Pathways to Excellence

A Monthly Newsletter from Shelby County Schools

December 2021

Happy Holidays to all our Shelby County Schools family! We hope you enjoy your break and spending time with your family and friends. Among the many events that occurred during December, one of the most important was the annual Teacher of the Year Celebration and Awards which is detailed below.
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2021-2022 SCS Teachers of the Year
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Teachers of the Year Honored

Congratulations to McKayla Hodges Hester, Elizabeth Howard, and Vicki Jackson for being named Shelby County Schools' top winners for Teacher of the Year. Hester, a K-3 reading intervention teacher from Vincent Elementary School was named Elementary Teacher of the Year. Howard, an 8th-grade math teacher at Chelsea Middle School was named Middle School Teacher of the Year. Vicki Jackson, an Algebra I and Geometry teacher at Oak Mountain Mountain Middle School was named High School Teacher of the Year. The Teacher of the Year Celebration and Award event was hosted by the Shelby County Schools Education Foundation on December 2 at the Shelby County Instructional Services Center. Special thanks to eCo Credit Union for its generous sponsorship of the event.


Click on the blue banner and video links below to learn more about our three winners.

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2021-2022 Elementary Teacher of the Year
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2021-2022 Middle School Teacher of the Year
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2021-2022 High School Teacher of the Year
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Elementary School TOY Winners Honored

Congratulations to our Elementary School Teacher of the Year Winners for 2021! Pictured are Kerri Parker (WES), McKayla Hodges Hester (VES), Elizabeth Roberson (SES), Krista Bender (OMIS), Charelette Smith (OMES), Amanda Hyslop (MES), Kelley Deason (LNLC), Niki Burke (IES), Melynda Parker (HIS), Patrick Riley (HES), Leigh Sullivan (FOES), Emily Vansant (EHES), Ashley Grainger (CPES), Adalene Symons (CAIS), and Dana Janney (CAES)
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Middle School TOY Winners Honored

Congratulations to the Middle School Teacher of the Year winners. Pictured are Talerie Jackson (MMS), Elizabeth Birdsong (COMS), Kaylin Knox (VMHS), Samantha Keaney (HMS), Haley Gunnels (OMMS), Elizabeth Howard (ChMS), and Courtney Tincher (CaMS). Not pictured: Susan Hancock (MHS).
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High School TOY Winners Honored

Congratulations to our High School Teacher of the Year Winners for 2021. Pictured are Vicki Jackson (OMHS), Rebecca Hicks (SCHS), Blake Ray (CTEC), LaTasha Thomas (New Direction), Melissa Copeland (HHS), Serra Ashley Smith (ChHS), and Jason Hamlin (CaHS).
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Oak Mountain Intermediate School fifth-graders from Chaney Klein's and Jennifer Colburn's classes recently celebrated the culmination of a cross-curricular project called "The Kleinburn Museum" by becoming published authors. The book features artwork the students recreated using themselves in place of the original subject/character of the piece, along with a creative writing piece that brings the story of the art piece to life. To read more about this amazing project, please click on the blue banner above.
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Students at the Shelby County Career and Technical Educational Center (CTEC) now have the latest in high-tech automotive technology to practice their skills thanks to a donation of a new 2022 Mercedes sport utility test vehicle from Mercedes Benz US International. To learn more about how this test vehicle will benefit students in three different CTEC programs, click on the blue banner above.

Emily Dunleavy Named Assistant Principal at Inverness Elementary School

Emily Dunleavy will serve as the next assistant principal of Inverness Elementary School after being approved for the position by the Shelby County Board of Education. Dunleavy has over ten years of experience in education and currently serves as the Instructional Technology Specialist with Homewood City Schools.


Dunleavy earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Alabama and a Master’s degree in Instructional Leadership from Samford University.

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CNP Coordinator Nathan Hayes Given Journey Shaper Award

Congratulations to CNP Coordinator Nathan Hayes for earning the Journey Shaper award from Dr. Lewis Brooks during the Shelby County Board of Education meeting held on December 14. Dr. Brooks recognized Hayes for going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure the school lunchrooms have been well-stocked despite grocery shortages and delayed deliveries.

Helena High School CNP Assistant Manager Melissa Tolbert recently captured a photo of Hayes unloading one of the grocery delivery trucks himself after CNP employees had left for the day to ensure the school had the food supplies they needed. Torbert also sent a message with the photo expressing how grateful the CNP staff is to have Hayes as their leader due to his willingness to always “go the extra mile with a smile on his face.”