Pelham teachers prepare for school year with Back to School Employee Institute Meeting

Published 2:02 pm Monday, August 15, 2022

By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

PELHAM – The auditorium of Pelham High School was alive with Panther Pride early Monday morning, Aug. 8.

Teachers from all Pelham City Schools were present wearing their best school gear for the Back to School Employee Institute Meeting. The annual meeting allows current teachers to catch up, meet new teachers and hear what the school board has in store for the upcoming academic year.

First, the teachers were treated to a breakfast sponsored by America’s First Credit Union. Following the breakfast, the teachers filed into the auditorium for the meeting. The meeting featured special guests from the Pelham Board of Education, the City Council and Mayor Gary Waters.

Pelham Superintendent Dr. Chuck Ledbetter said the PCS team is excited to begin the new school year and to return to a sense of normalcy that was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Monday was an opportunity to kick off the new school year with enthusiasm and to reflect on the gift we are given as educators to be able to make a difference in the lives of young people that lasts a lifetime,” he said.

Pelham’s Board of Education President Rick Rhoades praised the educators and PCS staff members for their hard work and dedication to PCS students.

“We as a board are dedicated to you, and we appreciate you all so much,” he said. “We want to provide you with the resources that you need and the support that you need to be successful. That is what our board is all about.”

Rhoades then offered some words of advice to educators entering their first year on the job.

“If I had any advice to give to a teacher I would say, know yourself, know your kids and pray for strength,” Rhoades said. “If you do those three things, everything else will take care of it.”

Ledbetter gave a presentation discussing the changes in education through the past 50 years, ranging from students’ graduation success rates to the percentages of teachers employed. Ledbetter made special mention of how through the various ups and downs, teachers have always made sure to put their students first.

After Ledbetter’s presentation, everyone was treated to a special introduction to the new costumes for Pelham’s mascot, Paws the Panther. The Pelham City Schools Foundation funded new panther mascot costumes for each of the PCS schools, and the costumes were debuted through a fun “Masked Singer” style dance-off where staff members danced to music while their co-workers guessed who they were.

Michelle LeSeuer is a counselor for Pelham High School who was one of the educators honored at the meeting for years of service to the students and the education profession. LeSeuer said the day was incredibly special as it reunites returning teachers and introduces new teachers to the PCS family.

“As an educator, institute means celebrating a new year and new beginnings,” she said. “This special day is intentionally planned to be fun, uplifting and energizing to all school employees. Everyone is recognized as being a valuable piece of Pelham City Schools! It truly takes a village, and I am proud to be a part of the Pelham family and community.”