Teachers dedicate their lives to educating other people’s children to become the next generation of prepared leaders and productive members of society.
It can be a thankless job at times, but The Morgan County School System makes an effort each year to honor the teachers most beloved by their students. The Teachers of the Year were announced last week, with each of Morgan County’s four schools choosing a teacher to honor.
Morgan County High School (MCHS) named Wendy Malcom as this year’s Teacher of the Year. The Morgan County Middle School (MCMS) chose Zonna Fortune. The Morgan County Elementary School (MCES) chose Leslie Turner, and the Morgan County Primary School (MCPS) selected Jennifer Haynes.
One of them will be named the System Teacher of the Year later this month and go on to compete for the statewide title next year.
“I am always proud of our teachers,” said Dr. James Woodard, superintendent of Morgan County Schools. “I am especially proud of our Teachers of the Year. These individuals represent the character we expect in all of our teachers. They are great role models for our community.”
Malcom was thrilled to learn she had been chosen as the high school’s teacher of the year. According to Malcom, she hopes to teach her students academics, as well as important life-skills.
“Words can’t begin to describe the amazing feeling of being honored as Teacher of the Year for Morgan County High School,” said Wendy Malcom. “I love having the opportunity to teach students beyond just academics. I use any opportunity I can to instill in students the importance of problem-solving skills, good manners, empathy, and initiative.”
“We are proud to have Wendy Malcom represent Morgan County High School as the Teacher of the Year. As a special education teacher, Ms. Malcom does an excellent job of promoting instructional engagement and motivating her students. She is intentional about building positive relationships with her students in order to maximize their potential. As an active member of the High Performing Professional Learning Committee, she is always willing to contribute to finding solutions and working toward our common goal of student success,” said Jay W. Homan, assistant superintendent for Morgan County Schools.
Forunte was selected for her upbeat attitude and strong connections with her students.
“Mrs. Zonna Fortune comes to school each morning with a positive outlook and gives of herself genuinely to both her students and colleagues. She believes in what she does, and it shows through each one of her students. In the words of one her students, “Mrs. Fortune makes you feel like you are her favorite.” Mrs. Fortune definitely makes a difference one student at a time!” said Hillary Meeler, principal of MCMS.
Fortune takes her job of teaching young minds as a serious and sacred responsibility.
“I am pleased to be selected as the teacher of the year from Morgan County Middle School. I do this job because it is something that I truly enjoy. It is critical to leave a positive imprint on the minds of ALL students,” said Zonna Fortune. “I can honestly tell you that the main prayer I pray is, “Lord please let me be a blessing and not a curse to others,” I say this because I come in contact with so many young people who are very impressionable. I decided a long time ago that I would do everything possible to leave a positive imprint in the mind of all students. I believe the key to getting more out of students is to give of yourself genuinely. “
Turner was chosen for her dedication in helping students become better readers and her strong leadership skills.
““I am proud to announce that Leslie Turner is the 2018-19 Teacher of the Year at Morgan County Elementary School. In her 30th year of education, she brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our staff. She currently serves as an EIP teacher and is passionate about helping her students become better readers. She is teacher leader and outstanding member of the MCES team,” said Lara Still, principal of MCES>
Turner was honored to be named Teacher of Year, and noted her fellow teachers were just as worthy of the title.
“I am honored to be selected as Teacher of the Year by my colleagues at MCES. I work in a great school with many outstanding individuals who are also worthy of this recognition. I want to instill in my students the desire to become lifelong learners,” said Leslie Turner.
Haynes was chosen for her dedication in building a strong foundation for her young students in the important subjects of math and science.
“Jennifer Haynes is an excellent choice to represent MCPS as the 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year. Since taking on a new role as STEM teacher two years ago, she has worked diligently to collaborate with homeroom teachers to support the students’ needs in math and science. Ms. Haynes utilizes Project Based Learning to engage students in relevant tasks that involve community resources and partnerships and has made many improvements to the school through her work with the students. Ms. Haynes has also been head of the Garden Committee and provided professional learning to teachers in utilizing the outdoor classroom space. Ms. Haynes also supports our gifted learners and collaborates with teachers in serving their needs throughout the day. Ms. Haynes enthusiasm for learning is contagious as she is a lifelong learner herself always pursuing new ideas and challenging herself to be better for the students of MCPS,” said Lisa Daniel, principal of MCPS.
Haynes, who teaches at the primary school, feels especially honored to provide Morgan County’s youngest students with their first introduction to science.
“At MCPS, our students attend STEM class as one of their activities,” said Haynes. “STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Some people use the word STEAM which includes the letter A for Art. Kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders have the opportunity to apply the skills they are learning in authentic hands-on activities. We do real Science. We learn how to use real science tools. Students learn how to code on computers which promotes critical thinking and persistence. We build things. We use our garden to learn about plant and animal life cycles. Students plant seeds and monitor the growth through to harvest. Students are participating in taste tests of those vegetables and taking part in surveys. They learn how to graph the results of their taste tests. Teaching STEM allows me to integrate many subject areas into one lesson. It is so much fun for me as a teacher to watch the students get excited and stay engaged with their learning. I am just grateful to our school leadership for providing this innovative learning environment for our students,” said Haynes. “I am completely honored and humbled by my colleagues voting me as Teacher of the Year for Morgan County Primary School. We have great teachers here! Our parents, teachers, and members of the community have made a strong commitment to our students, and I am proud to be a part of it. I have felt the impact of so many great teachers here in Morgan County, both as a parent and as a teacher. Many teachers worked to help our boys achieve success, and I am so happy to be able to play a part in helping other students achieve success from an early age,” said Haynes.