From the time she was a little girl growing up in Odenville, Holly Sutherland knew she wanted to be a school teacher. Today, she is in her eighth year of teaching, and recently, she was named St. Clair County’s Secondary School Teacher of the Year.

"This means so much to me," Sutherland said. "I was honored when Mr. (Brian) Terry nominated me. Then I went to the countywide, and it’s just a big honor."

Sutherland said the next step is competing on a district level, at which 16 teachers from throughout Alabama will be chosen to compete for the state teacher of the year. She said she should know by April if she has been chosen to be one of the 16 finalists.

As a small girl, Sutherland lined up all her dolls and was their teacher. Better yet, Sutherland said she had the chance to teach all her siblings.

"I was the youngest of five," she said. "And, I was very bossy."

Sutherland teaches 10th grade English, pre Advance Placement English 10, and AP Language and Composition for 11th graders.

"I’m a 2000 SCCHS graduate," Sutherland said. "That makes it more meaningful. This is home to me. For me to be able to put back in what I got out from this great school means so much."

Sutherland attended Samford University where she earned an English Degree. She then earned a Master’s of Education from Jacksonville State University.

Sutherland said there is a possibility in the future of getting in administration.

"I’ve thought about Library Science or Media Specialist," Sutherland said. "I’m not sure yet, because I do love being in the classroom."

SCCHS principal Brian Terry said Sutherland is just a stellar teacher.

"You almost have to walk in her classroom to appreciate how good she really is," Terry said. "She is the most organized person in education I know. She is structured and has a demeanor that encourages students. She has every attribute as an educator. She is the total package when it comes to educating students."

Terry said he hopes Sutherland does well at the district level.

"I would love to see her go all the way and win state," Terry said. "I am thrilled for her, and so very proud of her."

Sutherland and her husband Jason have two boys – Brody, 4, and Abram, 1.