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May 23, 2014

Two JISD instructors honored as district’s teachers of year

JACKSONVILLE — Two instructors were recognized as JISD teachers of the year during Monday's school board meeting.

Jacksonville High School Algebra II instructor Carol Cummins was named the district's Secondary teacher of the year, while Molly Thrash, a math coach at West Side Elementary, was honored as the JISD's Elementary School teacher of the year.

The two were among eight teachers – one from each JISD campus – nominated for exemplary teaching performance.

In her application, Cummins pointed out “it has been said that algebra is the gatekeeper for all upper level mathematics courses. My job is to keep that gate open wide so that all of my kids have the option to enter any university or profession of their choice.”

Her desire, she added, “is to build a strong foundation so that they are prepared for future challenges (and) my greatest reward is when I hear from our Jacksonville graduates and they tell me how successful they are being in their college classes.  

“When I hear these success stories, I look back at my years of teaching and realize it has all been worth it,”

she said.

Thrash, who also serves as an interventionalist at her campus, wrote “there are three specific areas in which teachers should strive toward in order to be at least minimally successful.”

One is to “model a world of equality in which all students are treated fairly regardless of differences,” another is to foster a classroom environment that is not only inviting, but elicits “risk-taking, collaboration and mutual trust,”

she said.

Finally, “in order to be

uccessful, teachers should make every effort to reach all of the children in the classroom, even if that means going beyond what they have traditionally done in the past,” she said.

By tapping into what they know and piquing their curiosity about what they haven't yet learned, “in the end, (teachers) hopefully create a learning experience that has been rewarding for everyone,” Thrash said.

This year's nominees included middle school 7th grade math instructor Barbara Lowrie, Nichols Intermediate 6th grade social studies teacher Cynthia Ellis, Fred Douglass PK-4 music instructor Bobbie Smith, self-contained classroom instructor Denise King of Joe Wright Elementary, East Side PK-4 music teacher Jan Childs and Compass Center 6th through 8th grade math/English Language Arts instructor Andrea James.

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