Morgan County Schools meet for Teacher Initiative

Charley Gaines

Hartselle Enquirer

 

Students in Morgan County students started school Aug. 10, but teachers had one more chance to prepare for the new school year Wed., Aug. 3, when they all gathered at Somerville Baptist Church for the Morgan County Teacher Initiative.

The breakfast for the teachers started at 8 a.m., but the meat and bones of the initiative started around 8:30 as school board members, teachers and students made their way to the front of the sanctuary to give words of encouragement and motivation to the teachers starting the 2016-2017 school year.

Connecting is the theme for the school year, according to Superintendent Bill Hopkins Jr. ‘We have so many people who connect with teachers. We connect to move these teachers and these students forward.”

Hopkins recognized different organizations and groups within the audience, including county and state leaders. Senator Arthur Orr, a representative for Senator Mo Brooks, County Commission Chairman Ray Long and other county and state leaders.

The Morgan County Board of Education also recognized their National Board Certified Teachers, and then a representative from United Way stepped up on stage and explained how the organization is involved with the school system and vice versa.

The Morgan County Schools Foundation Board came forward to address teachers before the school year. The representative talked about the “theme” for the school year that has been woven throughout different meetings, speeches, etc., from school leaders. The theme that keeps popping up and will surely pop up throughout the year is “connect: leaving a legacy.” Teachers within the school system who grew up and successfully came out of the Morgan County school system came to the front of the room to share their stories on how teachers in the school system made an impact on them, and those teachers were presented with certificates of appreciation and recognition.

Danville High School Principal Marty Chambers presented his award to Coach Lane who has since retired from the Morgan County School system.

“I always knew he cared about me,” Chambers said. “He was like a second dad to me. I could have gone either way because of how I grew up, but Coach Lane made an impact on me in a way that made me want to impact kids lives as a teacher.”

One after the other, teachers got up on stage to tell stories of how their lives were impacted with the connections that their chosen teacher had on them at that time and how it carried throughout their lives. Those teachers include Morgan County School Board member Jimmy Dobbs, Chambers, Director of Transportation Hank Summerford and Director of Federal Programs Jackie Kinney.

Morgan County Schools also named their 2015-2016 Support Person of the Year who was Darlene Jewellson of Sparkman School. The school system also named their Elementary Teacher of the Year who was Paula Owens of Falkville Elementary. The Secondary Teacher of the Year was Kathleen Larsen of Brewer.

Younger students in the West Morgan Elementary School Choir got on stage to sing “Lean on me” and “ABC” by the Jackson Five.

Superintendent Hopkins closed the program with a characteristic, empowering speech to get the teachers ready and excited for the school year. “Go out and connect with teachers and other faculty, but most importantly, go connect with your students.”

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