MCS honors its top teachers, support personPublished 7:24pm Thursday, January 9, 2014
Two Morgan County teachers and a school custodian were surprised and humbled when they were singled out for special recognition by Superintendent Bill Hopkins Jr. and a group of central office staff directors on Thursday.
The delegation traveled by school bus from the central office to West Morgan High, Eva Junior High and Brewer High schools to announce the system’s Teachers of the Year and Support Person of the Year, showering each of them with them with commemorative gifts and congratulatory hugs, handshakes and words of appreciation.
Eva fourth grade teacher Tracie Turrentine was teaching a unit on lighting new homes with her fourth grade students when Hopkins announced her as Morgan County’s 2013-2014 Elementary Teacher of the Year. She received hugs from her students after Hopkins extended congratulations and presented her with flowers and balloons.
“When I saw Mr. Hopkins, I thought what is he doing here?” said Turrentine. “I love kids and I always wanted to have the opportunity to teach them,” she added. “When I walk around and see all of the amazing teachers we have, I feel humble and thankful.”
Brewer High School custodian Patrick Dudley was unloading a truck at the cafeteria dock when he was summoned to the school concourse to learn of his selection as Morgan County’s 2013-2014 Support Person of the Year. He seemed shocked beyond words when he entered a classroom filled with students, and was told of his selection and received a vase of flowers topped with Snicker bars from Hopkins.
”This is surprise that makes me feel good,” he said.
Brandi Ashby, an English teacher at West Morgan High School, was on her planning period when Hopkins opened her classroom door and announced that she was Morgan County’s 2013-2014 Secondary Teacher of the Year. She was then escorted to a next-door classroom where some of her students were studying. They broke into applause when they learned of the honor she was receiving.
“I was shocked and a little nervous,” Ashby said, “because I don’t like a lot of attention.
I’m surprised but happy, knowing there are many teachers out there who deserve this as much or more than I do.”
Turrentine is her 14th year of teaching at Eva School. She also serves as basketball coach for seventh and eighth grade girls teams. Previously, she taught kindergarten at Eva School for four years and kindergarten at Rock Quarry Elementary School in the Tuscaloosa City School System.
She is a graduate of Calhoun Community College and Athens State University where she earned a B.S. degree in early childhood education.
Ashby has taught English at West Morgan High since 2002. Prior to that, she taught seventh grade English at Moulton Middlee School for one year.
She has a master’s degree in language arts from the University of North Alabama, a bachelor’s degree in language arts from Athens State University and an associate’s degree from Calhoun Community College.
She was honored as Morgan County American Legion Teacher of the Year in 2011 and West Morgan High School Teacher of the Year in 2013.
Dudley is known to school administrators, teachers and students alike for his strong work ethic.
“He is second to none when it comes to his work,” said Patrick Patterson, former Eva School principal. “He is a great role model and everyone loves him.”
Dudley has been on staff at Brewer for 12 years worked at Danville High for 10 years.
Nominations for Teachers of the Year were submitted by each school in the Morgan County School System. Nominations for Support Person of the year were open to the schools as well as the community. Dudley received 12 nominations.
Teachers of the year will represent the Morgan County School System in a state competition, the winner from which will be announced next April.