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Building Life Long Readers Metro Mobile Reading Council’s 2009 Outstanding Educators. Kristi Carlson.
Kristi Carlson is a first grade teacher at Hutchens Elementary School. It is evident that she is an excellent reading teacher from the moment you enter her classroom and see shelves loaded with genres of books that would peak any reader’s interest. She feels that it is valuable to get real books into kid’s hands and to immerse them in a classroom filled with words, stories, and writing to make reading feel real and exciting. She believes that getting familiar with reading series, book characters and authors encourages students to want more! To her, one of the best things about being a 1st grade teacher is to have the privilege to plant the reading seed in each child, to watch it grow, and to know that it will last forever.
Karen Dennis is a reading coach at Florence Howard Elementary School who utilizes innovative teaching and mentoring methods. She designs and implements appropriate instruction and interactive activities that teach the whole child. Her goal is to encourage students to strive towards being skillful readers. She is the coordinator of the Mobile Inner City Ministries. This program promotes confidence building strategies in young children. Her experiences in this program are mirrored in her professional realm. Ms. Dennis demonstrates commitment and perseverance towards academic achievement.
Debra Jacobs is a fifth grade reading teacher at St. Elmo Elementary School who continuously goes above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to her students. The ongoing student success reflecting in the fifth grade reading data is due to her long term efforts. She motivates her students to reach their individual reading goals each quarter, and challenges them to use higher level thinking skills. She implements a variety of strategies and tools in her classroom in order to meet each child’s learning style, such as graphic organizers, cooperative learning, “think alouds”, and technology. She is on her way to becoming a “Teach 21” technology teacher which will allow her the ability to move forward with educational advancements in this age of technology.
Nici Lowell is a teacher at JE Turner who not only teaches her students strategies for becoming better readers, but also encourages teachers to do an even better job at teaching. Students who have detested reading because they have struggled in the past, reach above average reading goals in Nici’s classroom. She holds writing tutoring for all students and also conducts the yearly Spelling Bee. She is the lead writing teacher at Turner and was the 2008-09 Turner Teacher of the Year. She also conducts professional development sessions at her school.
Audre McGriff is a Special Education Inclusion Teacher at Maryvale Elementary School. She has developed special reading programs at Maryvale, such as quarterly read-a-thons where classrooms compete to see how many books they can read and successfully take AR quizzes on those days. She utilizes her background in Reading Recovery to help all of the kindergarten and first grade students in the inclusion classes. She serves as the Maryvale PTO Treasurer, where her fundraising efforts provide motivating incentives for students who demonstrate excellent academic achievement and citizenship skills. She has helped Maryvale gain new Partners in Education who not only helped Maryvale get a new playground, but who also come to read at the read-a-thons. Her patience and dedication to literacy is evident in significant progress her students continue to make.
Michelle Nelson is the reading coach at Westlawn Elementary school where she works tirelessly with teachers to assist them in imparting reading skills. She never gives up on any child. The smile on her face lights up the room when a student finally “gets it”. She is the coach, master teacher, cheerleader, staff development guru, our morning reader, our bookroom organizer, our always willing to help, and our always positive number one reading teacher.
Rosanne Plash is the Reading Coach at Morningside Elementary School where she works diligently and tirelessly with the students, teachers, and the principal to make sure that all students reach their highest pinnacle in the learning process. She goes the extra mile to make sure the individual academic needs of all students are met. She served as the lead teacher for the Alabama Reading First Initiative Summer Program, is a mentor for teachers, is the school test coordinator, serves as BBSST Facilitator, and in on many other committees in her school. The consummate professional is always eager to learn different strategies and techniques needed to ensure that each student reaches proficiency in all areas.
Vivian Schultz is a kindergarten teacher at E.R. Dickson Elementary School. She believes that every child can be successful at something. She tries to build in each child a positive attitude toward himself and toward school. Her philosophy of teaching can be summed up in the phrase, “I teach children, not subjects.” She plants a seed of enthusiasm and nurtures a hunger for knowledge in each child. Ms. Schultz always looks for ways to tie science, social studies, language arts, and math into her reading lessons which helps her students make connections between their world and school. Her classroom is a safe, accepting place where every child is not afraid to try and where every child can experience the joy of learning.
Katina Smith Davis is a reading coach at Florence Howard Elementary School. She keeps the goal of 100% literacy in the forefront when planning professional development. Her passion for reading is reflected in all that she does. She brings parents on board with their child’s education through parent workshops she conducts throughout the school year. These workshops are an effort to support parents as they learn ways to help their child be successful in school. She works with programs like “Reach Out and Read: Doctors Promoting Childhood Literacy” because she believes that we must all work together to ensure that our children have the opportunity to realize their dreams.
Melissa Sigler is the Burroughs Elementary School Reading Coach. She has provided professional development to help improve reading instruction for the whole school. She plans, collaborates, and works with teachers to improve their students’ achievements. She always has a positive attitude about whatever comes her way. She also participates in her community through her church, Dauphin Way United Methodist where they have a pantry closet and work to feed the hungry.
Robin Turner is a Third Grade Teacher at O’Rourke Elementary School. Not only does she teach children to read, she teaches children to love to read. She has had a positive influence on children throughout her teaching career. She mentors new teachers and has been videotaped during reading in order to provide demonstrations of effective teaching. She goes beyond the adopted reading series to provide students with materials that are engaging and thought-provoking. She lovingly demands the best from her students. During our read-a-thons, she encourages third grade teachers to “step out” of their comfort zone. For example, this year, the third grade teachers came dressed as “old ladies” during several of our events dedicated to reading. She is always willing to go the extra mile to make all school events “better” for our students.
Donna Bradley is the reading coach at Hollinger’s Island School where she instills a love for reading in all of her students. She brings literature to life for her students. When the students read about pioneers, they become pioneers. They churn butter, square dance, and eat lunches out of buckets. When they read about astronauts, Mrs. Bradley comes to school in her NASA flight suit. Students eat pudding from plastic bags, and make constellations. As the reading coach at her school, she models lessons and shares her expertise.
She is also actively involved in professional development programs for teachers in her school and in Mobile County. Her published contributions to several professional books allow her to share effective reading strategies with teachers throughout the county. In addition, she has worked with MMRC’s annual Young Authors’ Conference.
Mrs. Thompson is the Metro Mobile Reading Council nominee for Alabama Reading Association Principal of the Year. She has been a staunch supporter of innovative and student centered reading programs. As a second grade teacher she developed many creative reading activities that helped develop lifelong learners in her classroom. When she became a counselor, she incorporated literature into her classroom counseling sessions. Now, as a principal she utilizes what she learned from her years in the classroom. When she heard about the Young Authors’ Conference, she encouraged Donna Bradley, her reading coach, to become involved in the program. Her support of this program produced a large group of young authors who participated in the 2009 Young Authors’ Conference. Mrs. Thompson has focused her school on reading and has successfully implemented the Alabama Reading Initiative at her school. She has also worked to make sure that her students have community support for reading and see a variety of people reading throughout her school. She has Partners in Education who read with students as well as parent volunteer readers. Mrs. Thompson is a principal dedicated to developing lifelong readers.