Gayle Pelham of Hackett was named the Western Arkansas Teacher of the year.
Mrs. Gayle Pelham, elementary teacher at Hackett schools has been named the Western Arkansas (Guy Fenter Education Service Cooperative) teacher of the year for 2022.
Mrs. Pelham has taught a total of 35 years in the Hackett School system, most of those years teaching 5th and 6th grade science and social studies. The award was presented to Mrs. Pelham in front of the student body by Dr. Curtis Varnell of the educational coop. In presenting the award, Dr. Varnell commented on the dedication and commitment exhibited by Mrs. Pelham in obtaining and exhibiting the best and most current teaching practices available. “When we held educational training and meetings, you could always depend on Mrs. Pelham being there. On several occasions, she gave up two weeks of her summer schedule to attend meeting every day at the coop.” “ On Monday nights, Steve Brodie at U/A Fort Smith held teacher training sessions. Same thing, Mrs. Pelham was there learning and bringing back best teaching practices to her “kids.”
Mrs. Pelham practiced hands-on learning. Her kids could be seen making rockets, designing mouse-trap cars, and making systems to filter water. Her success in teaching showed up at several regional STEM competitions in which her kids received awards, competing against thousands of students from around the state.
Students and teachers stood and clapped in appreciation as the plaque was awarded, followed by dozens of hugs from current and former students. As Mrs. Pelham remarked, the studentsappreciation was the biggest reward you could receive for years of teaching.
Awarded annually, the Teacher of the Year is selected from the several thousand teachers who make up the 22 public school districts and more than 50 schools which comprise the Guy Fenter Education Cooperative region. The teacher is nominated by a fellow teacher and selected by their peers. Mrs. Pelham is the first teacher from the Hackett School district to receive the award.