Jasper teachers honored for making a difference

By NICOLE SMITH
Posted 11/29/18

It was a special evening at the Jasper City Board of Education meeting Monday night, as the school district's Teachers of the Year were recognized for making a difference in the lives of their …

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Jasper teachers honored for making a difference

Posted

It was a special evening at the Jasper City Board of Education meeting Monday night, as the school district's Teachers of the Year were recognized for making a difference in the lives of their students. 

Superintendent Dr. Ann Jackson presented plaques to the Teachers of the Year Monday and read excerpts of essays they wrote about their teaching experience.

Deborah Harbin was recognized as Memorial Park Elementary's Teacher of the Year. In Harbin's essay, she talked about the rewards of being an educator. 

"She said she has the honor and privilege of having an impact on multiple children in her career, and that most people don't have that privilege," Jackson said. "She said she feels that it's important her students know how much she loves them, how much she values them for who they are, and to reassure them that they are important to all of us."

Choral director Garrett Lindsey was named Teacher of the Year for Jasper High School, and  he discussed in his essay how he encourages his students to always strive for high achievement.

He said, "We encourage mediocrity when we do not take on the mantra of good is the ever present enemy of better. Every student has more potential inside of them than they realize, and it's every teacher's job to guide the students to achieve more than they had planned."   

Beverly Simon of Maddox Middle School was recognized as Teacher of Year in the school district for a second time. She wrote about the many challenges students may have and how teachers can always choose to be a guiding light in trying times.  

"It's important for our students to know that the world, at times, can be tough and unforgiving," Simon said. "They may have difficulties that are out of their control. But have them believe that they are not just their circumstance. They have been given two gifts — the gift of choice and the ability to plan for obstacles ahead." 

Morgan Gann was named Jasper Jr. High Teacher of the Year and talked about investing in the future of each child.

"Educators are the link to helping students realize their value and worth. Educators are the spark that can reignite a fire that the world might extinguish before it has a chance to flicker," Gann explained in her essay. "Teachers must take part in knowing that the investment they put into their students can one day yield life-altering, powerful results."

Gann was also honored as Secondary Teacher of the Year for the district.

Missy Lay was named Teacher of the Year for T.R. Simmons Elementary, and Jackson spoke of Lay's love for kindergarten. 

Lay wrote in her essay about a boy she met in her first year of teaching in 1992. She said the boy had some struggles and later found himself in trouble during his eighth grade year. Lay visited the troubled teenager and encouraged him to make better decisions.

Many years later, Lay was able to reunite with him through Facebook, and the two still keep in touch.

In her essay, Lay said she has always took the opportunity to be a comforting presence in a child's life. 

"If I don't act, then I have failed that student. Children need someone to believe in them and their dreams," she said.  

Lay was also named District Elementary Teacher of the Year on Monday. 

Each teacher recognized received a plaque to be displayed outside or inside their classroom. 

"We have some of the best teachers in the world," Jackson said. "All of you do an outstanding job."