St. Clair teachers ready to prepare tomorrow's leaders today
by Gary Hanner
Aug 23, 2010 | 2436 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Penny Moore’s kindergarten students at the new Margaret Elementary School are pictured on their very first day of school. The students have a loft in their classroom that was donated by Dewey Scott’s family.
Penny Moore’s kindergarten students at the new Margaret Elementary School are pictured on their very first day of school. The students have a loft in their classroom that was donated by Dewey Scott’s family.
With an Institute Day that many said was the best in years, the first week of school in the St. Clair County School System was a success.

Two new schools, Moody Middle and Margaret Elementary, opened their doors to students eager to go inside and learn.

“Our first day of school at Margaret Elementary was absolutely wonderful,” said kindergarten teacher Penny Moore. “My kindergartners learned how to walk Margaret Elementary style in the hallway, ate lunch in the cafeteria, and went to visit the gym. We also read ‘The Kissing Hand’ by Audrey Penn.”

Institute Day, held at Bethel Baptist Church, was filled with many wonderful things, St. Clair Schools Superintendent Jenny Seals said.

Justin Burns welcomed everyone with a moving devotion about building relationships. Prayer was given by Ragland High student Brandon Hicks, while Moody Boy Scout Troop 230 led the Pledge of Allegiance. That was followed by Moody Junior High School student Jake Crowder singing the national anthem.

After videos of local teachers answering the question, “Why I Teach,” Seals delivered a welcome back devotion with a teacher’s version of I Corinthians 13.

She was followed by Ashville High’s Jada Curtis with her monologue, “Finding My Voice.”

Odenville Middle School student Shelby Hicks sang a song about teachers, “You Have Made a Difference.”

Trey Caldwell, a Springville Elementary School student, delighted the crowd as he came back from last year’s Institute to call roll and give a wrap up of all the accomplishments and events that have taken place over the last year.

Elise Adkins, senior at Moody High and the 2011 St. Clair County Junior Miss, gave a speech on how special her teachers have been in her life throughout the years, and that led into a pre-taped message from her grandmother, Nancy Myers, a retired school teacher and former St. Clair County student, highlighting her past teachers and her pride in the St. Clair County School System and their accomplishments. She challenged all to be thankful for the opportunity they have to teach.

Last but not least, a combined county choir from Springville High and Moody High sang a medley of songs from ’70s TV sitcoms and “Shenandoah.”

Dean Isdell, assistant principal at St. Clair County High School in Odenville, said the institute was the best he had been to in 27 years. “It was an entertaining and uplifting morning.” Isdell said.

Moody High School teacher Donna Turner concurred that this year’s Institute Day was something special. “It was one of the best institutes I’ve attended in my 18 years here,” she said. “We have had some good speakers before, but having our own kids make us feel like what we do is relevant to them was certainly inspiring and motivating for me as well as many others. I’m excited (again) about starting a new school year.”

Nancy Easterwood, a teacher at Odenville Middle School, said it was the absolute best institute she has been to in her six years with St. Clair County.

“Our students inspired and gave the best message for our institute,” Seals said. “They are the reason we are here. Even in these tough economic times, we want them to receive the best education from our schools.”

Jan Bailey, St. Clair School Improvement Coordinator, said the county school system is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to provide the best education possible for all its students.

“We’re working toward more imbedded professional development throughout the year on strategic teaching,” Bailey said. “We will have our quality assurance review in district accreditation Oct. 24-28. I was very pleased with how Institute Day was received and how our students and faculty took part in making it a memorable day. We worked hard as a team to put together a program that would inspire our teachers to focus on preparing tomorrow’s leaders today.”

Contact Gary Hanner at

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