ACS names top teachers for 2021-2022 school year

Published 8:56 am Tuesday, February 1, 2022

By WILLIAM MARLOW | Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – Alabaster City Schools recently named the 2021-2022 Teachers of the Year, which included five recipients from both the district’s elementary and secondary schools.

Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers and the ACS Board of Education honored the winners on Thursday, Jan. 13 at Alabaster City Hall.

Dr. Amanda Wilbanks, who serves as the district’s coordinator of secondary education, said that the title is reserved for school faculty who have displayed exceptional leadership or teaching skills throughout the school year.

“I think that all five of our winners from each of our schools are definitely servant leaders, and that is an important characteristic that our Teachers of the Year always share,” Wilbanks said. “They go above and beyond their instructional duties, and they’re ultimately individuals that represent Alabaster and education quite well.”

Wilbanks added that award recipients frequently dedicate long hours in the classroom, before and after school, spending that time either helping students, their fellow teachers or meeting with parents.

Although most schools look for nominees who have gone above and beyond the line of duty, there are no set qualifications other than an implementation guide from the Alabama Department of Education.

ACS Coordinator of Elementary Education Mark Gray, who has overseen the nomination process for years, added that award recipients are most times nominated by a school’s staff.

“These individuals have greatly contributed to their grade level and or department, and are a person who cares about their students, cares about education and cares about the responsibility and the opportunity that they’re given each day to serve our students,” Gray said.

The process begins with each of the district’s five schools, three elementary and two secondary schools, nominating a faculty member to be a local Teacher of the Year. Once selected, those five individuals then must complete an application and questionnaire from the Alabama State Department of Education.

Following this process, a committee comprising the district’s central office reviews the nominees. These committees frequently include administrators, board members and parents.

“So we choose local school-level winners, and then we have two winners at the district level, one elementary and one secondary that we choose to represent us at the state level. Those individuals go on to submit an application to the State Department,” Gray said.

Each local school winner is awarded a $100 cash gift that can be used for school supplies or classroom instruction, while district winners receive an additional $500 for similar purposes.

In addition, ACS district winners have now been entered into a regional pool where they will have the opportunity to be selected regional winners, or the overall state winner, which are set to be announced later this year.

The ACS 2021-2022 Teachers of the Year include:

Elementary:

-Creek View Teacher of the Year – Jackie Killingsworth. Killingsworth is a library media specialist with 33 years of experience.

-Meadow View Teacher of the Year – Bre Farmer Farmer is a first grade teacher with three years of experience.

-Thompson Intermediate Teacher of the Year and ACS District Elementary Teacher of the Year – Julia Lawrence. Lawrence is a fifth grade math, science, and social studies teacher with five years of experience.

Secondary:

-Thompson Middle Teacher of the Year – Shana Webb. Webb is an eighth grade science teacher with 19 years of experience.

-Thompson High Teacher of the Year and ACS District Secondary Teacher of the Year – Dr. McKenzie Wayman. Wayman teaches ninth-12th grade Spanish and is the Yearbook sponsor. She has 10 years of experience.