Hoover City Schools announces 2023 Teachers of the Year

Published 8:57 am Friday, December 16, 2022

FROM STAFF REPORTS

HOOVER – Hoover’s Meghan Craig and Kevin Pughsley were recently awarded with Teacher of the Year titles by district leaders.

Pughsley, a teacher at Berry Middle School, was named the HCS Secondary Teacher of the Year. District leaders surprised him with the news earlier in the month at BMS.

“I was once told, ‘You should not be a teacher because you wouldn’t be good at it,’” Pughsley said. “This recognition confirms that I do have an impact in the field of education on students, teachers, and parents. I am blessed, humbled, and honored to be recognized and work alongside the best teachers in Alabama who challenge and inspire me.”

Pughsley has taught at BMS for six years and is a sixth-grade earth science teacher. He has been an educator for sixteen years and serves as a district, state, and national trainer for best practices in science education.

In a letter of recommendation, HCS Chief Learning Officer Dr. Chris Robbins said Pughsley has a magnificent teaching ability as a sixth-grade earth science teacher at BMS. He brings a hands-on and minds-on approach to earth science in his classroom, which garners the utmost attention. Robbins said Pughsley knows science standards so well that he takes advantage of cross-curricular connections with other teachers on his interdisciplinary team.

“The past two years were difficult as an educator, but this reminds me why I show up to work every day, so that I can honor the teachers who believed in me and helped me along the way,” Pughsley said. “As a student, I struggled academically, often got into trouble and experienced little success. Knowing that feeling fuels my passion to have energy and enthusiasm and provide exciting and challenging experiences for students so they can understand the “how” and “why” behind each concept. Each lesson, each day, is a moment that could potentially change a student’s belief about their own future, and I am grateful for this privilege to facilitate meaningful moments for all students.”

Pughsley is a mentor teacher for A+ College Ready, trains teachers across Alabama and uses Marzano’s New Art of Teaching and ‘Five Questions Every Teacher Should Ask’ to encourage teachers to obtain student feedback for their own growth and reflection. He advocates for teaching with intensity and enthusiasm to make learning contagious and to develop relationships with at-risk students.

Additionally, Meghan Craig was named the Elementary Teacher of the Year for the HCS District. On Wednesday, Dec. 14. District leaders surprised Craig and her students at Bluff Park Elementary School with the news.

“I feel extremely grateful and honored to be selected as the Elementary Teacher of the Year,” Craig said. “I want to thank the committee for choosing me to represent our wonderful Hoover City Schools. This is such an amazing honor, and I do not take it lightly.”

Craig is a first-grade teacher at BPES and has taught there for six years. She has been an educator for 19 years. BPES principal, Amy Weems, said Craig is a passionate, quiet leader that is well respected by her colleagues, students and the Bluff Park community. Weems said Craig loves her students, has a high level of organizational skills, possesses an intuitive nature and can turn an ordinary lesson into a magical learning experience.

“In my 19 years of teaching, I have had some excellent mentors and colleagues,” Craig said. “I truly just want my students to feel loved and look forward to coming to school each day. I believe teachers are difference makers, and I love that I get to make a difference every day that I come to work. I’m passionate about finding ways to bring learning to life and making it memorable for the students. I enjoy creating projects and songs to help reinforce the standards. Seeing my students fully engaged in a lesson brings me so much joy.”

As a lifelong learner, Craig is currently pursuing her National Boards and LETRS certifications. She believes incorporating strategies like Whole Brain Teaching, Orton Gillingham’s multisensory approach for ELA and the CPA model for math helps her reach all students due to the high engagement.

“I work at such an amazing school,” Craig said. “You can walk into any classroom and see the teachers loving on their students and making each day count. I am so proud to work alongside such amazing teachers, and I’m truly grateful to have our supportive administration leading the way.”

Members of the HCS Teacher of the Year selection committee said Craig and Pughsley demonstrate a strong passion for student engagement, growth and achievement. They will now represent HCS in the 2023-2024 Alabama Teacher of the Year competition.

Elementary/Intermediate

  • Bluff Park: Meghan Craig
  • Brock’s Gap: Stephanie Watson
  • Deer Valley: Monica Horne
  • Green Valley: Bridget Mitchell
  • Greystone: Christie Kelley
  • Gwin: Erica Russell
  • Riverchase: Mariel Broussard
  • Rocky Ridge: Russell Hallman
  • Shades Mountain: Jessica Berger
  • South Shades Crest: Lindsey Mayson
  • Trace Crossings: Kristen Reed

Middle

  • R.F. Bumpus: Bo Doss
  • Berry: Kevin Pughsley
  • Simmons: Megan Pezeshkmehr

High

  • Hoover: Robert Reed Lochamy, III
  • Spain Park: Jill Wallace
  • RC3: Jennifer Williams