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Sims selected as West Madison’s top teacher

Matthew and Kari Sims are parents of Jacob, 15, and William, 2. Kari Sims is West Madison's Teacher of the Year. CONTRIBUTED
Matthew and Kari Sims are parents of Jacob, 15, and William, 2. Kari Sims is West Madison’s Teacher of the Year. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Kari Sims’ most rewarding moments in the classroom are when she sees her students have an “a-ha” moment.

“Especially when it comes to learning to read,” Sims said. “The look on their face when they are able to read their first book is priceless.”

West Madison Elementary School’s faculty and staff named Sims as “Teacher of the Year.”

A kindergarten teacher, Sims is involved with the Math Leadership Team, Space Week Committee and Culinary Committee at West Madison.

“This year, I used DonorsChoose.org to fund SnapWords cards for my class,” Sims said. “The words are stylized to look like their meaning to help the visual learners. It also incorporates a movement to help the more active learners.”

By using SnapWords, Sims’ students increased their sight word knowledge from 55 percent to more than 92 percent as a whole.

Sims said the most challenging aspect of teaching “is customizing the lessons to reach every student in my classroom no matter where they are academically.”

“I will always remember the wonderful teachers that my son was blessed to have, especially his kindergarten teacher, Ms. Jennifer Burgreen,” Sims said. “Her love for teaching and her love for the students were demonstrated in everything she did.”

Sims graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in education from Athens State University. With the 2016-2017 term, she will start her fifth year of teaching kindergartners at West Madison.

Her husband Matthew works as a pharmacist at Huntsville Hospital. Their sons are Jacob, 15, and two-year-old William.

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