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Roden named HCS Secondary Teacher of the Year

Leah Roden, a science teacher at Hartselle Junior High School, has been recognized as the 2014 Hartselle City Schools Secondary Teacher of the Year.

Her selection was announced at a school board meeting Dec. 15.

“I was shocked,” the 1983 Hartselle High School graduate stated. “You never feel like you’re deserving of such an honor when you’re surrounded by coworkers who are so dedicated, talented and successful. I feel any one of them are just as deserving to receive the honor.”

“I’m thrilled that one of our own was chosen for this honor,” said Hartselle Junior High School Principal Dr. Robbie Smith. “Leah is a high quality teacher, very student centered, but beyond that she is a great person.

“She cares about her students and wants them to be successful,” she said. “In her classroom, students experience change of pace and lots of hands-on stuff she has created. She is so humble and totally focused on the kids.”

Leah Roden
Leah Roden

Roden has taught at HJHS for 23 of the 24 years in her education career. She has taught science for four years and previously was an English teacher for 19 years.

“I didn’t choose education as a career choice initially,” Roden said. “I attended Calhoun Community College and UAB where I studied to be a medical laboratory technician and received an associate degree. Then I realized I wanted a four-year degree and the option to teach. Once I started teaching, I never looked back.

“I love working with young people,” Roden said. “My love for them and my interest in their futures is what drive me. Everyday is a new adventure. They are so much fun to be around.

“I hold them to a high standard in their studies,” she said. “I’m not afraid to try new things and I try to treat them the way I would want my kids to be treated.”

In addition to her work in the classroom, Roden is a leader in other school and community-related activities. She has served as director of the HJHS Veterans Day Program and is a sponsor of a mentoring team.

“The mentoring team is made up of student leaders,” Roden said. “Each one is assigned to either a new student or a student who needs outside help for a year. Their mission is to help a newcomer make friends and get settled down in a new learning environment as well as to offer academic assistance to students needing help.”

Roden is married to Jamie Roden, a retired Hartselle educator who is currently serving as an assistant girls basketball coach. He also works part-time for Peck-Glasgow Agency and serves as associate pastor for Lifepoint Church in Decatur.

They have two daughters. Emily Roden Gentry is a pharmacy student at Auburn University who is on track to graduate in May. Allie Roden is a senior at Hartselle High School who plans to pursue nursing as a career at Auburn University.