Meet JCPS’ Exceptional Child Education Teacher of the Year

JCPS selects teacher of deaf children as Exceptional Child Education Teacher of the Year

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Some people work at jobs they seem destined to have.

You might say that’s the case for this year’s JCPS Exceptional Child Education Teacher of the Year.

Katie Fromholt teaches preschoolers at Heuser Hearing and Language Academy. The children are either deaf or hard of hearing.

“There’s such a language barrier,” she said. “It’s almost a second language to them. You have to teach them everything: Vocabulary, the speech sounds, what things are.”

Fromholt has been teaching at Heuser for 10 years. At just 5 years old, she knew she wanted to teach children with hearing loss. She even dressed up as a teacher.

“My mom was also a teacher of the deaf, so I grew up around kids who were deaf and hard of hearing, and found a love of helping them,” Fromholt said.

Six years ago, Fromholt delivered a little boy. Doctors soon discovered Brody had profound hearing loss. Genetic testing revealed Brody was born with Usher Syndrome.

“We were very shocked,” Fromholt said about her and her husband’s reaction. She said she went into “educator mode,” learning everything she could to help him, while her husband just wanted to hold him and love him.

At 15 months old, Brody got cochlear implants. Now, the educator of the deaf and hard of hearing understood what it was like to be a parent of a child with hearing loss.

“I know the struggles they go through, just like keeping hearing aids on a baby is hard in itself,” Fromholt said.

Brody, who has no problem talking with new friends, shows off the stickers on his device.

“Notre Dame and Alabama,” he said as he pointed to the stickers on his cochlear implants.

Since the age of 3, he’s been attending school with typically developing kids. He now goes to school at Clear Creek Elementary School in Shelbyville, Kentucky.

“We tell my friends about my processors,” Brody said.

It turns out, Brody taught his mother so much about teaching kids like him.

“I’ve set my expectations higher in my classroom with my kids,” Brody said.

Jackie June, with JCPS, said one reason Fromholt was chosen as this year’s ECE Teacher of the Year is because of the improvement of her kids.

“The progress by the end of the year is absolutely amazing,” June said.

June also said she credits Fromholt with going out of her way to assist parents and other Heuser teachers.

Her kids may not understand now the honor she just received. But perhaps in the future, they’ll realize the difference she made on their lives.

Fromholt said she hopes to pass the boards to become a National Board Certified Teacher for special education. This is the top rank in Kentucky for teachers.

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