Overpark Elementary School kindergarten teacher Amy Gardner has been named the Rotary Club of Olive Branch Teacher of the Year.
Gardner’s selection was part of the club’s recent Salute to Education, which also honored the Teachers of the Year from all of the Olive Branch area schools and presented four scholarships to Olive Branch area high school seniors.
Gardner’s list of accomplishments is a lengthy one and touches on school and community involvement.
Under Gardner’s leadership, for instance, Overpark Elementary has raised $147,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, which named her the 2016 Math-A-Thon Coordinator of the Year. Math-A-Thon has raised more than $450 million since it was started by the hospital in 1978.
“She would emphasize that a child’s education is not limited to the test scores,” said Center Hill Elementary School Principal Leslie Heyman in introducing Gardner. “Beyond the classroom, this teacher has created a culture of giving back to those in need.”
A committee each year reviews nominations for the award and selects one as a recipient from teachers in the schools that feed the city’s three high schools, Pleasant Hill Elementary, and Career Tech Center-East.
It has been a good year for Olive Branch area schools, as Heyman was named the DeSoto County School District Administrator of the Year and Center Hill High School instructor Judy Terry was named the district’s Teacher of the Year.
Two retiring administrators were also congratulated on their education careers during the Rotary luncheon event. Olive Branch Elementary School Principal Sunnie Barkley is retiring after 41 years in education and Claudette Smith of Olive Branch Intermediate School is stepping away after 48 years, including 41 years in DCS.
The four students receiving Rotary scholarships are Emily Miller and Lauren Snodgrass of Center Hill, Abbie Hunter of Lewisburg and Bethany Thomas of Olive Branch High.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.