Penn is teacher of the year

March 28, 2012

By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer

Alice Penn, a special education teacher at Albert Harris Elementary School, is the Martinsville School Division’s 2012-13 Teacher of the Year.

Penn and teachers of the year for each city school were honored Tuesday during an appreciation banquet at Martinsville High School.

Before she received the division-wide award Tuesday night, Penn was named teacher of the year for Albert Harris. Also named school-level teachers of the year were Kim Norris, a preschool teacher at Clearview Early Learning Center; Logan Stana, a first-grade teacher at Patrick Henry Elementary School; Andy Adkins, a seventh-grade math teacher at Martinsville Middle School; and Kiki Smith, a special education teacher at Martinsville High School.

Each school’s winner was selected by his or her colleagues. The winners then wrote essays about their teaching philosophies, and a panel of local educators chose the school system’s overall winner, said Superintendent Pam Heath.

“As far as I’m concerned, you all are great teachers of the year,” Martinsville School Board Chairman Bill Manning told teachers at the banquet.

“You will never know each day if something you do or something you say will influence a child,” he told them.

Jenell Tyndall, a fourth-grade teacher at Albert Harris Elementary School, said Penn “has such a passion for helping children.”

Penn does whatever it takes to meet the needs of her students, whether it is going to their parents’ homes to get paperwork signed, working with students during her planning time or simply giving a child a hug, Tyndall said.

Albert Harris Principal Tamra Vaughan said Penn does not give up on students and will not let them give up on themselves. Penn sees the potential in each child and pushes until that potential is realized, Vaughan said.

Penn will represent the school system well as Teacher of the Year for the coming year, Heath said.

“I’m very touched that my colleagues would choose me,” Penn said after the banquet.

“I’m really honored, excited and surprised,” she added.

Penn, who lives in Martinsville, received a standing ovation from teachers and administrators when she received the top honor.

The other nominated teachers also were described Tuesday.

Adele Boyle, WEE3 teacher at Clearview, said Norris “makes people feel comfortable from the moment that you meet her.”

“Her creativity blossoms from the children, and her high expectations make them (the students) flourish,” Boyle said.

Stana, Patrick Henry Elementary’s teacher of the year, could not attend the banquet Tuesday because she was interviewing to work this summer at a camp for children with disabilities, said Lizzy Fulcher, a first-grade teacher at Patrick Henry.

In describing Stana, Fulcher said, “her (class) room is a place that the kids want to be ... she’s a caring and loving and outstanding individual.”

“Every time you see her, she is always smiling,” Fulcher added. “She always puts her students’ needs first.”

Martinsville Middle teacher of the year Adkins is like a “big brother” to his students, said Anne Bryant, special education teacher at MMS.

Adkins gives his students a feeling of belonging, accepts them and is patient with them, Bryant said.

“He has a deep desire to see his students succeed,” she added.

Smith, the MHS teacher of the year, is the “kindest and most concerned teacher,” said Heather Tolbut, who teaches social studies at the high school.

Smith truly believes that every student can learn, and she makes all of her students and colleagues “feel valued and appreciated,” Tolbut said.

Also during the banquet, numerous teachers were recognized for awards they have received and notable accomplishments they have made this school year.


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