SPW’s beloved Kel Pittman
The sad news will have made its way through the community that our beautiful friend, colleague and SPW’s beloved teacher Kel Pittman, passed away this week.
Kel first became a part of the St Peter’s Woodlands community when her daughter Mollie enrolled at SPW in 2011, followed by her son Tom in 2013. She later started working as a teacher at SPW in 2014, and fast became a much loved member of the SPW community, amongst parents and staff.
Kel was known to be a kind, passionate and fiercely loyal friend who made lasting imprints on both colleagues and students. She had a sixth sense for caring for others and was able to support both co-workers and students with exceptional kindness. She was open-minded to new ideas and approaches to learning and always seemed to have plans A through to Z.
As a teacher, Kel was best known for her ability to have a book for every situation. If something was to be taught, Kel had a book that would suit. Whether it was How many seeds in a Pumpkin? for groupings in maths to Possum Magic to encourage creativity and exploration, Kel had a book.
In 2005 Kel, along with the AISSA team, led a one-year literacy project. A former SPW colleague described it as transformative. Kel’s enthusiasm and passion for ‘inspiring a love of literacy’ continues to be a voice heard, some 18 years later.
A love of literature, a love of sharing story and a fierce determination to ensure language and literacy was accessible to all children was what Kel lived and breathed. Kel’s resource folder from 2005 stands the test of time.
Kel was also an exceptional relationship builder, a master crafter of care, building long-lasting and positive memories for hundreds of grateful students.
After Kel was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the community instantly rallied around Kel and her family, a reflection of the many strong relationships she forged with so many here at SPW.
Kel showed extraordinary strength and courage throughout her fight with cancer. As a community we were astounded by her determination to ensure other women and girls were educated about ovarian cancer through the constant campaigning and work she did as an Ambassador of Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.
Her input continues to shape how the message of awareness is spread and guides research into treatments. Kel’s willingness to turn her personal experience into an open campaign to raise awareness and funds means the SPW Community, and beyond, know at least some of the important facts about the disease.
Such was Kel’s impact on her students, that when the pandemic hit and she was directed to self isolate, her students, completely of their own accord, showed their support by creating a poster for Kel. Similarly, when the pandemic impacted plans for an OCRF fundraiser lunch, the parent community came together and put together a surprise video for Kel to ensure the opportunity to get the message out there was not missed.
These are just a few examples of how much Kel meant to the community. I think we would all agree, what the community gave to Kel, she gave back in spades.
As we farewell our extraordinary friend, colleague and teacher we reflect on the lasting legacy she has gifted to us. The school will honour Kel and her OCRF work by continuing to participate in the annual White Shirt Campaign. A Year 3 and 4 student ‘Kel Pittman Avid Reader Award’ will be included as part of SPW’s awards night from this year onward. Over the coming months, the school will come together to work out a meaningful way to honour Kel and all she meant to us and the school. We will share more of these details with the community as they come to light.
We send our love and prayers to Mark, Mollie and Tom as they navigate this devastating time, and wish them, peace, comfort and courage.