly on their behalf. Spaulding noted, “Fleury is deeply committed to her own professional development and is a teacher leader. She spends countless hours planning with her colleagues at the Pierce. In addition, she has been an active participant in the development of the Pierce Middle School science curriculum and has been a critical force in the development and implementation of common assessments in science.”
Fleury was honored at a special gala during the NSTA conference, the theme of which was “Sun, Surf & Science.” At NSTA conferences, teachers are exposed to the latest news in science content, teaching strategy and research to enhance and expand their professional growth. The annual conferences change cities every year and offer attendees a unique opportunity to collaborate with science education leaders and teaching peers.
Norfolk County Sherriff Michael Bellotti read about Fleury’s accomplishments and, in a letter to her, said, “I was so impressed to read about your great skills in getting the best out of special needs students. I got a sense of your high energy level just from the [Milton Times] article. I think all of us have teachers who really made an impression on us. They are remembered for the rest of our lives. You seem to be a teacher in that vein. Congratulations, and keep up the fantastic work.”
It seems that being an educator is in her DNA, so Kristen decided to follow in her parents’ footsteps. Her father is Edward (Butch) Fleury, former teacher, guidance counselor and then director, assistant high school principal (7 years) and then principal, retiring as superintendent of the Bellingham school system; her mother, Pauline Fleury, a math major who spent 25 years in the computer field, always had a desire to teach. She spent the 11 years prior to her recent retirement as a teacher of high school math.
“I must admit I was a tad surprised Kristen chose a career change because she was doing very well in the business world,” said Ed Fleury. “I am very pleased to see that she is so comfortable and successful in the field of education. Her future potential for growth and advancement is enormous, and I wish her nothing but the best. I look forward to seeing her help public education continue to succeed.”
Of her journey thus far, Kristen said, “I always wanted to teach when I was a kid. But you get to that age when you want to do anything but what your parents did, so I chose a different path. I'm really glad I did because I think that experience in the business world was invaluable in shaping me into the educator I am today.”
On June 4, Kristen just received a Master’s in Science Education from Cambridge College, with the added honor of being chosen to be the graduate commencement speaker at the ceremony.
"Kristen has always made me a very proud mother in all aspects of life,” said Pauline Fleury. “She never ceases to amaze me and always exceeds my expectations. The fact that she has received this national honor [as a second year teacher] and was selected as the commencement speaker for the Cambridge College commencement is a testament to her dedication and commitment to excel in whatever she does."
And for the storybook ending, Kristen and Andrew Fraine (son of Town Administrator Denis Fraine and Joyce Fraine) have plans to marry at the beginning of August.