Who are you and how did you get to SLLIS?
My name is Katie Uldall-Welch; I am a proud mother of three, a lover of the outdoors, and a goofball by nature. I do take my job VERY seriously, though. This is my first year as SLLIS’s Special Education Compliance Manager. I was first introduced to SLLIS during January of 2014 when I worked as a Special Education Compliance Consultant for the Missouri Charter Public School Association. I fell in love with the schools, the staff, the students, and the families, so I was terribly sad when my consultation with SLLIS came to an end. When I saw that SLLIS had an opening in Special Education, I applied within an hour of the job being posted! I was incredibly excited to apply for the job, and that excitement has not subsided. I’m still elated to be a member of the SLLIS team.
What drives you to work at a school/serve children?
I sort of fell into working with schools, but I can pinpoint the experience that turned my job into my passion. I was working for a high school in the city, and I had a student who was really struggling. His attendance was poor, he was skipping class to go to detention, and his grades were terrible. His teachers were beginning to see him as a lost cause, and the school began looking for an alternative setting for him to earn his diploma or G.E.D. This was my fourth year working with this particular student, and I was determined that he would walk across the graduation stage with his classmates. I worked closely with the student and his family to develop a plan to help him stay at the high school with his peers, and I stayed positive about his ability to succeed. I was thrilled to see that over time my positive attitude about this student had rubbed off on my fellow teachers; I had gone from being his only cheerleader in the school to being only one of many! He graduated with his class that spring. This experience demonstrated to me the power of positivity. What better place to wield the power of a positive spirit than in a school? Here, I have the opportunity to make a real difference for so many.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
I spend most of my time away from work with my three children, who are 4, 5, and 8 years old. Essentially, my life outside of work revolves around their preferred activities: going to the park, riding bikes, and watching “Dr. Who”. I recognize that this isn’t terribly exciting, but it’s the truth!
Describe your favorite meal.
I could eat vegetarian Indian food all day, every day. Pass the Navratan Korma! Finish it off with a slice of key lime pie, and I’m a very happy lady.
What are your hopes and dreams for SLLIS?
My dream for SLLIS is that every single student who walks through the school doors realizes his/her potential. My hope is that every child is given the individualized support that he or she needs to maximize academic and personal growth. Scratch that – these are more than hopes and dreams. These are goals, and I think SLLIS is getting closer to meeting them every day.