AMORY – The Amory School District honored its school year ’20-’21 teachers and parents of the year Feb. 8 during its school board meeting, with West Amory Elementary School (WAES) first-grade teacher Lacey Lovelace being named as district teacher of the year.
Additionally, Amory Middle School Principal Nick Hathcock was named district administrator of the year.
The teacher of the year award is determined by nominations and votes among teachers.
WAES Principal Letricia French, who presented Lovelace as teacher of the year at her school, characterized her as living out the observation by Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said, “what you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you’re saying.” French said Lovelace is one of the quietest people in the building.
“She has a quiet demeanor but she doesn’t have to say a lot. What she does in the classroom for students speaks volumes,” French said.
Lovelace, a nationally board-certified teacher, is currently the PTO teacher liaison for the school. She was also named as Amory School District teacher of the year.
French also announced Courtney Boatright as the parent of the year for the school. She and her husband, Dr. Ben Boatright, are parents of two boys at the school.
“West Amory is a truly wonderful school with amazing administrators and faculty. I’ve been blessed to be a part of the family,” Courtney said.
She, who is a member of local service clubs, has played a part in making several donations to the school district through them. She also currently serves as vice president of the WAES Parent Teacher Organization (PTO).
“It’s at the heart of what she does. She is so giving and serving to our schools,” French said.
East Amory Elementary School (EAES) Principal Deidre Huntley presented April Brewer as the parent of the year for the school. Brewer is EAES PTO president, in addition to being a substitute teacher for the district.
“She is always at our building helping us out whenever we need anything,” Huntley said.
Huntley also presented third-grade teacher Heather Moody as the school’s teacher of the year. Moody has taught third grade at EAES for seven years.
“She has a humbling spirit. She loves our kids and our staff and never hesitates to step in and help wherever needed,” Huntley said.
Hathcock announced a tie for the parent of the year recognition shared by Nancy Hoang and Kelly Dabbs.
Dabbs serves as president of the Amory Middle School PTO, while Hoang assists her as vice president and treasurer.
“During this year of uncertainty, they have helped us to support and encourage our teachers and students through food, gifts and other tokens of appreciation. They offer valuable insights into our school and are always willing to go out of their way to help when needed,” Hathcock said.
He also presented Tracy Cox as the teacher of the year at Amory Middle School. Cox is a 28-year veteran with the Amory School District whose duties have included teaching special education and math and coaching basketball and softball through the years.
“Ms. Cox is a team player and truly personifies Panther spirit,” Hathcock said. “As a coach, she has taught her students many life lessons both on and off the court and field. Her motto has always been Play to win, and she brings this energy and attitude to work each day.”
Amory High School Principal Leigh Stanford presented teacher Mary Elizabeth Keohn as parent of the year for the school. Mary and her husband, Eric, are parents of three children – the youngest of whom is a junior. The two older siblings are graduates of Amory High School.
“She served in various roles throughout the district, especially in the last 10 years with soccer. She is presently on the soccer booster club board and committee chair and coordinator for the annual Pickle Barrel fundraiser. She has also served as the golf booster club treasurer for the past three years, as well as doing the majority of the planning tournaments,” Stanford said.
She added Koehn has also served as member and treasurer of the Amory Youth Sports Parents Association for 12 years, working with the Amory Parks and Recreation Department to organize softball and baseball tournaments and managing the concession stand during the spring and fall at different sporting events.
Stanford also presented Kristina Sawyer as Amory High School teacher of the year.
“She is the resident ACT math guru who has played an integral part in making virtual learning a success at Amory School District,” Stanford said. “She served as a guiding force for training provided to the district at the beginning of the year. She has researched and become the Google Classroom technical expert for teachers from all grade levels and subjects who have contacted her for help in how to do something. She’s still in contact with her students even after they graduate.”
Sawyer was named STAR Teacher at Amory High School in 2016-17 as well as 2017-18.
Amory Career and Technical Center Director David Millender concluded the evening’s recognitions by presenting its parent of the year award to Laura Beasley. Laura and her husband, Daniel, are parents of five children, with the youngest two currently attending Amory High School.
“She is a member of the Junior Women’s League of Monroe County where she is on the fundraising and volunteer committees,” Millender said. “For now, she has settled into the position of teenage daughter wrangler.”
Millender presented the teacher of the year award to retiring culinary arts instructor Dianne Young.
“She started our culinary program at Amory CTC and is completing her 11th year,” he said. “We hope that she will come back and visit, more than just occasionally and maybe even cook something for us while she’s here.”