Chambers County BOE awards nominated educators

Published 8:36 pm Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Every year, each school in Chambers County selects one teacher on staff as the Teacher of the Year. At their meeting Wednesday night, the Chambers County Board of Education awarded those teachers and revealed who out of them won the outstanding elementary and secondary teacher awards.

“The Teacher of the Year is selected by a panel of different people,” said Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hodge. “They look at their teaching strategies, their innovation, letters of recommendation written by students, parents and from colleagues. A lot of different data goes into the selection process.”

Before they were recognized and given plaques for their accomplishments, a video was shown to the educators featuring the principal of each school explaining why they deserved such commendation. The teachers who won Teacher of the Year, in no particular order, were Mary Ann Daves of Eastside Elementary, Jill Romine of J.P. Powell Middle School, Willonda Caffie of Fairfax Elementary, Mary Anne Spence of Five Points Elementary,  Kelly Mezick of W.F. Burns Middle School, Courtney Peacock of Shawmut Elementary, Jennifer Williams of Career Tech, Sherrie Taylor of Huguley Elementary, Precious White-Jordan of LaFayette High School, Toni Shaddix of Valley High School and Yolandria Rachel of LaFayette-Lanier Elementary.

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The winner of Outstanding Elementary Teacher of the Year for the entire school system was Taylor.

“If you walk into her classroom, you will feel the nurturing, loving, fun environment,” said Hodge of Taylor. “The kids love her, the parents love her and her co workers love her.”

Taking home the prize for district-wide Secondary Teacher of the Year was Shaddix who said the award meant more to her as she is in her retiring year.

“Every year we have students who come back to us and say things like ‘the reason I did well in college was because of her, because she has such high rigorous standards for us.” Hodge said.

Following the awards ceremony, one returning and one new member of the board of education were sworn in. Newcomer LaShae Herring filled the seat of six-year board member Judy La Follette.

“It has been a great six years for me,” LaFollette said. “It has been phenomenal. It is with mixed feelings that I am leaving, but this is a great group of people.”

Jeffrey Finch was also sworn in, retaining his position on the board.

Also decided for the 2018-19 school year was the president and vice president of the school board.

With unanimous votes for each, Bill Martin and Mary Terry retained their respective positions.

The rest of the meeting was filed with routine actions, including the approval of personnel changes, monthly payroll and state field trips. The strategic plan for the year was discussed with Hodge putting an emphasis on the work that has been done and will be continued in improving the safety of every county school.

The next meeting of the Chambers County Board of Education will be held on Dec. 19.