W e congratulate LeAnn Morris for being named the teacher of the year for the entire state. But we also want to thank the Empire Elementary School technology teacher.
First, for the strong likelihood that she has positively changed the lives of many of her students. How many adults can point all the way back to their elementary school days to find teachers who influenced their lives, and served as role models for when times got tough? And how many people can trace their love for learning to a teacher who had a passion for it, not to mention the kindness to share it with students? Morris serves as a role model not only for students, but for young teachers who can perpetuate her love for teaching.
Secondly, the award reminds us that no matter what programs the state's lawmakers and analysts come up with, they will not work unless you have skilled and caring teachers.
It is Morris and the other staff members at Empire who have, against all odds, created a remarkable success story at a school that some said had no chance of meeting the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.
In whatever the state's decision-makers decide to try to lift us from the pit of education rankings we share with states like Mississippi and Alabama, we hope they keep in mind the importance of rewarding the really good teachers, like LeAnn Morris.
The cost for a good teacher should be high, but it will pale in comparison to the dividends their lessons will play in the lives of countless children.