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Teacher Spotlights

Jenn Adams

1st–9th Grade Special Education Teacher

Jenn Adams is a 1st–9th grade Special Education teacher who works with autistic students in all core subject areas. We asked Jenn what she has learned over the last year:

"I have learned that a physical classroom doesn't define you as a teacher. You can be a teacher in many different ways and still have a positive impact on students and their families through some hard work and dedication."

Angie Choate

STEM Facilitator / Mustang Public Schools

Angie Choate is a STEM Facilitator at Mustang Public Schools in Mustang, Oklahoma. We asked Angie what she has learned over the last year:

"I've learned that our students are much stronger and more resilient than we expect. That is a lesson that we need to use in our STEM challenges- trust the students to discover and that the teacher needs to be a facilitator and a motivator rather than leading them to an answer."

Nita Creekmore

Pre-K–5th Grade Instructional Coach

Nita Creekmore is a Pre-K–5th grade Instructional Coach in Georgia. We asked Nita what her proudest moment was from this last year:

"My proudest moment was when teachers told me that they missed some of the trainings that we had to press pause on. But I realized that even in the midst of these hard times, together in community, myself and the teachers were still coming together, learning, teaching and growing. That students were still learning and growing. The absolute proudest moment is the resiliency that has been built in myself, my family and in the teachers in which I work with each and everyday. I tell them all the time—they are ROCKSTARS! They are!"

Beth Fugate

Mathematics Coordinator / Bradley County Schools

Beth Fugate is the district K-12 Mathematics Coordinator for Bradley County Schools. We asked Beth what her proudest moment was from this last year:

"My proudest moment was when I observed a new teacher facilitate an amazing task-based lesson without flaw.  We had been working together to plan and prepare for the learning experience, and she delivered it expertly."

Nikki Greene

Math Interventionist and Coach

Nikki Greene is a Math Interventionist and Coach in Warwick, Rhode Island. We asked Nikki what she has learned over the last year:

"If there were any silver linings or lessons to be learned from this year, I would say never underestimate the power of patience and perseverance. Whether it was learning new tech tools on the fly, hoping my WiFi would make it through the lesson, teaching students synchronously and asynchronously, or just realizing that learning, although very different this year, still happened. In fact, some of the most important lessons didn’t come from a book or even from me but these life lessons will carry my students and I so much farther than I could have ever imagined."

Samantha Gropper

Grade K–5 Science & STEM Teacher

Samantha Gropper is a Kindergarten–5th grade science and STEM teacher who has been fully in-person for 18 classes, plus an additional 3 teaching virtually! We asked Samantha what she has learned over the last year:

"This year my students taught me that we can do anything. I have learned that no matter what the curriculum is or how we are learning students will impress you and go the distance. I learned new online platforms (Nearpod, Flipgrid, and more). I learned to be flexible and try new things. I am so thankful for my students this year!"

Laura Hunter

Mathematics and Science Instructional Coach / J. Larry Newton Elementary School

Laura Hunter is a Mathematics and Science Instructional Coach for Kindergarten through 6th grade. We asked Laura to describe the educators she works with in one word:

"I work with the most amazing educators! If I were to choose one word, I would choose DEDICATED. They will do whatever it takes to meet the needs of their students inside and outside of the classroom! They have a clear vision, and they pursue it each and every day."

Karan Hussman

Pre-K Teacher

Karan Hussman is a Pre-K teacher who has been in-person with her students. We asked Karan what her proudest moment was from this last year:

"My proudest moment with my kids is how far they have come! I just finished up assessments for the end of year and seeing how much they have grown is my favorite! My proudest moment for me personally was starting my IG page. I have taken a risk to show ideas and just seeing how many people have enjoyed my page has truly been amazing and such a cool feeling."

Connie Kennedy

Math & Science Instructional Support Specialist and STEM Connector / Bay City Public Schools

Connie Kennedy is the K-12 Math and Science Instructional Support Specialist and STEM Connector for Bay City Public Schools. We asked Connie what her biggest challenge was from the last year:

"My biggest challenge this year has been supporting teachers through adapting to the constant changes within our community. Our reality has been trying to do our best to form relationships with students through remote, virtual, and hybrid instruction. Most of our approaches to education have had to be completely reimagined, but have been successful."

Jen Mack

3rd Grade Teacher

Jen Mack is third grade teacher in Brooklyn, New York. We asked Jen what she has learned teaching this year:

"This year I have learned that our teachers are superheroes, our students are superheroes, our families are superheroes, and at the end of the day, we are all just doing the best that we can. I have learned that giving one another grace (and myself) is something I have previously taken for granted that I no longer will."

Megan Moore

Math Coach / Weakley County Schools

Megan Moore is the K–5th Math Coach for the Weakley County School District in Northwest, Tennessee. We asked Megan what her proudest moment was from this last year:

"Our district’s motto is #WeakleyStrong. This couldn’t be more true this year! Our district’s faculty, staff, administration, parents, and students have proven we are at our strongest when we positively work together.  Even though the pandemic has created numerous challenges, we have persevered.  I am and have always been a proud member of the Weakley County School system, especially this year."

Amanda Newsome

Speech-Language Pathologist

Amanda Newsome is a Speech-Language Pathologist working with students in Kindergarten–5th grade. We asked Amanda what she has learned teaching this last year:

"This year I have learned how important it is to be flexible. Teachers and students are resilient- we adapted to the challenges and we made it work!"

Rachael Peters

Director of Curriculum and Instruction / Phenix City Schools

Rachael Peters is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Phenix City Schools in Phenix City, Alabama. We asked Rachael what motivates her in her role:

"Seeing the success of our students and educators motivates me every single day. Their success is my success and the success of our community, so I do all I can to support them, which is what my role is all about."

Anita Qonja-Collins

Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Instruction / Oxford Community Schools

Anita Qonja-Collins is the Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Instruction for Oxford Community Schools and has been in education for 21 years. We asked Anita what her proudest moment was from this last year:

"We are very proud to be offering our families options during the pandemic. We have been able to meet the needs of our families by providing a virtual experience through our virtual school or an in-person experience since the start of the school year (August 2020). While we had a lot to get used to in August, we are proud that our students have had continuous, daily, and high quality instruction in our tier 1 curriculum."

Jackie Reynolds

Family Engagement Coordinator / Putnam County Schools

Jackie Reynolds is the Family Engagement Coordinator for Putnam County Schools in Tennessee. We asked Jackie what her proudest moment was from this last year:

"My proudest moment this year has been how everyone has pulled together in this crisis and helped others. Not only were we hit by the pandemic, but we also had a tornado that came through our county and killed 19 people. Many homes were destroyed also. I am so proud of our community!"

Casey Stewart

Kindergarten Teacher

Casey Stewart is a Kindergarten teacher who has been teaching remotely and in-person, sometimes balancing both at the same time! We asked Casey what she has learned over the last year:

"This year has shown me how resilient kids are. They motivate me every day! I have also learned the importance of teacher self-care during a year that I have felt more stressed out than ever before. I made a promise to myself to leave work at 4 p.m. every day and to always put my family first no matter what!"

Laura Topf

Instructional Coach / SBL Primary School

Laura Topf is an Instructional Coach for SBL Primary School. We asked Laura what her proudest moment was from this last year:

"I live for those light bulb moments. As teachers, we are always trying to find the best way to reach each individual student. When you are able to see a student be successful in a skill that was challenging at first, it makes it ALL worth it!"

Sara Tudon

District Cirriculum Coordinator

Sara Tudon is a District Curriculum Coordinator and has been in education for 22 years. We asked Sara what her proudest moment was from this last year:

"My proudest moment has been seeing how teachers and students are adapting to technology – instructional delivery and student engagement!"

Rachael Turner

Elementary District Curriculum Specialist / Huntsville City Schools

Rachael Turner is an Elementary District Curriculum Specialist with a focus in math. We asked Rachael what she has learned over the last year:

"I have had many new challenges and tasks come my way this year, as I am sure everyone has, and you just learn as you go. What has become more apparent than ever, is the resiliency and flexibility of the faculty, staff, parents, and students of our district. Educators and students take what is handed to them and make the best of it. The past year has been a lemons to lemonade year and everyone has put the work in while keeping a positive attitude for the students."

LaKimberly Wilson

Elementary Math Instuctional Coordniator / Cedar Hill Independent School District

LaKimberly is an Elementary Math Instructional Coordinator for Cedar Hill Independent School District. We asked LaKimberly to describe the educators she works with in one word:

"The one word that I would use to describe the educators that I work with is tenacious.  The educators that I work with have remained steadfast in their endeavors and work ethics to ensure that the scholars' needs are met academically, emotionally, and socially."

Tonya Woolfolk

K–5 Coordinator of Science / Houton County Schools

Tonya Woolfolk is the Coordinator of Science, K-5 for Houston County Schools. We asked Tonya what she has learned over the last year:

"I have learned the real meaning of agility! This year I have had to be more adaptable and resourceful than ever."

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