Shelby County Schools announce 2022 Teacher of the Year Award winners

Published 1:36 pm Thursday, December 15, 2022

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

Shelby County Schools have announced the 2022 Teacher of the Year Award winners.

The recipients of the award were recognized at a banquet Monday night, Dec. 3.

This year’s awards recognized Sarah Cooley as the 2022 Elementary School Teacher of the Year, Jeff Norris as the 2022 Middle School Teacher of the Year and Beth House as the 2022 High School Teacher of the Year.

Each major recipient also was highlighted in a video with comments from their fellow colleagues and students.

One student described Cooley of Chelsea Park Elementary School as sweet and kind. Another student said that she’s always helping people in need.

“Sarah Cooley is a phenomenal teacher, she goes above and beyond in the classroom,” CPE Principal Mary Anderson said. “Her instruction is top notch. You may walk by her classroom, and you see her up acting out a story or a book or standing in a chair teaching and doing little jingle sand chants with her students. She definitely makes learning fun for all of her students.”

Cooley shared her thoughts on receiving the award.

“It means so much to me,” she said. “I love teaching here and I think we all are deserving of Teacher of the Year. I definitely appreciate it, and I don’t take that honor lightly. I definitely feel honored.”

A student described Jeff Norris of Oak Mountain Middle School as caring and super kind. Another student described him as someone you’ll remember.

“Mr. Norris is probably one of the more versatile teachers I have ever seen,” OMMS Principal Larry Haynes said. “He is always enthusiastic and energetic. His classrooms are full of action every day.”

Norris shared his thoughts on being awarded Middle School Teacher of the Year.

“Todd Whitaker says that the best thing about teaching is that it matters, and the hardest thing about teaching is that it matters every day,” Norris said. “So, to hear that from my peers, is definitely eye opening and humbling and all those other things and just little bit embarrassing at the pep rally.”

One student described Beth House of Montevallo High School as a positive, uplifting person. Another student described her as very compassionate.

“Beth House, she’s one of those people that’s always real optimistic, positive attitude, loves what she does,” MHS Principal Steve Bromley said. “There’s several things that she does here and we’re very grateful to have her.”

Shelby County Schools have also announced 32 Teacher of the Year winners from schools across the District. The winners are as follows:

Calera schools:

  • Brook Brock from Calera Elementary
  • Samantha Pierce from Calera Intermediate
  • Bethany Aultman from Calera Middle
  • Margie Eubanks from Calera High

Centralized schools:

  • Stacy Garrett from CTEC
  • Candace Gregory from New Direction
  • Karla King from Linda Nolen Learning Center

Chelsea schools:

  • Sarah Cooley from Chelsea Park Elementary
  • Jana Baker from Forest Oaks Elementary
  • Racheal Trice from Chelsea Middle
  • Noemi Blair from Chelsea High

Columbiana schools:

  • Helen Gibson from Elvin Hill Elementary
  • Misty Shearer from Shelby Elementary
  • Kayle Posey from Wilsonville Elementary
  • Kayla Garlock from Columbiana Middle
  • Ashley Venable from Shelby County High

Helena schools:

  • Allison Festavan from Helena Elementary
  • Carissa Blackerby from Helena Intermediate
  • Michelle Evans from Helena Middle
  • Chris Galloway from Helena High

Oak Mountain schools:

  • Lizzie Vansant from Inverness Elementary
  • Janice Lazarre Pitts from Oak Mountain Elementary
  • Haley King from Mt Laurel Elementary
  • Teresa Brunetti from Oak Mountain Intermediate
  • Jeff Norris from Oak Mountain Middle
  • Emily Roberts from Oak Mountain High

Vincent schools:

  • Melissa Anderson from Vincent Elementary
  • Brigitte Vick from Vincent Middle
  • Ashley Both from Vincent High