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Two teachers have been chosen as the Montgomery Public Schools' 2014 Teacher of the Year.
Wilson Elementary teacher Denise Nelson and Booker T. Washington Magnet High teacher Rachel Dudley have received the award. The two will now go on to represent the district in the Alabama Teacher of the Year Program.
Nelson and Dudley competed with more than 2,000 elementary and secondary teachers across the district. The two will now compete against teachers from all across the state.
"Mrs. Nelson and Mrs. Dudley are inspiring teachers whose vision for education is not limited to the tangibles of academic achievement, but include equal measures of compassion and creativity," said Margaret Allen, MPS Superintendent. "They know how to bring their lesson plans to life, mold thoughtful, caring students, and push past barriers to achievement to help their students succeed. I couldn't be happier for our nominees. I know they will represent MPS well."
Denise Nelson has been teaching for 20 years, and currently teaches second grade. She has been honored with numerous awards including: Teacher of the Year honors from Garrett and Wilson elementary schools, National Master Certification in reading through Renaissance Learning, the Alabama Power Company's Power Educator Award and National Board Certification. She has also received numerous grants from the Montgomery Junior League, University of Alabama's STAR Project and the Alabama Department of Education to fund educational projects.
"Denise is a real innovator. Her enthusiasm for teaching and her love for students is evident in everything that she does," said Meredith Bishop, Wilson Elementary Principal. "Her experience, knowledge and ability to problem-solve make her an asset to our school and the district, and she is she is respected by her peers. I don't believe there is anything that Denise cannot do. She gives 100 percent!"
Rachel Dudley has been the visual arts teacher at Booker T. Washington since 2001. She has guided students to win prestigious state, regional and national art awards. Dudley and her classes have served the community by volunteering to create murals for the Montgomery Area Women, Infant and Children's Center, Hutchinson Street Missionary Baptist Church and MPS Children's Center. Dudley's classes have also conducted art workshop for students with exceptionalities.
"Our students understand, through Mrs. Dudley's leadership, that the value of their work is best measured by the people who are inspired by their work," said Quesha Starks, Booker T. Washington Principal. "Her commitment to the teaching profession is a beautiful canvas; her experiences are the brush strokes that inspire thought and closer inspection; and her vision for a diverse community of learners creates color and texture. Her portraiture in education is a masterpiece that adds quality to the lives of her students one day, one lesson, and one achievement at a time."
The Alabama Teacher of the Year Program seeks to recognize excellence in the teaching profession annually, by identifying outstanding Alabama classroom teachers at the local, district and state levels. The winners of the Alabama Teacher of the Year Award serve as an ambassador for the teaching profession and education in general, speaking to carious groups to raise awareness of educational achievements, issues and needs.
Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.