Shelby County honors Teachers of the Year for 2014-15
By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer
The Shelby County School District honored its top teachers at the Teacher of the Year reception and awards ceremony held Dec. 2 at Oak Mountain High School. There were three overall winners for teacher of the year.
The three winners were Sandy Evers of Forest Oaks Elementary School, Kevin Pughsley of Calera Middle School and Michael Smith of Calera High School.
Evers has taught for 13 years, the past five in Shelby County. She currently teaches physical education at Forest Oaks Elementary School. She serves in numerous leadership roles at her school, including wellness committee coordinator, “fitness at the forest” coordinator, Forest Oaks safety team, sunshine committee club, acorn advisor peer help, and the Forest Oaks book club. She also serves on the school district’s safety team.
“It is truly a privilege to be able to be a role model for our young student’s every day,” Evers said. “I am able to be a recognizable face, a stable environment, and a trustworthy smile that a child can count on year after year. The joy and happiness I get in watching my students grow is a reward in itself.”
Pughsley has taught for eight and a half years, all at Calera Middle School. He teaches sixth grade earth science and also serves as the school’s head football coach, head track and field coach and athletic director. He also sponsors the broadcasting club, the sixth grade gentleman’s class, is the co-leader of field day, and the master of ceremony for the talent show.
“Once that relationship is created, a relationship is forged between me and the students,” Pughsley said referring to creating an environment in his classroom that is safe, free of judgment and encouraging. “I create an atmosphere in my classroom that can be described as unusual, unpredictable, entertaining, and easy to learn. I strongly believe that positive attitudes are contagious and spread quickly.”
Smith has taught for 14 years, serving the past four at Calera High School teaching 10-12 grade physics, physical science, earth and space science and environmental science. He has served at his school as the soccer coach, key club sponsor, destination imagination sponsor and by tutoring and mentoring students.
“I know what it is like to be ‘at-risk’,” Smith said because of his personal background. “I believe that engagement is critical to these students. It is imperative that these young people know that you care about what happens to them and that you show this through the things that you do.”
The event honored the Teacher of the Year winners from every school in the district. Teachers who recently earned or renewed their National Board certification were also honored. The event was sponsored by the Shelby County Schools Education Foundation.
The additional school winners included elementary, middle and high school teachers and National Board certified teachers.
The elementary school teacher winners were Angie Lacroix of Calera Elementary, Courtney Anne Banks of Calera Intermediate, Hannah Burton of Chelsea Park Elementary, Michelle Branson of Elvin Hill Elementary, Allison Hoff Festavan of Helena Elementary, Shelli Abernathy of Helena Intermediate, Mera Price of Inverness Elementary, Michaelle Ledlow of Linda Nolen Learning Center, Kristen McKee of Montevallo Elementary, Amy Holmes of Mt Laurel Elementary, Anne Kimbell Neighbors of Oak Mountain Elementary, Michelle Tindal of Oak Mountain Intermediate, Angela Harrison Binkerd of Shelby Elementary, Sharee Casteel Winslett of Vincent Elementary and Penny Guy Lindley of Wilsonville Elementary.
The middle school teacher winners were Gary Black of Chelsea Middle, Dustin Smith of Columbiana Middle, Meredith George; of Helena Middle, Raquel A. Stevenson of Montevallo Middle, Ashli Polizos of Oak Mountain Middle and Cory Williams of Vincent Middle/High.
The high school teacher winners were Carrie Weathersbee Radice of Chelsea High, Dale Massey of Helena High, Brandi Holloway Eades of Montevallo High, Mera Underwood of New Direction, Jennie Gandy of Oak Mountain High, Mickey Caldwell of Shelby County College and Career Center and Ellie M. Littleton of Shelby County High.
The National Board certified teachers were Misty Floyd of Helena Elementary, Sarah Morris of Shelby County High School, Sarah Hopper of Helena Intermediate (renewal) and Allen McGowan of Oak Mountain Elementary (renewal).