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City schools honor teacher of year
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Pam Heath (left), superintendent of Martinsville Public Schools, presents the division’s Teacher of the Year Award to Roxanne Collins of Patrick Henry Elementary on Tuesday night at Forest Park Country Club. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Roxanne Collins, a third-grade teacher at Patrick Henry Elementary School, is Martinsville City Schools’ 2013-14 Teacher of the Year.

The announcement was made at the school division’s Employee Recognition Banquet Tuesday night at Forest Park Country Club. Nearly 175 people attended.

The other school-level Teacher of the Year winners also were recognized: Amy Clemons, who teaches 4-year-old preschool children at Clearview Early Learning Center; Alisha Britton, special education teacher at Albert Harris Elementary; Donna Lowery, seventh-grade English teacher at Martinsville Middle School; and Devon Wall, social studies teacher at Martinsville High School.

School-level winners were selected by their peers. A committee, including educators outside the division, selected the school division’s Teacher of the Year, schools Superintendent Pam Heath said.

Ashley Diaz, a fifth-grade teacher at Patrick Henry Elementary, introduced Collins as that school’s Teacher of the Year. Diaz described Collins as, among other things, “an amazing teacher,” hardworking, loving and encouraging.

“Mrs. Collins builds relationships with parents and students, and she provides tutoring for struggling students,” PHES Principal Zebedee Talley Jr. wrote.

“Mrs. Collins is a very enthusiastic teacher whose dedication and passion for her students is extraordinary. ... Her students trust her and express that she genuinely cares about their well-being. There is an air of love and compassion that permeates her classroom yet she always attempts to challenge students with rigor while attempting to reach every student. ... She volunteers many afternoons to tutor students who are not a part of our traditional after-school program,” Talley wrote.

“Mrs. Collins left a successful career in financial banking so that she could mold and develop young people. Students love her and parents consistently lobby to have their children involved in programs with her,” Tally wrote.

Collins said it is great to fulfill “this dream I’ve had all my life.” This is her fourth year of teaching.

She has served as substitute grade level lead teacher, chairperson on several committees and school representative at several professional conferences, often bringing back valuable information to her peers, Talley wrote.

Here are some highlights about the other school Teachers of the Year:

• Wall, Martinsville High School: She has five years of teaching experience, according to MHS Principal Ajamu Dixon.

Dixon wrote that Wall “is a fantastic teacher with an extremely passionate heart for students. She works tirelessly to support, instruct and motivate young people. ... She is a positive influence on the faculty, staff and student body. ... (She) has served as an advocate for students. She is an ‘out of the box’ thinker, and the students she serves benefit from her creative problem-solving capabilities. ...

“She is a teacher leader and currently serves in several leadership positions, including Response to Intervention Team member.”

• Lowery, Martinsville Middle School: She has 28 years of teaching experience. She also is seventh-grade team leader, division representative for the Martinsville Education Association, and coaches girls track and cheerleading, according to MMS Principal Cynthia A. Tarpley.

Tarpley wrote: “Dedication, caring, firmness, fairness and accountability are hallmarks of her classroom. ...She comes up with creative ways of correcting the problem behaviors while also serving as a valuable learning experience. ... Many students blossom as learners while in Mrs. Lowery’s class. ... Her unique teaching style is a perfect fit for students experiencing the often-distracting middle school years.”

• Clemons, Clearview Early Learning Center: She has been an educator for 17 years and has taught various grade levels/subjects, ranging from preschool to eighth grade, according to Sheliah W. Williams, director of the center.

“Mrs. Clemons is a very creative and enthusiastic teacher whose dedication and passion for her students is extraordinary. ... Mrs. Clemons works to make each child feel comfortable and safe in the classroom, build their self-confidence, make education fun and enticing, while instilling in each of them the love of learning. ... She goes above and beyond to bring new, innovative ideas and lessons to her class.”

“She is a teacher leader and currently serves in several leadership positions, including our school’s instructional coordinator and district leadership team,” Williams wrote. “She has served as team leader, supervised two student teachers, and often provides guidance and support to new and veteran teachers.”

• Britton, Albert Harris Elementary School:

“(She) has been a special education teacher at Albert Harris ... for five years, and without a shadow of a doubt, she has been a huge asset to our school community,” wrote AHES Principal Felicia Preston.

Preston wrote that students with whom Britton works said she “is good, kind and nice. She helps us learn so we can graduate, and she gives good hugs.”

According to Preston, the paraprofessional who works in Britton’s room said: “She is well-organized, takes her time to really help students and adults, and goes way beyond her regular duties as a teacher to make her students feel special.”

The honor presented Tuesday is called 2013-14 Teacher of the Year because school division winners advance to regional competitions, regional winners advance to the state level, and the state winner advances to national competition, a lengthy process.


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