McDonald named Teacher of Month

Published 4:01 pm Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valley Intermediate School teacher Karen McDonald, right, speaks to the Alabastaer-Pelham Rotary Club during a Feb. 14 lunch while VIS Principal Dana Payne, left, looks on. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Work for students with special needs helped Valley Intermediate School fourth-grade teacher Karen McDonald earn the school’s Teacher of the Year and the Alabaster-Pelham Rotary Club’s Teacher of the Month award for January.

The club presented McDonald with the award during a Feb. 14 Rotary Club lunch at Shelby Baptist Medical Center. She also will receive a donation from the club to help purchase classroom materials.

VIS Principal Dana Payne said McDonald has been teaching at the school for four years, and taught at Helena Elementary for one year before coming to VIS.

“That’s a real honor to have only been in teaching for five years and be named Teacher of the Year by her peers,” Payne said. “She is an outstanding teacher. She is incredible as a teacher of children with special needs.”

During her time at VIS, McDonald has taught several “inclusion” classrooms, which include children with special needs and children who speak English as a second language.

“She really has a heart for helping children with special needs,” Payne said, noting McDonald’s class won the “Name the Lunar Lander” contest in 2012 as part of a statewide contest sponsored by the Rocket City Space Pioneers.

“I love what I do,” McDonald told the Rotary Club. “I really appreciate this recognition.”