Pauls Valley Democrat
It was pretty much surprise across the board for five Pauls Valley educators who recently received the news they had been named the top teachers for the year at their respective schools.
With their peers giving the final grades the teacher honors for the current school year go to John Inman at the high school, Melinda Alfred at the junior high, Sandy Samis at Lee Elementary, Dara Ammons at Jackson Elementary and Lynette Ramming at Jefferson Early Learning Center.
All five expressed complete surprise after their selections were announced either with someone making a visit to their classrooms or during school assemblies.
“I thought what in the world is she bringing in here,” Inman said, referring to Alaina Chronister, who walked into Inman’s class with an official congratulations for his selection as the high school, along with a big bag of candy bars.
“I had no idea that I had been selected,” he said. “I was surprised because there are a lot of good, quality teachers that do a great job here. I’m very honored to be in that company.”
Inman is a geometry teacher now in his second year as the Panthers head football coach.
Alfred, who splits time these days at the libraries of the junior high, Jackson Elementary and Jefferson Early Learning Center, was completely stunned as she was greeted by congratulatory gifts and balloons.
“I’m kinda surprised, just because,” Alfred said.
“It’s a great honor to be chosen as the teacher of the year. Sometimes as teachers we don’t get honored for what we do. It’s good to be recognized by your peers that you do a good job,” she said.
Alfred, a school librarian for more than two decades, gives a lot of credit to all the teachers and staff she works with at the schools.
The last of the announcements was made at Lee where Samis, who has 18 years teaching experience, is in her first year in Pauls Valley as a special education teacher.
“It was like the lottery,” Samis said moments after hearing the news.
“I didn’t have a clue what was happening when they walked in with a balloon and flowers,” she said.
“I was completely surprised. I was completely caught off guard and had no idea that was coming.”
Samis has what she calls an “intense” job but one she loves doing.
“I definitely have been called to do this. I am fortunate that I am able to do this,” Samis said.
This year’s honor at Jackson Elementary went to Ammons, who is a first grade teacher.
Ammons was getting into position to video tape her son during a program at the school honoring veterans when it was announced she was the school’s teacher of the year. It indeed took her by surprise.
“I think it’s great,” Ammons said. “I try to do my best with my kids. We have a good group up here, so it could have gone to any of us.”
Ramming, a special needs teacher at JELC, also learned of her honor while at a school assembly.
“I was very excited,” Ramming said. “It’s so cool. I’ve never been in a position to get this kind of honor. I called my husband and my mom a little bit later.
“I was so excited, the thought I was capable of being teacher of the year,” she added.
Members of the local school district’s Professional Development Committee will later conduct a more thorough review and select a district teacher of the year in January.