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Teachers of the Year: DCSS recognizes outstanding teachers; two to be nominated for statewide award

The Demopolis City School System honored one teacher from each of the system’s four schools with the Teacher of the Year for 2018 on Dec. 19.

Terri Speegle from Westside Elementary School, Jennifer Helms from U.S. Jones Elementary School, Jackie Tripp from Demopolis Middle School and Tonya Thornton from Demopolis High School were all nominated and voted on by their peers at their respective schools.

A special committee, along with Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff, will assess each teacher’s resume and two letters of recommendation in order to nominate one teacher from DHS or DMS and another from WES or USJ to the Alabama State Department of Education for the State Teacher of the Year award.

According to Kallhoff, the two nominees will then send exhaustive applications to the state to be considered. The applications will not only focus on the teachers’ academic records, but also their leadership and additional activities as teachers.

“It’s what they do in the class, but also the other things they do in the schools,” he said.

The State Teacher of the Year will be announced in late April and will also represent Alabama as a candidate for National Teacher of the Year.

While not all school systems participate in the Teacher of the Year awards, Kallhoff said it’s an important part of the DCSS.

“I think you need to take any opportunity to continue to recognize teachers,” he said.

Each teacher was presented with a plaque, a certificate and a $10 gift certificate to Batter Up Sports Bar & Grill. Sponsors for the DCSS Teacher of the Year award are Batter Up Sports Bar & Grill, Robertson Banking Company, Sweet Water State Bank and the Demopolis Board of Education.

Speegle teaches second grade, Helms teaches fifth-grade reading and social studies, Tripp teaches eighth-grade math and Thornton teaches math for ninth through twelfth grades.

(A photo for DMS Teacher of the Year Jackie Tripp is unavailable.)

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, January 2 issue of the Demopolis Times.)