Year Honored: 1993Hazard Elementary School
At the time of the Award, Kristine Whitford-Bell was:Teacher
South Kingstown High School
Subject(s) taught: General Elementary
Grade(s): Pre-K, K
Kristine Whitford-Bell teaches pre-kindergarten and kindergarten inclusion students at Hazard School in Wakefield. Previously, she taught severely disabled students at Wakefield's South Kingstown High School, where she was motivated to "reshape views towards those with disabilities" and became a fervent advocate of mainstreaming. "We are all the same in that we are all different from each other," she said. Whitford-Bell taught living and working skills to ease her students' transition into gainful employment. "From experiencing a ride on a plane, to staying in a hotel with their friends, to ordering for themselves in a restaurant with their peers as role models; this I feel is the ultimate fun and learning environment upon which to grow," she said. She wants her students to leave school with every possibility to "remain in an inclusive environment instead of a segregated one." She was named South Kingstown Teacher of the Year in 1989, and received numerous grants from the Rhode Island Department of Education on Inclusion, Transition and Vocational Programs.