Shelby County Student and Educator of the Year awarded

Published 8:53 am Friday, April 29, 2022

By MEG HERNDON | Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – On Wednesday, April 27 Shelby County’s leading students and educators were recognized during The Shelby County Chamber’s ninth annual Student & Educator of the Year program.

The program was attended by over 200 educators and students and took place at the Shelby County Arts Council.

“It’s a great day as we celebrate and recognize the students and educators who demonstrate excellence each and every day in our schools throughout Shelby County,” said Brian Massey, chamber chair and chief advocacy officer at Ascension St. Vincent. “As the leading voice for business both big and small in our county, The Shelby Chamber actively collaborates with our education and training partners for two very basic reasons: number one is to ensure that our 1200 investor organizations and businesses throughout Shelby County will have the qualified workforce they’ll need in the future. And number two, that all the students know that after graduation they have great opportunities right here in Shelby County. They don’t have to go.”

Schools throughout the county submitted an academic leader standout and career pathway standout Student of the Year to represent their school. All of the nominees were evaluated on the following criteria: GPA, extra-curricular activities and awards, a written response (essay) on their proposed career pathway/course of study and letters of recommendation. Each student was asked to attend an in-person interview with a panel of judges.

The Educator of the Year candidates were nominated in three categories – elementary, middle and high school — by their school principals. A panel of judges evaluated them on their philosophy of teaching, community involvement and recommendations from colleagues and school administrators, including a brief video where many showcased their exceptional classrooms.

Winners received a cash award in the form of a check. The student recipients received $1,000, and the funds were intended to be used to continue their education and career development. Teachers received $750 and were encouraged to use the funds as they see best for their classrooms.

Two students each won in the Academic Leader Standout and Career Pathway Standout categories.

“Each of the judges who reviewed the information had an extremely challenging time choosing the recipients in each category,” said Kirk Mancer, president and CEO of TSCC. “That’s a true indication of the outstanding excellence that we have right here in Shelby County’s classrooms.”

Kaili Williams from Shelby County School and Abigail McGee from Thompson High School won the Academic Leader Standout category. Career Pathway Standout winners were Khaled Zuaiter from Oak Mountain High School and Avery Fuller from Pelham High School.

The Chamber also presented awards for a third student category, the Future Leader of the Year. Winners were selected by a panel of judges from all nominees from the other two student categories.

The students that were awarded the Future Leader of the Year award were Isaura Hernandez-Landeros from Shelby County Career and Technical Education Center and Riley Kate Hulsey from Helena High School.

The Elementary School Educator of the year was awarded to Christy Cordrey from Helena Intermediate School.

The Middle School Educator of the Year recipient was Elizabeth Birdsong from Columbiana Middle School.

The High School Educator of the Year was Justin Foster from Pelham High School.

Nominees for each category are as follows:

Academic Leader Standout – Student of the Year Nominees:
– Kelley Bush, Calera High School
– Samantha Kennedy, Chelsea High School
– Jacob Ritondo, Helena High School
– Olivia Gilbert, Montevallo High School
– Will Stone, Oak Mountain High School
– Austin Wallace, Pelham High School
– Isaura Hernandez-Landeros, Shelby County Career and Technical Education Center
– Kaili Williams, Shelby County High School
– Abigail McGee, Thompson High School
– Chloe Layton, Vincent High School

Career Pathway Standout – Student of the Year Nominees:
– Ethan Gray, Calera High School
– Jessie Holsombeck, Chelsea High School
– Riley Kate Hulsey, Helena High School
– Yulliana Gutierrez, Montevallo High School
– Khaled Zuaiter, Oak Mountain High School
– Avery Fuller, Pelham High School
– Cody Blackmon, Shelby County Career and Technical Education Center
– Jackson Glover, Shelby County High School
– Kelvin Mbote, Thompson High School
– Shawn Tressillian, Vincent Middle High School

Elementary School Educator Nominees:
– Dana Janney, Calera Elementary School
– Adelene Symons, Calera Elementary School
– Jacqueline Garrett, Chelsea Park Elementary School
– Jackie Killingsworth, Creek View Elementary School
– Emily Vansant, Elvin Hill Elementary School
– Leigh Sullivan, Forest Oaks Elementary School
– Patrick Riley, Helena Elementary School
– Christy Cordrey, Helena Intermediate School
– Niki Burke, Inverness Elementary School
– Bre Farmer, Meadow View Elementary School
– Amanda Hyslpo, Montevallo Elementary School
– Holly Jones, Mt. Laurel Elementary School
– Charelette Smith, Oak Mountain Elementary School
– Krista Bender, Oak Mountain Intermediate School
– Christina Ferguson, Pelham Oaks Elementary School
– Lisa Murphy, Pelham Ridge Elementary School
– Elizabeth Roberson, Shelby Elementary School
– Julia Lawrence, Thompson Intermediate School
– McKayla Hester, Vincent Elementary School
– Kerri Parker, Wilsonville Elementary School

Middle School Educator Nominees:
– Allie Carter, Calera Middle School
– Elizabeth Howard, Chelsea Middle School
– Elizabeth Birdsong, Columbiana Middle School
– Samantha Keaney, Helena Middle School
– Kelly Deason, Linda Nolen Learning Center
– Taleria Jackson, Montevallo Middle School
– Haley Gunnels, Oak Mountain Middle School
– Charlotte Clare Norris, Pelham Park Middle School
– Shana Webb, Thompson Middle School
– Kaylin Knox, Vincent Middle High School

High School Educator Nominees:
– Jason Hamlin, Calera High School
– Amy Hann, Chelsea High School
– Melissa Copeland, Helena High School
– Susan Hancock, Montevallo High School
– LaTasha Thomas, New Direction
– Vicki Jackson, Oak Mountain High School
– Justin Foster, Pelham High School
– William Blake Ray, Shelby County Career and Technical Education Center
– Rebecca Hicks, Shelby County High School
– McKenzie Wayman, Thompson High School
– Abigail Chappell, Vincent Middle High School