There were few words for a Pauls Valley teacher clearly taken by surprise when it was her name selected as the local teacher of the year.
For Amber White it was a kind of wow moment for her when she was the one selected for the top teacher honor during a gathering of Pauls Valley's educators Monday.
“There are so many great teachers here,” White said moments after her selection was announced.
“To be considered for this by my peers, just wow.”
White, one of five local site teachers of the year, teaches forensic science, physical science and anatomy at Pauls Valley High School.
She loves her work in the classroom with students.
“I like to see kids come into their own, more confident in themselves and their own abilities,” she said when asked what she liked most about teaching.
White now joins a number of other teachers of the year for the Pauls Valley School District with many in attendance at the gathering Jan. 20 at the local junior high auditorium.
Pauls Valley's other site teachers of the year include Jessica Collier at PV Junior High, Chelsey Schroeder at Lee Elementary, Sally Tucker at Jackson Elementary and Micaela Felan at Jefferson Early Learning Center.
School Superintendent Mike Martin says he always likes being a part of an event that honors achievement.
“I'm all about celebrating the accomplishments of students, teachers, anyone. It's great to see one of our teachers get this honor,” he said.
Mitzi Winters, principal at Jackson Elementary and administrator of the local Professional Development Committee, says it's always a tough chore each year coming up with just one teacher for the district-wide honor.
After teachers of the year are selected at each individual school, it's this committee which goes through the process of choosing just one – in this case teacher of the year for the current 2019-2020 school year.
“It can be tough to choose just one teacher out of that group,” Winters said.
“It's not just a simple popularity vote. The committee discusses it and looks at their accomplishments, awards and those things that go above and beyond.”
The committee is made up of teachers from each local school, a counselor and a representative of special services.
This week's gathering was topped off with one big group photo of current local teachers who actually are from Pauls Valley.