North, Poff selected as Teachers of the Year

Published 12:07 pm Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It is often said that while the good teacher explains and the superior teacher demonstrates, the truly great teachers inspire.

That classification has recently been bestowed upon two of Greenville Middle School’s own educators as Debbie Poff and Marcus North were named Teachers of the Year.

Their Teacher of the Year titles were granted on the local level and, with both the district and state levels of the competition remaining, the award is only the first step on a long but rewarding process.

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The ultimate title of Alabama Teacher of the Year award is one of the oldest and most prestigious titles an educator can receive, with a strict selection process requiring evaluation across multiple tiers each of the local, district and state level.

At the local level, however, a committee composed of the school’s principal, a teacher, the librarian, the counselor and a student decides on the nominees and, ultimately, the winners.

And though the process grows exponentially more arduous as it progresses from tier to tier, the selection process at the local level perhaps holds the most charm of all for North.

“The fact that a student is on the committee is a big factor because we as colleagues, teachers and instructional leaders can tell each other that we’re doing a good job,” North said.

“But hearing that come from the actual students is a very high accolade because they’re saying that they appreciate what you’re doing for them.”

Once the school nominees are revealed, each teacher fills out an application to advance to the district level of the competition, where the Butler County School District will then chose two nominees to represent the district at the state level.

State nominees provide their philosophy of teaching, a resume and letters of recommendation from former students and parents, as well as a DVD for evaluation purposes.

But despite the difficulties associated with the selection process, North said that he was thankful for the opportunity.

“I think it’s awesome, and it’s confirmation that what you’re doing in the classroom is not in vain,” North said.

“Although you may feel like that sometimes because the kids may seem like they don’t want to be at school because they’re teenagers, sometimes that’s how we all feel.

“Once you are recognized for the things you’re doing in the classroom and because of the students’ behavior and performance, it’s a big deal.”