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Oliver transitions to instruction specialist for MCS

MADISON – As Secondary Education Instruction Specialist, Mary Oliver will implement initiatives so Madison students can access the best possible opportunities.

 “It’s an exciting time in Madison City Schools. I’m honored to be part of great work by the MCS Instructional Team,” Oliver said. “When this opportunity arose, I wanted to take advantage of it to use my expertise.”

Oliver will support collaboration of Secondary Instructional Partners with colleagues. She will stay informed about best classroom strategies and offer professional learning to teachers, along with curriculum resources.

She has taught for 21 years in Alabama, three more in a private school in Louisville, Ky., and Macon County, Tenn. At Jacksonville High, Oliver assisted students with their FOCUS program, similar to S2S Peer Helpers.

The Olivers moved to Madison with husband Michael’s appointment as senior pastor of Trinity Baptist Church. She taught freshman English at Bob Jones High School before working as instructional partner.

At Jacksonville State University, she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in secondary education and earned certification as Education Specialist and in Educational Leadership.

“My mom was a teacher and obviously had the greatest impact on me. Both my parents attended college and earned degrees after my younger sister and I were born. I watched them both study at night after working full-time jobs,” Oliver said. “I know the sacrifices they made for their education.”

Another major influence was Brenda Malone, special education teacher in Jacksonville.

“Mrs. Malone was an amazing person who loved students and (could) break down difficult concepts for struggling learners,” Oliver said. “She had a wonderful sense of humor that always kept us laughing. Mrs. Malone passed away from cancer several years ago, but I still think about her often and consider how she would handle situations.”

Oliver has learned from her students. “Helping them learn life lessons from great stories from ancient and modern literature is a powerful opportunity. I stay in touch with former students through social media. Many are parents now. I find it rewarding to see what they’re doing in their professional and personal lives … the future is in good hands.”

The Olivers have four sons: Andrew and wife Jessica of Glencoe, who are teachers; Jonathan, recent University of Alabama graduate, of Asheville, N.C. is engaged to Sydney Stonesifer; Samuel, UA student; and Thomas, Bob Jones senior.

“Our family loves to spend time together; food is usually involved. My husband and I love to cook together,” she said. “I also enjoy reading, crafting and shopping for bargains.”

She serves as church deacon, Sunday school teacher and sings with sanctuary choir and Heart of Praise ensemble.

“Our dog, Pelham, is a huge joy to our family. I love to take him on walks and snuggle for naps,” she said.

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