EAST ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Congratulations to this week’s Golden Apple winner — Kim Burns! 

Mrs. Burns has been teaching at East Rochester Elementary School for more than three decades. Her desire to be an educator started at a young age.  

“I’ve known since I was about 9-years-old that I wanted to be a teacher. I had incredible teachers growing up,” Burns said. 

While Burns taught kindergarten for a year, the rest of her time has been spent teaching first grade.  

“It’s the year that they make the most progress in reading and we see so much growth. They become very independent during the year first grade and they’re so enthusiastic,” Burns said. 

Elaine Fitzgerald, a substitute teacher at the elementary school, has worked with Burns for a while and calls her an “exceptional” teacher.

“She’s a very kind, generous person,” Fitzgerald said. “She’s really well-liked by her peers and she is loved by her students, and she’s just so friendly and easygoing. The kids don’t feel intimidated if they get a wrong answer. She encourages them to try again.”

Fitzgerald added that Burns always has very detailed plans and it’s easy to sub for her because she has everything prepared and ready to go.

“She has helped me out in many situations when I’ve had problems with the computer, and she very graciously and patiently helps me. Believe me, I have no computer skills, so I really appreciate her patience,” Fitzgerald said. 

Administrative Assistant Terrie Koch said Burns taught all three of her kids, who are now in their 30s. She said she will “forever be grateful” for Mrs. Burns. 

“She’s a wonderful lady. She’s calm. She’s beautiful, and she’s got a beautiful heart,” Koch said. “I was very lucky that all three kids had her as a teacher.”

But now, after 32 years of teaching, Mrs. Burns is retiring at the end of the year.

Before she leaves, Fitzgerald wanted to make sure she was recognized for all her efforts, which is why she nominated her for a Golden Apple Award through News 8.

“She has put in so many years of her life and dedicated herself to education, that I thought it would be a nice honor,” Fitzgerald said. 

Upon receiving the award, Burns said she was “speechless.”

“I don’t like being put on the spot like this. I don’t like being the center of attention,” she laughed. “Mrs. Fitzgerald herself is a retired teacher and she’s been phenomenal taking care of all of us all these years.”

As Mrs. Burns prepares to leave, she said she hopes she’s taught her students how important an education is and how far it can take you in life.

“Keep that love of learning. Keep it exciting,” she said. “It’s not all about the books, it’s about life lessons as well.”

Kim Burns teaching first grade students at East Rochester Elementary School

Congratulations to Mrs. Burns! Thank you for all you’ve done for our community and its students. We hope you enjoy retirement.  

If you know a teacher you’d like to nominate for a Golden Apple Award, you can find nomination forms here.