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Rebecca Wilson, at center, is “2023 Teacher of the Year” at Horizon Elementary School. She receives congratulations from Horizon Assistant Principal Wendy Pharo, from left, Horizon Principal Dr. Demetria Freeman, MCS Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols and MCS Assistant Superintendent Eric Terrell. CONTRIBUTED

‘Teacher of the Year’ at Horizon goes to Rebecca Wilson

MADISON – As Reading Coach, Rebecca Wilson believes reading is the foundation for all learning and is involved, no matter a person’s path in life. Wilson is “Teacher of the Year” at Horizon Elementary School.

An educator for 10 years, Wilson has worked solely with Madison City Schools. She taught third-graders for one year and first-graders for six years at Mill Creek Elementary School. She is now finishing her third year as Horizon Reading Coach.

A National Board Certified Teacher, for four years Wilson has mentored other teachers pursuing their National Boards. She co-sponsors Eagle Ambassadors Club.

“I believe ALL students can learn,” Wilson said. “I embrace a growth mindset and strive to help all kids to work toward their potential.”

“Not only do I want students to be able to read, but I want them to love it. If we can harness a hunger for learning in elementary school, it will set students up for success for the rest of their lives,” she said.

She also believes in setting high expectations for students. “Children are capable of a lot more than we often think they are. All children have greatness inside; it’s our job as teachers to help them strive for and realize that greatness,” Wilson said.

This year marks the first time that Wilson has witnessed former students at graduation. “I watched seven former third-graders walk across the stage at James Clemens graduation. I was so proud of them,” Wilson said. “Knowing I had the privilege to be a part of their educational journey was so exciting.”

“As Reading Coach, I (can) partner with teachers across the school. That gets me in lots of different classrooms. I love when students beg for me to come back to read or teach a lesson,” Wilson said.

Sometimes, kindergarteners ask her a question about a new phonics rule. “I did a lesson in some third-grade classrooms on the ‘schwa’ sound. Those students are fifth-graders now and still call me ‘the schwa lady’ every time they see me,” Wilson said.

This year, Wilson taught a writing unit for all fifth-graders and loved hearing the depth of their questions and realizations as they progressed. “One of my favorite things about this year is all the different students that walk up to me and want to share what they’re reading. They know that I care, and they want to tell me all about it,” Wilson said.

A Florida native, she attended Florida State University for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in child development with a specialty in child life. She also received a master’s degree in early childhood and elementary education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Before teaching, Wilson worked 9.5 years as a Child Life Specialist in children’s hospitals with cancer and burn patients.

She and her husband, Rev. Trav Wilson, have been married 19 years. Daughter Alex will be a sophomore at James Clemens. Daughter Lucy will start eighth grade at Liberty Middle School. Trav Wilson is Senior Pastor at Madison Methodist Church.

Rebecca is learning to play handbells at church. “I enjoy learning from the many talented musicians at church — even the kids in our Rockin’ Ringers Group,” she said.

Her pastimes include reading, spending time with my family (especially at the beach) and watching Alex play in James Clemens Band during marching and concert season.

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