Teachers make a difference

Teachers continue to show us every day how education, courage and sacrifice can make a difference in the world.

Shelby County Schools recently recognized its teachers of the year. And this year&8217;s group of recipients reflect those qualities in teachers we hold most dear and deserve our most heartfelt congratulations.

High School Teacher of the Year Julie Nelson, who teaches 11th and 12th grade marine biology at Pelham High School, originally wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. She wrote that everything that stopped her from her original career path led her to where she belonged &8212; in the classroom. And she said she is committed to bringing out the best in each of her students.

Middle School Teacher of the Year Jeff Denney was an engineer. He wrote that he never regretted his decision to leave that profession for teaching, despite the change in salary and lifestyle. He also wrote he realized his need to make a contribution to society would never be fulfilled as an engineer.

And then there is Kristi Turner, Elementary School Teacher of the Year. She played school as a child. But when she began helping her friends in academics and life skills, she wrote she loved seeing the light bulb go off when she awakened something inside one of the friends she had helped.

Turner wrote that she had a calling to be the awakener in others &8220;instilling a love for learning.&8221;

There were 36 Teacher of the Year candidates honored this year. All of whom reflect the very best of the teaching profession. We salute each and every one of the Shelby County Teachers of the Year, from the local school winners to the top three. And we salute everyone who is called to the teaching profession.

The teachers of Shelby County, in fact teachers everywhere, deserve every honor we can give them and our appreciation