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Teacher in the Spotlight-Karen Kennedy Floyd

By Rachel Kelly|Photo by Emily Hubble Instagram- @sunlight.of.the.spirit

Karen Kennedy Floyd, English

Gig Harbor High School

Karen Kennedy Floyd teaches English and UWJS (University of Washington in High School) English 111 and 131 to grades nine through 12 at Gig Harbor High School. She has been teaching 41 years, beginning with fifth-graders in Sumner, then abroad to teach middle schoolers in Bad Toelz, Germany, in 1986. She returned to Gig Harbor to raise her children, and the rest (as they say) is history.

“The single most rewarding aspect of teaching English is getting to know my students and watching them discover their gifts, talents, abilities and passions,” says Karen. Teaching is pure joy for her. It is something that is fulfilling and deeply rewarding. Hers is a unique opportunity to make a lasting impact on the lives of others, and she makes the most of it.

Part of teaching UWHS English is to guide the “passion projects” of her students, which is a multi-faceted project that focuses on each student’s individual goals and gifts. Every year she additionally makes a point of impressing the importance of two things: Words and kindness matter. She does this by asking her students to think of a word that they would like to speak out throughout the year, even making a custom bracelet for each student stamped with their chosen word. Words can mean life and death for those around us, and the idea of asking her students to choose a word is to invoke intentionality in her classroom and in school.

Secondly, she feels that kindness can bring about change and strengthen the fabric of our community. She leads by example in this, as kindness is something that is experienced. “Focusing on the positive instills in students the understanding that kindness is not only a virtue but a powerful force.”

When Karen isn’t teaching, she is to be found spending time with her husband, her five children and their families (four grandchildren), and her friends. She has also written her first book as of 2019; “Where The Two Worlds Meet” is currently out of print except for some copies on Amazon. (Copies of Karen’s book are available if you email her directly at Her inspiration for the book was sparked by the birth of her grandchildren as well as her UWHS students.

Thank you, Karen, for leading in kindness as you shepherd our children. We are lucky to have you!

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Denny Luyis
Denny Luyis
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