Fifty Years a Teacher


This year marks Winters ISD’s Fran Kidwell’s fiftieth year in education. Now a pre-K through grade 5 music teacher, Kidwell has taught at Winters Elementary for 30 years – touching the lives of multiple generations of families, as she’s now teaching the children of her former students.

A former reading teacher, Mrs. Kidwell believes passionately in the whole language approach to reading and incorporates those skills into her music class. “She starts with our 3 year olds singing rhymes and pointing out how and why words rhyme,” says her principal Kari Calcote. “She works with them on left and right, words making up sentences and following words with songs. She reads big books with students and makes class books with the kids.”

While music is the primary focus of her class, art, play, and performance are also integral parts of the Winters Elementary music program. Kidwell ensures that her students are exposed to these different dynamics each time they come to the music room. Every one of her students participates in her legendary choir programs that, according to Calcote, “have delighted the community for years.”

“Everything she does is through movement, music and play so the kids are always engaged,” Calcote says. “She also does so much to build self-esteem. She’s always holding students to high expectations and praising them when they meet those expectations.” Kidwell’s UIL Music Memory students annually exceed those expectations by winning their meets.

Calcote praises Mrs. Kidwell as a mentor master teacher for her entire staff. “Fifty years in education and still passionate and willing to learn,” she says of Kidwell. “It’s obvious that she always considered her career not just a profession but a ministry that has influenced so many kids.”