If someone has a question about technology at Westwood Elementary, rest assured Rebecca Palmatary will be called on to answer it. She’s the unofficial technology expert for our school, but officially she is the Gifted Resource teacher. Rebecca started her teaching career in Liberal, Kansas before coming to Westwood in 2006. Her tenure at Westwood has included assignments in Pre K, 4th grade and, since 2016, her current position. She is at the cutting edge of incorporating Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) into her classes to the benefit of students. “My students are always excited to go to Mrs. Palmatary’s class. She challenges them to think, question, wonder and reflect. She is truly inspiring to all her students,” said Marla Ruark, 3rd grade teacher.

Rebecca pushes the envelope as it relates to incorporating technology in her program, as well as, in after school technology classes. Each semester she has taken on several extra-duty assignments teaching technology. Her classes are in high demand typically filling within a day. She does her best to add sections so students don’t get turned away. Her after school offerings have included work with Google applications, robotics and coding. She hopes to expand those opportunities to include work with 3D printers and drones. This spring she will be offering for the first time at Westwood a girls’ coding class. She will be sourcing a curriculum from Girls Who Code, whose mission is to close the gender gap in technology. She’s also a prolific and effective grant writer having received several grants from such organizations as Devon Energy, Stillwater Public Education Foundation and Donors Choose.

Rebecca’s personal mission as a teacher is to expose her students to many, varied concepts so they can make connections to their passions and interests. She carries out her mission by building trusting relationships so her students feel safe to reach for their highest potential. She touches so many students in our school. In addition to providing enrichment and challenge to the 2nd-5th graders who are a part of her program, she is a key player in our overall school intervention period, What I Need (WIN). 

In addition to being an excellent teacher, she and her husband, Mark, are parents to four daughters. And as a family they own and operate a number of business ventures. She does an amazing job of maintaining balance in her family, career and businesses. 

Like so many great teachers she adds value to our school that goes beyond her position or extra duties. She has a heart for the Harvest II Food Drive, helping our school track donations as a school so we can see our progress toward feeding families. She assists with the filming of the weekly weather report that plays at our assemblies, and you can find her every afternoon serving as gatekeeper at the gym doors during dismissal. Rebecca is a valued friend, colleague, parent and teacher in our school. Joshua Li, 4th grader who has participated in Rebecca’s after school technology classes and is one of the students in her program said of her, “She is nice and always joyful.” And we are joyful to have her at Westwood!

Darren Nelson is the principal at Westwood Elementary School.