SYLACAUGA, Ala. – During the February meeting of the Sylacauga Board of Education, four outstanding teachers were honored as the Teacher of the Year at their respective schools.

Indian Valley Elementary’s Teacher of the Year is Danje Morris. She has been a first grade teacher there for four years. Principal Monte Abner remarked, “Danje puts the needs of her students and her team first, constantly seeking ways to improve their learning outcome. When challenges arise, she embraces them, as well as learns from them. Upon entering her room, one can easily discover students engaged in meaningful work guided by a teacher who understands the diverse needs of each learner. She doesn’t just “cover” critical content; she makes sure students learn by monitoring their progress regularly and reteaches as necessary. She works tirelessly to create a seamless line of communication with her parents. They appreciate her efforts to engage them in their child’s learning development.”

The Pinecrest Elementary Teacher of the Year is Sabrina Flora. She was nominated by acting Principal Julie Green who said, “Mrs. Flora has a passion for reading and language arts. She is relentless in her professional growth so that she is prepared to provide the best instruction and practice for all students. One of her most outstanding qualities is her ability to lead fellow teachers in a manner that encourages excitement and eagerness from her peers. She works diligently to provide guidance, coach, and mentor both novice and seasoned teachers. She works to develop children beyond the school day, and participates in after school activities such as Aggie Academy. Mrs. Flora understands the importance of parent and community relationships. She spends countless hours communicating with parents to ensure the success of students in her care. She has a great balance in her classroom structure consisting of both clear expectations and high standards for student behavior.”

Leanna Holmes was selected as Teacher of the Year at Nichols-Lawson Middle School. Principal Gary Rivers nominated her for the honor. Mrs. Holmes has been a math teacher for 21 years. For the last eleven years she has taught math at the middle school level and this has become her passion. Rivers wrote, “Leanna was named Teacher of the Year on two separate occasions while teaching at Winterboro High School. She was also Teacher of the Year at NLMS in 2011. She has served in many support capacities at NLMS and always performs superbly in tasks assigned. She is presently serving as the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) site coordinator. Leanna believes in the AVID process and is devoted to the mantra that all students can achieve and become college, career, and community successful. She maintains an excellent rapport with her students, their parents, and the NLMS faculty and staff. She genuinely cares for each of her students, and it shows through in the classroom with the mutual respect that exudes from the student / teacher interactions.

The Sylacauga High School Teacher of the Year is Melissa McCartney. Her principal, Chad Murphy, wrote, “I have had the great opportunity to observe Mrs. McCartney to be an outstanding educator and leader in her school, the system, and her community. Mrs. McCartney is an outgoing and diligent pursuer of dreams. She is dedicated to meeting her goals and developing the required knowledge and skills necessary to serve the diverse needs of her students. Even beyond her post-secondary education she has continued to seek out training that refines her skills and expands her abilities. Mrs. McCartney is involved in all aspects of student life at Sylacauga High School. She is a valued mathematics teacher and member of the Digital by Design and AVID teams. She serves as Key Club sponsor, and has been instrumental in building the membership of this organization to over 100 students in just two years as a leader. Mrs. McCartney is currently serving as the lead teacher for Twilight School, an after school instructional intervention and support program for struggling students. She is an impressive educational leader who has made a positive impact in our school and community.”

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