Chamber hands out teacher awards

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 23, 2019

­­VALLEY — Thursday night was a big night for education in Chambers County as several educators and support staff were honored for their role in shaping the minds of today’s youth.

There were 18 awards handed out by the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce but more than 100 were named finalists in multiple categories.

Chamber President Bill Gladden announced the awards as each winner walked to the stage to receive their award presented by the Chamber’s Marketing and Events Manager Carrie Royster.

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“We are here to honor the unsung heroes in the classrooms, the halls and the offices and the buses,” Gladden said before handing out the awards. “The men and woman who risk their sanity every day to try and push education.”

Also before the awards, the educators in the room were treated to a guest speaker and former educator who tried to warm up the room with laughter.

Lesha Everett, a Christian comedian with Way To Go Ministries, told the educators that everybody within the school system is essential, no matter if they are in the classroom, mopping floors, wiping noses or driving buses.

“Whatever you are called to do are called to do is what you are meant to do,” she said.

To lighten the mood, she performed a ventriloquist act with four dolls — Dennis, Sally, Ledo and Carriana.

After the awards were handed out, Gladden took the opportunity to thank the teachers for their work.

“We say thank you for our selflessness and your willingness to give back when needed or called upon by our schools,” he said. “We appreciate the sacrifice you make every day — taking time to take care of the future of the community, the future of the state and the future of our country.”

Additionally, he said a certificate, plaque or even Thursday’s dinner is not enough to truly show their appreciation.

“We hope that for this evening tells you what we think and feel about our educators,” Gladden said. “We appreciate everything you do and how much it matters.”

The award winners from Thursday night are as follows:


Classroom Teacher of the Year: Tom Garrett — Chambers Academy

Specialty Area Teacher: Kristen Hall — Huguley Elementary

STEM Teacher of the Year: Becky Sands — Lanett Junior High School

Rookie Teach of the Year: LeeAnna Hamer — Chambers Academy

Food Service Employee of the Year: Gwen Brown — Eastside Elementary School

Health Services Employee of the Year: Jenna Landrum — Valley High School

Administrator of the Year: Bryant Lumpkin — Lanett High School

Maintenance/Custodial Employee of the Year:  Jean Estes — Five Points School

Transportation Employee of the Year: Rosa Holloway — Chambers County Career Tech

Coach of the Year: Jason Allen — Chambers Academy

Support Employee of the Year: Angelena Marie — LaFayette Lanier School


Post-Secondary Awards 

Academic Teacher of the Year: Jennifer Craft — Point University

Specialty Area Teacher of the Year: Suzanne Byrd — Southern Union State

Rookie Teacher of the Year: Melanie Caldwell — Southern Union State

STEM Teacher of the Year: James Blair — Southern Union State

Maintenance/Custodial Employee of the Year: Jody Hodnett — Southern Union State

Support Employee of the Year: Rusty Hassell — Point University

Administrator of the Year: Darryl Harrison — Point University