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Renee Wallace Named Teacher of the Year; Heather Leonard is School Related Employee of the Year

The best of the best in the Calhoun County School System were recognized at a luncheon held last Thursday at Blountstown High School. Following the meal prepared by the BHS culinary students, the nominees were introduced and winners were announced. Renee Wallace of Blountstown Elementary School has been named 2012 Teacher of the Year and Heather Leonard of Carr School is the School Related Employee of the Year. Renee, who is married to Richard Wallace, grew up in Calhoun County and now serves as a third grade teacher at BES. She has been an educator for 16 years, transferring to BES from Altha three years ago. “For me, the most rewarding aspect of teaching is helping my students realize their potential,” Wallace remarks. “There is nothing more satisfying than watching a struggling student finally make the connection between effort and success.” It is clear Wallace appreciates her students and fellow faculty members. “I really enjoy the positive leadership and the climate at BES,” she says. “It’s obvious that the teachers I work with really love teaching.” For those considering a career in education, Wallace would certainly recommend this profession. “I would encourage anyone who is interested in teaching to find your place in the classroom,” she says. “As I have, you’ll discover how much your life can be enriched by teaching children.” Over at Carr School, Heather Leonard has been a familiar face to students for many years. She serves as a para-professional for physical education classes, as well as working in library management and circulation. “The most rewarding aspect of my job is developing relationships with the students and being a part of their growth and development from kindergarten through eighth grade,” says Leonard. “There are so many reasons why I love what I do! At P.E., the students that finally master a skill like dribbling a basketball, crossing the monkey bars without help, running the track without stopping to walk, and catching a pass for their flag football team. In the library, encouraging the students as they are reading and trying to meet their AR goals. Just being a part of their lives as they grow and mature and having them greet you each morning with a hug or high five is the most rewarding experience. I love my job!” Heather is married to BHS teacher, Joe Leonard, and they have two sons, Daniel and David, who are both in college. She points out it takes everyone working together to make a school successful. “At Carr School, everyone is a team member. I am so proud to be a part of the Carr School family!” Superintendent Tommy McClellan says he is proud of the winners and all the nominees who were honored this year. “We talk so much about tests and academic achievements that sometimes we get lost in the shuffle,” McClellan remarks. “It was a great day to be able to recognize some of the unsung heroes in our school system. It was such an uplifting experience to hear our principals and district staff say such nice things about people they work with every day. We are a great school district because of all the effort and hard work given by these people. In football, sometimes everybody gets a large amount of credit without mentioning the job done by the offensive linemen. Sometimes it is the same way in the school system. We give so much credit to the academic side, we fail to mention the important roles played outside the classroom. We would be in sad shape without bus drivers, lunchroom workers, custodians, maintenance and tech personnel, secretaries, para professionals, and data entry people.” McClellan adds, “The Bible often refers to the church as a body where all the parts work together to carry out the duties that make it so successful. It is the same type thing in the school system. We need everyone doing their jobs to make it work smoothly.”

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