Barbara_Stepp_smBarbara Stepp utilized animals, music, her own modeling and class tasks to entertain and train her Balfour kindergarten students.

She taught at Balfour from 1979, until it ceased as an elementary in 2002, then for two years at new Clear Creek before retiring. She livened up her classes, illustrating what she taught through sight and sound. She dressed up as the color of the day. She instructed through songs with rhyme and rhythm. She notes that in absorbing music “you use both sides of your brains.”

Most fun, students recall, was playing with farm animals she brought to class such as a pot-bellied pig that rumbled from courtyard to their room and squealed to be fed, or pygmy goat that jumped on tables to “tap dance.” She noted both “children and animals are truthful.” And quick learners. Responsibility emerged, as students cared for the critters.

“Barbara was a real ‘diamond in the rough,’ and blessed with a special love for young children and an extraordinary gift of creativity,” longtime Balfour principal Corum Smith said. He said from her eagerness to “think outside the box, to explore new approaches … her classroom became a beehive of exciting, creative and wonderful opportunities.”

2010 Education Hall of Fame