Educator’s closet a gold mine for teachers |

Educator’s closet a gold mine for teachers

by Maggie O'Neill
Fremont Elementary School kindergarten teacher Eileen Plummer loads up on supplies at the Educator's Closet. The closet, which offers teachers an array of supplies, moved to its new location behind the Gleason complex. Rick Gunn Nevada Appeal

Joe Clark just couldn’t pull himself away.

The seventh- and eighth- grade Carson Middle School science teacher bounded around the Carson City School District Educator’s Closet recently like a kid in a candy store.

“I think this is excellent,” he said, adding a Solar System mobile to a pile of egg cartons, bathroom passes and light bulbs he was taking back to his classroom. “This is all very useful. I’m glad people are willing to donate out of the goodness of their hearts.”

The Educator’s Closet, comprising donations from the community and available to teachers free, is in a new location on Musser Street, right behind the school district’s professional development center.

“This is a better spot,” said Educator’s Closet coordinator Kristi Pulizzotto. “Teachers from all over the district come here for training.”

When they do, they are shown the Educator’s Closet, which is in a modular building behind the Gleason complex.

That’s how Fremont Elementary School kindergarten teacher Eileen Plummer came upon it.

“I’d heard about it, but in all honesty, I didn’t know where it was,” she said leaning over and picking up materials she had collected earlier while on break from the center: a farm puzzle, sponge stamps, red rulers, little toys, story strips and Christmas bulbs.

“I think this is great. Teachers spend so much money on materials and supplies for their classrooms. It’s really nice to be able to come here for materials you need.”

Educator’s Closet, in its seventh year, is available through a grant from the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection that pays the administrative costs.

“This is a recycling center,” Pulizzotto said. “We’re recycling items from the community that would be typically thrown away.”

That includes shelves of bright colored fabrics piled one on top of another, fabrics from which Empire Elementary School music teacher Christina O’Neil made costumes for the fourth-grade play, “Elfis and the Sleigh-Riders.”

Fabrics such as fur for reindeers and white and gold shimmery materials for Elfis, an elfish Elvis.

“Honestly, I don’t know what I would’ve done without the Educator’s Closet because we don’t have a budget for this kind of thing,” O’Neil said. “I probably would’ve had the kids wear things from home or maybe borrow things. This has allowed me to start a costume closet so year after year, we have things to pull from.”

O’Neil’s costume closet will be full due to business and community people who donate items they no longer need: cloth, binders, colored paper, calculators and even egg cartons.

“Teachers can use just about anything,” Pulizzotto said. “They’re very creative.”

Both Harley-Davidson and Griffin House Apartments in Carson made substantive donations recently. Anyone else wishing to make tax-deductible donations should call Kristi at 283-1513.

“Don’t dump it. Donate it,” she said.

Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at mo’ or 881-1219.


What: Carson City School District educator’s closet

Where: 604 W. Musser St., behind the Gleason building

When: Open from 1:30-5 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and from 8-11:30 a.m. the first Saturday of each month.

Needed: Everything, including colored paper, stickers and binders

Call: Kristi at 283-1513.

A small sampling of materials from the educator’s closet:

• Pens, scissors, notebooks, folders, videotapes, bows, books, film canisters, string, yard, paintbrushes, posters, beads, index cards


What: The “Elfis and the Sleigh-riders” play at Empire Elementary School and the fifth-grade band concert

Where: 1260 Monte Rosa Dr., Carson City

When: 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 13 Dec. 13

Cost: Free

Information: Music director Christina O’Neill at the school at 283-1100.

Chances to win:

• A Dell computer, including hard drive, monitor, keyboard and speakers will be given away to the person who finds the blue dice hidden at the Educator’s Closet.

• Win a portable DVD player. Each item donated through Feb. 28, 2005, earns a chance for the prize.