By Sarrah Peters
The Pitman Theatre in downtown Gadsden was the location of the 2016 Teachers of the Year Luncheon on Wednesday, May 4. This luncheon honored teachers from Attalla City, Etowah County, Gadsden City and private schools.
The Gadsden City High School JROTC posted the colors, then Don Campbell welcomed everyone. The Southside High School Choir entertained the crowd with three songs. Kate Falcon, choir member, said a few words thanking teachers for all they do for students. Cindy Greer of Westbrook Christian School gave the invocation.
Larry Lee, a columnist and an advocate for Alabama teachers, was the special guest speaker at the luncheon. Lee encouraged educators to open lines of communication with legislators and the community.
“I believe truly that education is everyone’s business,” said Lee. “Even though you don’t have children or grandchildren in school, you are impacted by what’s going on in the schools in your community.”
Kim Gray of Attalla Elementary, Crystal Sewell of Etowah Middle, Cindy S. McConnell of Etowah High, Matthew Hubbard of Carlisle Elementary, Melissa Behrens of Duck Springs Elementary, Stacy Hall of Gaston Elementary, Kelli Sizemore of Glencoe Elementary, Michael Lamb of Highland Elementary, Donna Walker of Hokes Bluff Elementary, Jennifer Golden of Ivalee Elementary, Holley Murphy of John Jones Elementary, Katie Sewell of Southside Elementary, Donna Riley of West End Elementary, Connie Eubanks of Whitesboro Elementary, Amy Travis of Glencoe Middle, Anna Teal of Hokes Bluff Middle, Lee Ann Stewart of Rainbow Middle, Karla McArthur of Sardis Middle, Lisa Bruce of The Etowah County Career Tech Center, Traci O’Barr of The Learning Center, Janet Wilson of Gaston High, Kirby Derrick of Glencoe High, Brian Boozer of Hokes Bluff High, Troy Elliott of Sardis High, Lee Vinson of Southside High, Christy McCormick of West End High, Casey Baker of Adams Elementary, Jennifer Strain of Eura Brown Elementary, Paulette Weaver of Donehoo Elementary, Teresa Davenport of Floyd Elementary, Sharon J. Reynolds of Mitchell Elementary, Joscelyn Martin of Striplin Elementary, Adrienne Latrice Edwards of Thompson Elementary, Teresa Mayne of Walnut Park Elementary, Alicia Harrell of Emma Sansom Middle, Katie Mullinax of Gadsden Middle, Tiffany Glover of Litchfield Middle, Ernestina Cady Hardrick of Gadsden City High, Jillian Neal of Coosa Christian Elementary, Karen Thompson of Holy Comforter Episcopal Day, Alicia Sullivan of St. James Catholic, Rachel Neal of Westbrook Elementary, Michelle Myrick of Coosa Christian High (honored posthumously) and Donny Pruitt of Westbrook Christian.
Along with being awarded Teacher of the Year at their schools, these following teachers were also awarded for their divisions: Kim Gray, Elementary Division winner for Attalla City schools; Cindy McConnell, Secondary Division winner for Attalla City Schools; Matthew Hubbard, Elementary Division winner for Etowah County Schools; Lisa Bruce, Secondary Division winner for Etowah County Schools; Paulette Weaver, Elementary Division winner for Gadsden City Schools; Ernestina Cady Hardrick, Secondary Division winner for Gadsden City Schools; and Michelle Myrick; Secondary Division winner for Private Schools.
The Appreciation Luncheon Committee Members were Pam Burgess, Don Campbell, Jamie Duncan, Charlie Gardner, Beverly Godfrey, Jean Gramling, Cindy Greer, Amanda Justus, Theresa Karpinski, Trish McBurnett, Kim Reed and Kelly Swafford.
This luncheon was sponsored by Ronnie Watkins Ford, Alabama Power, Regions Bank, Alabama Teacher’s Credit Union, BBVA Compass Bank, Devan Lowe Motors, Etowah Chemicals, Exchange Bank and Gadsden Regional Medical Center.
Kaitlin Fleming contributed to this article.