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Teachers of the Year

By Wayne Clark

Valley Times-News News Editor

LaFAYETTE — Fairfax Elementary School first grade teacher Misty Letson is the Chambers County School District’s elementary level “Teacher of the Year” for the 2017-18 school year, and Valley High 9th grade science teacher Tamara French is the secondary level’s “Teacher of the Year.”

The announcements were made at Wednesday afternoon’s monthly meeting of the Chambers County Board of Education.

Letson and French were chosen for the honors from a field of eleven candidates, each one representing a Chambers County school.

In addition to Letson and French, the school winners included Thneasha Crawl, Bob Harding-Shawmut Elementary; Joy Yates, LaFayette Lanier Elementary; Ashley Jennings, Huguley Elementary, Marsha Odle, Eastside Elementary, Cynthia Jackson, Five Points Elementary, Latisha Mangram, W.F. Burns Middle School, Charity Kee, J.P. Powell Middle School, Kaprice Smith, LaFayette High, and Joshua Bryan, Chambers County Career Technical Center.

A panel of former Teachers of the Year, parents and local citizens decided the two winners. “I’m glad I didn’t have to sit on that panel,” Dr. Hodge said. “I’m sure it was very, very difficult to pick two winners from this outstanding group of teachers.”

Prior to the announcement, board members, central office staff, the teachers and their families watched a video presentation featuring each school’s Teacher of the Year.  The principal of the school introduced their representative and talked about what made them a good teacher.

Fairfax Elementary Principal Fran Groover described Letson as “phenomenal.” It’s not unusual, she said, for her former first graders to come by and visit with her. Parents like to come by and visit, too, and to thank her for having had a very good influence  on their child.

Valley High Principal Sherry Ashe said that French’s science classes are never boring, that she had a way of engaging her students  and making the study of biology fun.

French said that what satisfies her most about teaching are those moments when she sees that spark light up in a student’s eye. “It lets me know that they’ve learned something,” she said.

“It truly is an honor for us to have teachers like this in our system,” Dr. Hodge said. “These teachers, and many more, do great work in the classroom. Our students are fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from them.”

“I want to congratulate all of you,” said Board Member Judy LaFollette. “I think we are in good hands.”