Administrators announced that Chris Holder, an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Anniston Middle School, won the award in the secondary education category. Tenth Street Elementary School physical education teacher Brian McRae won for the elementary category.
Anniston City Schools Superintendent Darren Douthitt began the ceremony by talking about how he would help his grandparents churn butter when he was a child.
“The good stuff would always rise to the top, and today we’re here to honor the good stuff,” he said.
Administrators also presented Teacher of the Year nominees to an educator from each of the district’s seven schools.
Holder came to the podium and said he was beyond humbled by the award.
“Unless you’ve been on the other side of the chalkboard, you don’t know what goes on every day,” he said.
Holder, a native of San Diego, Calif., thanked his wife as well as all of the educators and officials in the district for their unrelenting support.
“I’m very thankful God put me under such great leadership,” he said.
Tenth Street Principal Dexter Copeland said he’s always impressed with McRae’s ability to keep so many students on task. Copeland added that McRae tries to incorporate academic learning into his class, too.
Upon taking the podium, McRae admitted he’s not much of a talker.
“I’m very honored to be able to represent Tenth Street Elementary,” he said.
School board member Bill Robison also congratulated the teachers and added that the district’s administrators deserved a round of applause for the support they’ve given the teachers of the year. In particular, he said, he wanted to honor outgoing Superintendent Joan Frazier, who will officially retire in June but has stayed on to help Douthitt acclimate to the position.
Robison said Frazier has been with the local school system for more than 25 years and hired many of the principals at the ceremony.
“I give her thanks from the depths of my heart,” he said.
The winners for each school are:
— Anniston High School: Spanish teacher Mirriam Shelton, who’s been at Anniston High for eight years. Shelton came to Anniston from Colombia.
— Golden Springs Elementary School: Pre-kindergarten teacher CheKesha Morris, in her second year at the school.
— Randolph Park Elementary School: Third-grade teacher Sara Johnson, a Heflin native who’s been at Randolph Park for two years.
— Constantine Elementary School: Second-grade teacher Chantel Russell, in her second year at Constantine. She came to the Anniston City Schools after graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
— Anniston Middle School (elementary): Sixth-grade language arts teacher Tiffany Jennings-Johnson, a University of South Alabama graduate who’s in her eighth year at Anniston Middle.
— Cobb Elementary School: Fourth-grade teacher Susan Grimes, a Gadsden native in her eighth year at Cobb Elementary.
Assistant Metro Editor Daniel Gaddy: 256-235-3560. On Twitter @DGaddy_Star.