Eight teachers from area schools were among the 34 honored by Weatherford College at the 2013 Jack Harvey Academy of Exemplary Teachers celebration Jan. 25 at the Doss Heritage and Culture Center in Weatherford.
In its 17th year, the Harvey Academy recognizes exemplary teachers in the memory of Professor Emeritus Jack Harvey, who taught at WC for 23 years and was considered among his peers as a “master teacher.”
Honored were Melissa Nivens, English language arts teacher, Alvord High School; Shawna Tomlin, second-grade teacher at Bowie Elementary; Nelda Cope, fifth-grade math and science teacher, Boyd ISD; Kay Short, middle school ESL teacher, Bridgeport ISD; Linda Duck, pre-K through third grade Title I reading and ESL teacher, Chico ISD; Jim Allsup, Agriculture/FFA adviser, Decatur High School; Bethy Tierce, second-grade teacher, Paradise ISD; and Michael Strickland, fifth through eighth-grade science teacher, Slidell ISD.
Melissa Nivens is a “perfect candidate to receive this recognition because of her dedication and commitment to each of her students,” said her nominator. “Mrs. Nivens is driven to ensure that all of her students succeed whether it is by providing individualized instruction or other opportunities for reinforcement of content. First and foremost, she simply makes learning fun and relevant. Mrs. Nivens encourages struggling students not to give up and celebrates the little successes that propel each student toward their academic and personal goals.”
Tomlin’s nominator said of her: “Shawna embodies the qualities of an effective teacher. She loves her students and sets high expectations for academic achievement. She is patient and goes the extra mile to make sure her students are successful.”
Nelda Cope’s nominator said, “She cares deeply about each of her students and their success in and out of the classroom. She has been teaching over 20 years and is truly ‘called’ and gifted as an educator. She continually seeks to find better ways to help each child be successful.”
Mrs. Short is adored and respected by her colleagues and students, her nominator wrote. “She works tirelessly to serve ESL students by providing them with incredible instruction and a caring heart. During this past year, Mrs. Short reinvented the BMS ESL program with amazing results. These students made double-digit improvements this year as they transitioned from TAKS to STAAR. However, her biggest contributions are made with her heart and the constant love and kindness she shows her students each day.”
“Mrs. Duck is exemplary because she has a heart for the students and their success; this shows in everything she does. Mrs. Duck is always the first to volunteer for any duty or activity; she has a dedication to the school, faculty and students. She organizes and leads all Title I programs throughout the school. Her upbeat, positive attitude ensures that everyone loves her; the students feel it is an honor to go to her class. This is a teacher who gives the students her best every day.”
“Jim Allsup is a teacher who leads by example,” said his nominator. “His commitment to his students, the FFA program and his horticulture class are beyond measure. He works side-by-side with his students and teaches them life skills they will use to pursue their goals. He continues to guide young people to success through these programs at a local, state and national level. Mr. Allsup expects leadership and commitment through hard work and strong study skills. He builds lifelong relationships with his students and their parents. Mr. Allsup loves what he does, and to him, it is not a job, it is a way of life.”
Mrs. Tierce has served in many capacities in education,” her nominator wrote of her. “She strives to educate in a manner that is exciting and encourages individuality. She is an inspiration to others and has continued her education, receiving her master’s degree in administration. She is a caring and wonderful example of what an educator should be.”
“Michael Strickland is truly dedicated to providing students with a quality learning experience each day they enter his classroom,” said his nominator. “His high expectations are evident in all that he does and students leave his classroom challenged and excited about learning science. Mr. Strickland exemplifies our mission of being ‘on track and leading the pack.’ As one student explained, ‘His name is Strickland for a reason – we strictly learn science in his class but it’s fun, and he makes us laugh.'”