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Madison elementary names Wilson as Teacher of the Year

Joy Wilson is the 2014 Teacher of the Year at Madison Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Joy Wilson is the 2014 Teacher of the Year at Madison Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Madison Elementary School’s faculty has chosen Joy Wilson as Teacher of the Year.

She has taught solely at that campus, previously as Title 1 teacher for at-risk students in grades K-6. She now teaches fourth-graders.

In 12 months, Wilson’s students moved two grade levels in math, according to STAR results. “This is huge, considering how our standards have changed to use Common Core. Although controversy surrounds (Common Core), my students really have become math thinkers.”

That skill is “super important to our future workforce. To learn how to tackle problems from all sides (with) multiple strategies for solutions is important,” Wilson said.

Furthermore, Wilson’s students are collaborating to answer real-world math problems, realizing multiple solutions exist. “No longer do they dread word problems. They get excited when I challenge them. That makes me smile,” she said.

Wilson knows she’s “on the right track” when she “sees their light bulbs come on or use something that has already been taught to build on something.”

Reaching each child on his or her level presents challenges. Not knowing “what goes on outside the classroom,” she is sensitive to each student’s needs. “My students know I got their back, no matter what.”

One of Wilson’s peer teachers and co-worker for 18 years has influenced her most by showing “what a caring successful teacher should look like. She has taught me to not only teach a child material that is given but get to know them as a person — not just a student.”

By finding out what’s going on in and out of the classroom, teachers gain students’ trust and respect, Wilson said. “Then, they’ll want to be in the classroom learning.”

Wilson attended the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Calhoun Community College and received a bachelor’s degree at Athens State University.

Her husband Les works as an engineering manager at Adtran. Their daughter Kayla graduated from Bob Jones High School and is entering Auburn University. Daughter Eliza attends Discovery Middle School.

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