School system names teachers of the year

Pictured are (L-R) Superintendent Randy Fuller, Lori Kerley, Carla Dudley, Rebecca Burnett and State Representative Mary Sue McClurkin. Kerley, Dudley and Burnett were honored as the three Teachers of the Year for the school system. (Contributed photo)

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

NORTH SHELBY – The Shelby County School system honored 39 of the best local teachers during the Teacher of the Year reception Nov. 29.

From the top 39, school officials named three top Teachers of the Year: Rebecca Burnett, High School Teacher of the Year; Lori Kerley, Middle School Teacher of the Year; and Carla Dudley, Elementary School Teacher of the Year.

Burnett has taught for 16 years and currently teaches honors English and advanced English at Pelham High School. Kerley has taught for 11 years and currently teaches earth science at the Thompson Sixth Grade Center. Dudley has taught for 10 years and currently teaches fourth grade at Oak Mountain Intermediate School.

Burnett said in her nomination essay she considers teaching to be a blessing.

“It is obvious my philosophy of education is more than what is taught in a textbook, and requires setting high standards in all aspects of life, molding future leaders who possess strong values and character,” she wrote. “Being an outstanding teacher each day requires passion, caring, and hard work, but the rewards are worth it.”

Kerley, who did not become a teacher until age 38, said she found a passion for her profession once she got into education.

“As I think about the people and events that inspired my love of school and learning, I remember role models that initiated the thought of education as a profession,” she wrote. “I try to emulate this inspiration in activities conducted in my classroom and how I treat my students every day.”

Dudley wrote in her essay that she has been teaching since only a youngster. At 7, she taught her 4- and 5-year-old neighbors to read. At 12, she began tutoring other children who struggled with reading.

She wrote that teaching is her calling, rather than a choice she made.

“Ultimately, the greater purpose will be fulfilled when the students who lives I’ve touched seek excellence and become productive, responsible, and service-oriented citizens,” she wrote.

The Greater Shelby County Education Foundation awarded $500 prizes each to the three Teachers of the Year. The money came from donations from members of the Shelby County Legislative Delegation.

Jennifer Trammell, who was at the reception representing the Greater Shelby County Education Foundation, said in an e-mail foundation members appreciate what local educators do.

“We are very proud of Shelby County Schools and appreciate the value added to every aspect of our community,” Trammell said.

During the reception, the school system also honored seven Shelby County teachers who recently earned National Board certification, the highest level of certification a teacher can earn.

Other Teacher of the Year candidates who were honored included: Holly Soto, Calera Elementary; Alicia Smith, Chelsea Intermediate; Brooke Burton Dunham, Chelsea Park Elementary; Sally Perkins, Creek View Elementary; Hailey Fant, Elvin Hill Elementary; Jenni Shackleford, Helena Elementary; Amber Howard, Helena Intermediate; Michelle Price, Inverness Elementary; Katie Boyd, Linda Nolen Learning Center; Sandra Swindall, Meadow View Elementary; Kim Gray, Montevallo Elementary; LaTonya Borden-Hudson, Mt Laurel Elementary; Maggie Russell, Oak Mountain Elementary; Amy Nelson, Shelby Elementary; Nikki Creel, Thompson Intermediate; Lyndsay Anderson, Valley Elementary; Gay Cole, Valley Intermediate; Lindsay Tisdale, Vincent Elementary; Allison Hobbs, Wilsonville Elementary; Anna Bearden, Calera Middle; Gary Black, Chelsea Middle; Debra Hawkins, Columbiana Middle; Crystal Watford, Helena Middle; Tamkia Whitt, Montevallo Middle; Sheryl Jones, Oak Mountain Middle School; Lynn Mayes, Riverchase Middle; Karla Hendricks Byrd, Thompson Middle; Valerie Bridges, Alternative School; William Bruce Cooper, Calera High; Joan Garrett, Chelsea High; Mary F. Howard, Montevallo High; Sharon Morgan, Oak Mountain High; Kim Estill, School of Technology; Connie Benson Wheeler, Shelby County High; Laura Kendrick, Thompson High; and Ernie Lynn Adkins, Vincent Middle/High.

Teachers who were honored for achieving National Board certification include Scott Byrne, Creek View Elementary; Maria Tarry, Valley Intermediate; Mary Foy, Valley Intermediate; Amanda Rodriguez, Valley Elementary; Shelia Jett, Montevallo Middle; Chaille Raines, Meadow View Elementary; Angie Clark, Thompson Middle; and Kristi Sayers, Oak Mountain High School.