Teachers of the year awards

Mike Staten, representing the CREATE Foundation and Dr. Kristy Luse, vice president of the Toyota Wellspring Education Fund, presented Teacher of the Year Awards to Heather Meadows - Ingomar Teacher of the Year, Claire Baker - West Union Teacher of the Year, Sara Beth Garrett – East Union and District Teacher of the Year and Leslie Gaines - Myrtle Teacher of the Year.  From left are Staten, Meadows, Baker, Garrett, Gaines and Luse.

Toyota Wellspring Education Fund at CREATE Foundation presented Teacher of the Year awards to Union County selected teachers at the Union County School Board meeting last Monday night at the school district’s main office.

Mike Staten, representing the Toyota Wellspring Education Fund Advisory Committee, presented the awards. Dr. Kristy Luse, vice president of the Education Fund, was also in attendance.

“We appreciate everything y’all do, no question about that,” Staten said before presenting the awards. “I know it's a dedicated job, something y'all have a passion for. We just say a simple thank you. Your work helps our community continue to grow and excel. You do a fantastic job.”

Dr. Luse, a former educator for 27 years, also shared a few comments.

“When you become a teacher, you do just about everything,” Luse said. “The thing that has been such a blessing is to see what is taking place -- to see the community-based accountability to make sure our schools are plugged in to what is happening in our workforce and economic development, but also to have that hometown relationship. There's nothing that can replace it.”

Toyota pledged $50,000,000 to go toward the school districts in the Pontotoc-Union-Lee Alliance when the car company announced its intentions to open a manufacturing plant in Blue Springs.  As part of that pledge, an endowment fund was set up through the CREATE Foundation and it was decided that some of the money would be used as stipends for local Teachers of the Year.

Sara Beth Garrett, named East Union and Union County Teacher of the Year, received $400 and a plaque.

Other teachers of the year received $200 each, as well as plaques. They were as follows:

  • Heather Meadows – Ingomar Attendance Center
  • Leslie Gaines – Myrtle Attendance Center
  • Claire Baker – West Union Attendance Center

In addition, the school district presented each teacher with an award in the shape of an apple that read "2019-2020 Teacher of the Year."

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