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MCS lauds Ballard, Cox as district teachers of the year

MADISON – At Institute Day for Madison City Schools on Aug. 1, Celynn Ballard was named District Elementary Teacher of the Year and Kimberly Cox as District Secondary Teacher of the Year.

Ballard teaches second-graders at Mill Creek Elementary School. She also has taught at West Madison, Madison and Rainbow elementary schools.

Ballard’s students can take risks without fear of making mistakes. “Mistakes often open the door for critical thinking, discussion and new learning opportunities,” she said.

“My kids and I often solve classroom problems together. Even young children can be amazing and insightful when brainstorming solutions,” Ballard said.

Ballard’s students laugh, sing and dance daily. “School has changed so much since I first started teaching. It has become far more stressful. Kids are expected to master more and more concepts at an earlier age,” she said.

“Kids need to be silly. Laughter plays such an important role in bonding and social interaction,” Ballard said.

Ballard earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Montevallo and a master’s degree at the University of North Alabama. Her husband Tom works as an electrical engineer at ADTRAN. Their children are Thomas and Kate.

Kimberly Cox teaches math at Bob Jones High School.

Cox “believes students learn best when they can discuss their thoughts, compare and contrast ideas and make connections to concepts they already understand.” Therefore, she encourages a fair amount of “working noise” in her classroom.

Previously, Cox taught for 10 years at Huntsville High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education and English from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and a master’s degree in secondary education with mathematics specialty from the University of Alabama.

Cox has guided Bob Jones Math Team consistently to phenomenal results. Guided by Cox, the math team has earned honors with Fall Start-up, Team Scramble, Ciphering Time Trials, Four by Four and Mathfax.

Her husband Gene Cox, also a math teacher, works at Monrovia Middle School. Their children are Ryan, Kaitlyn, Andrew, Will and Ben.

To determine teachers of the year at the district level, the Teacher of the Year and Staff Member of the Year at each Madison school, principals and three previous district winners evaluate the school winners from essays that each contestant has written. A scoring system applies a series of rubrics.



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