TALLADEGA – The Talladega City Board of Education recognized its school and district Teachers of the Year on Tuesday evening during a meeting at the Hal Henderson Building.
A reception honoring the winners was held at Heritage Hall following the board meeting.
Board members James Braswell and Mary McGhee were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
The Elementary District Teacher of the Year was Trista Houck of Salter Elementary. The District Secondary Teacher of the Year was Kimberly Mitchell, family and consumer science teacher at Talladega High. Houck and Mitchell were also the winners at their respective schools.
The remaining school winners were Stephanie Graves, Graham Elementary; Valencia McIntyre, Houston Elementary; Carrie Nabors, Young Elementary; and Candis Posey, Zora Ellis Junior High.
Patti Thomas, curriculum coordinator, and Tony Ball, superintendent, made presentations to the winners. Thomas said it is a huge honor for teachers to be recognized by their peers.
“Who better to judge superb teaching than those who work beside them every day?” she said. “The scores were very close because these school winners are fine examples of teaching excellence.”
Houck has a Bachelor of Science and master’s in elementary education. She has 12 years of experience in several states, including Texas and Tennessee. She has taught kindergarten, third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade.
Houck is a third-grade teacher at C.L. Salter.
Thomas said Houck believes it is exciting to be a part of helping children who at at times don’t have people in their corner pulling for them develop a love for learning.
“The day after the superintendent and I visited her school to let her know she had won, I received an email from Trista. Just the email alone helps one see how truly blessed we are to have Mrs. Houck employed,” Thomas said.
Houck said being named Teacher of the Year was an immense honor.
“I was taken aback when I was told that I had been selected as Teacher of the Year for the Talladega City school system,” she said. “Thank you for honoring my desire to pour into the lives of students that God allows me to teach on a daily basis. I am thankful to be a part of a school system and work among other educators and administrators that have the ability to help our students dream about how their lives can positively impact our community. I truly believe that the best is yet to come. Thank you for this amazing honor.”
Thomas read from one of the letters written in support of Houck.
“Mrs. Houck not only creates a learning community in her classroom, she also is a part of the learning community of teachers and staff at our school. Her guidance is impeccable, and she is trusted among her peers. We are blessed to be able to call her ours,” read Thomas.
Mitchell arrived at the meeting just in time to be honored. She was on her way to Montgomery for an educational meeting.
Mitchell has taught for 22 years. She has a Bachelor of Science in family and consumer sciences education, a master’s in family and consumer sciences education, in addition to an administrative certificate.
Her resume is extensive with many professional memberships; local, state, and national leadership roles; and numerous awards and recognitions.
Thomas said the nature of her classes allow Mitchell an opportunity to really change the direction of her students’ futures by exposing them to life outside of Talladega through the use of books, TV shows, Internet, job shadowing experiences, work-based learning experiences and FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leader of America) projects.
She has seen students gain paid internships with companies after high school due to her networking abilities and opportunities gained from programs.
A letter of support submitted by a recent THS alumni said he got his first job with a certification he earned in her class. He was elected to his first state level office, traveled the country as a representative for a national student organization and even got to meet the president of the United States as a presidential scholar of education.
Thomas said Mitchell is a leader inside and outside the classroom. “She is nothing short of a true leader, one who I will only meet the likes of once in my lifetime. She has found her calling in education, and that is nothing short of exceptional.”