Tuesday was a night to celebrate excellence, as the Mathews County School Board recognized its three Teachers of the Year during a meeting held in the Thomas Hunter Middle School library.
The three honored educators—Lee-Jackson Elementary School second grade teacher Lee Ann Bray, THMS seventh grade science teacher Jerry Ligon and Mathews High School collaborative special education teacher LeAnne Shields—received accolades and gifts from area merchants in appreciation of their hard work and dedication.
THMS principal Mike Comer, in introducing Ligon, said that the award holds special meaning because the teachers are nominated and selected by their peers. "An opportunity to recognize excellent teachers is always appreciated," he said.
"She’s simply been the best in the business for a number of years," Lee-Jackson principal Drew Greve said, in introducing Bray, a teacher in her 17th year at the elementary school. Bray has been consistently excellent throughout her career, he said. "She’s really been saving kids for a lifetime," Greve said.
Ligon, a career switcher who served as a pilot before coming to Mathews schools four years ago, has come into his new profession with excitement and enthusiasm. "He decided that he wanted to impact young people in a positive way," Comer said, adding that Ligon is currently applying for grants to create an outdoor classroom at the middle school.
MHS principal Albert Green said that Shields has consistently stepped up to do more than is expected of her, taking on a World History I class in addition to her special education duties, starting an after-school academy to help students develop the study skills for success and even organizing the school’s prom. "It’s just endless," Green said of the tasks that she has taken on.