A Gillette Kindergarten teacher has been named as the Wyoming Teacher of the Year for 2018.

Sara Reed comes from a family of educators and teaches Kindergarten at Hillcrest Elementary School, where she has been teaching for more than a decade.

Among her achievements was the development of the Kindergarten Mentor Program, which pairs each kindergartner with a 6th grader at the start of the school year to ease the transition into school.

The buddies eat lunch together every day for the first month of school and then the last Friday of every month. The kindergarten and 6th-grade teachers work together to arrange times for the buddies to get together to work on a variety of projects, ranging from holiday projects to educational games.

Mrs. Reed matches the students on the basis of interest, gender, and culture, making sure ELL (English language learners) have a 6th-grade student who can speak their home language to them.

The Wyoming Teacher of the Year is named by the National Teacher of the Year Program, which is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, sponsored by Voya Financial, Inc. As Teacher of the Year for 2018, Mrs. Reed will serve as an education ambassador for the state.

She will also automatically be nominated for the title of National Teacher of the Year for 2018.