Redland Elementary School teacher Meredith Mitchell and Wetumpka High School teacher Sheena Chandler were chosen as Elmore County’s Teachers of the Year at a reception Monday afternoon.
Mitchell, a special education teacher, and Chandler, an English teacher, will represent Elmore County in the Alabama State Department of Education Teacher of the Year competition.
Mitchell has taught at Redland for 11 years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Auburn University Montgomery and a master’s degree in special education from Auburn University.
“The environment at Redland is wonderful,” Mitchell said. “I count it as a privilege to be part of a profession that impacts the lives of children and their families.”
Mitchell’s named her teachers from Wetumpka Elementary School and a brief summertime experience at AUM as reasons why she entered elementary education.
“The teachers I had at Wetumpka Elementary were great,” she said. “School wasn’t easy for me. The teachers took time with me.
“Then when I was a junior in high school, I got a chance to attend an interpersonal class at AUM. I spent time in the AUM Early Childhood Education department with children and liked it.”
Chandler has taught at Wetumpka High School for five years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Jacksonville State University and a master’s degree in secondary education from University of Alabama.
“I was a little shocked,” Chandler said. “I didn’t expect (the award). Praise is something most educators do not expect, but I am very appreciative.”
Chandler said from an early age she was influenced to teach, but it was two specific teachers who really interested her in the profession.
“My mom could tell you I wanted to teach before I could talk,” Chandler said. “I had a lot of wonderful teachers. Two stick out in my mind — one from fourth grade and a 10th-grade teacher who made English fun.”
Elmore County Schools superintendent Richard Dennis praised both teachers.
“Both of these teachers exhibit the hard work and dedication that impact their students in a positive way every day,” Dennis said.
Alabama’s Teacher of the Year serves as a full-time ambassador for education and the teaching profession and conducts workshops. The announcement for Alabama’s Teacher of the Year will take place in May.
The winning teacher will represent Alabama as a candidate for National Teacher of the Year.