One In A Million: September 2023: Kelly Haunschild


Name: Kelly Haunschild

School: Thew Elementary Schools

Grade(s) you teach: Kindergarten

How many students in your class(es) this academic year?  Currently 22

How long have you been a teacher?  I’ve been in education for 21 years.

What made you get into the teaching profession?  My aunt was a second grade teacher and I worked in her class a lot while growing up and enjoyed helping kids and seeing the growth they made in an academic year.

Who was your most inspirational teacher and why?  In 5th grade I asked my parents if I could switch schools, I was a very shy kid and wasn’t happy where I was going to school.  They found a non-traditional school where you had 4 different teachers in a large pod and they all worked together to help us succeed.  The love and passion they showed us is what makes them stand out, even 30+ years after having them.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges teachers in Arizona face right now?  Class sizes.  If we could lower class sizes, teachers could give more attention to individual students.

How do these issues affect your day to day?  The more students you have, the more time it takes after school to make positive phone calls or address concerns from the day.

What does the $250 tax deduction for school supplies for teachers mean to you?  I usually spend well over $250 dollars and the tax break doesn’t really bring my taxes down much.

How are the expectations of becoming a teacher different from reality?  I went to school over 20 years ago, and got my masters 2 years ago.  In school, they do not prep teachers for EVERYTHING involved in teaching.  They prep teachers with how to teach, but little time in college is spent on how to deal with student behavior problems and ways we can address that when the class sizes are so large.

Why do you think teachers burn out so quickly?  Teaching is on of the hardest jobs, it never stops.  Even when laying in bed, you’re thinking about a student or a parent email.  I think teachers care so much and get very overwhelmed with how much energy this job requires.  I also believe class sizes and student behaviors are a huge factor.  I see teachers leave the profession every year because they don’t feel supported.

Do you typically feel appreciated and recognized as a teacher?  To be completely honest, no.  I feel like teachers put in so much work and each year are asked to add more and more to their plate without the proper recognition or appreciation show to them.

What “fills your cup” when you’re running on empty?  For me, it’s the little things at school that “fill my cup”.  A student finally having that “ah ha” moment.  Or something as simple as a kindergartener interrupting my lesson just to say he loves me.  It’s these little moments that keep me going!  Or when a previous student who is now in high school comes to say hello!  One day a previous student presented me with her dental certificate and said if it wasn’t for me, she would have never gotten that.  That’s what keeps me going.

What are some of the most thoughtful & effective ways parents & the community can show gratitude?  Words!  A simple note or letter means so much.  Just telling us why we are appreciated.

What is your wish for Arizona’s children?  I want Arizona’s children to be happy and healthy as they navigate their way through their educational experiences.  I want them to feel loved and valued as they learn new ideas that they can apply in the real world.

What additional support or supplies do you need in your classroom & who do people contact if they want to help out?  This year we are focused on literacy improvement.  A few items that we could use are sheet protectors, laminating pouches, white board markers, colored paper.  People can contact me at or my personal email at

What types of items/prizes are meaningful to you to win/be gifted?  I typically enjoy gift cards that we can use on our own time!  Target or Starbucks!

What is/are your FAVORITE….

  • Color? Red, Black
  • Food/restaurant?  Vietnamese and Thai
  • Music/group/artist? Taylor Swift
  • Sport/athletics team? Soccer
  • Pastime/hobby? Reading and sewing

You will be able to see and support Mrs. Haunschild as a part of our Feel Like a Million Dollars competition this year.  The winner of the competition will be announced in our annual fundraiser, which takes place in July!

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Growing the Tree

Million Dollar Teacher Tree was first developed in a classroom by students in a program called, Next Generation Service Corps at Arizona State University in December of 2017. These students were tasked by Lloyd Hopkins, founder of Million Dollar Teacher project with developing a project that can potentially become an integral part in helping MDTP achieve its mission. The group eventually developed the original prototype for Million Dollar Teacher Tree—a cutout dollar sign that would be placed in surrounding businesses near the partner school. The idea was pitched to staff members of MDTP during the last of their class, and the project was picked up by MDTP as a new pilot program for the organization. After many months of planning, the prototype was eventually revamped into what it is today, Million Dollar Teacher Tree.

Golden Apple

These apples are intended to provide any sort of Professional Development which, in turn, gifts them with key knowledge to add to their personal skill-set to better work with their students.

As educators, teachers are constantly looking to continually grow in their profession to not only learn how to better connect with their students, but to also make the learning experience much more exciting.

Suggested donation amount range: $10 – $100

Red Apple

These apples are designed to provide the typical day-to-day items in the classroom. Teachers spend can spend upwards of $1,000 out of pocket to have enough supplies yearlong for their students– to alleviate this, the Red Apples were created.

Everyday school supplies include; pencils, notebooks, crayons, hand sanitizer, etc.

Green Apple

These apples are intended to provide a big-ticket item for the teachers. These supplies are typically something that the teachers can use for more than one school year.

Examples include; a class-set of computers or new furniture for the classroom.

Suggested donation amount: $500+