Woodard earns ‘Teacher of the Year’ honors at Madison elementary
MADISON – Elizabeth ‘Beth’ Woodard has been named “Teacher of the Year” at Madison Elementary School.
Woodard teaches a self-contained fourth-grade class, serves on the district’s math leadership team and coaches Madison elementary’s fifth- and sixth-grade math teams.
Those math teams resonated huge pride for Woodard this year. “My students worked incredibly hard as a team and (completed) extra work at home for tournaments,” she said. “They have reached and exceeded every challenge I presented.”
At the final tournament, Perennial Math at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, three teams placed. The fifth- and sixth-grade teams both won first-place medals. Blended teams from grades 5-6 placed at third.
Helping certain students overcome preconceived notions of themselves can be difficult. “Previous lack of success can really hinder children from moving forward, but, if teachers can convince students they’re capable of … rising to challenges, they can really flourish,” Woodard said.
Conversely, the reward comes when “those same children begin to believe in themselves. I get to watch them realize what they’re capable of accomplishing,” she said.
Woodard best remembers a fourth-grade girl with “low self-confidence, both academically and emotionally.” A “poor behavioral choice” landed the girl in the assistant principal’s office, where the child shared stories about her home life.
“She needed encouragement … someone to believe she was a good person,” Woodard said. “With her mother’s help, we set her up with counseling … and surrounded her with positive messages.”
The transformation was “amazing. (She learned) to believe in herself. She taught me that we all have reasons for our choices.”
Woodard taught two years at Walker Grant Middle School in Fredericksburg, Va. before joining Madison elementary six years ago.
Woodard earned a bachelor’s degree at Tennessee Technological University. This fall, she will enter graduate school at Samford University to study gifted/talented instruction.
Married 18 years, she and husband Keith have two sons: Andrew, 15, a James Clemens High School freshman, and Christopher, 12, a Madison elementary sixth-grader. Keith works as an engineer for the Boeing Company.