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Mill Creek chooses Michael Kelley as ‘Teacher of the Year’

MADISON – Mill Creek Elementary School selected Michael Kelley as 2019 “Teacher of the Year.”

Since 2016, he has taught third-graders at Mill Creek. Kelley previously taught at Heritage and Riverton elementary schools.

He co-sponsors Mill Creek’s Amazing Shake Club for fourth- and fifth-graders to learn soft skills, like engaging in conversation with a stranger. “Students have had to pitch a million-dollar idea to a CEO and an acceptance speech for an award they had no idea they were receiving,” Kelley said. “Our fifth-graders competed with students … from around the world at Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta.” This year, his daughter Maggie competed.

Kelley also serves on the House Leadership Team. “Students are sorted into six houses that represent pillars of character — fairness, respect, responsibility, caring, trustworthy and citizenship,” Kelley said.

He graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. He received a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from University of Phoenix.

“A teacher I’ll never forget was Mrs. Penny Wood, Buckhorn High School’s dual enrollment English teacher and mass media sponsor. She had an amazing way of taking something difficult and make it approachable and fun,” Kelley said.

“I can vividly remember studying poetry, and I never really understood it. She tasked us with writing our own poems. I was stumped,” he said.

“She brought us watercolors and had us paint how the poem made us feel. She made the poetry alive. Because of Mrs. Wood, I pushed myself to create learning experiences that make difficult concepts come alive for my students,” he said.

His wife Anna teaches first-graders at Madison Elementary School. “Awesomely enough, she also won her school’s ‘Teacher of the Year,'” he said.

Their nine-year-old daughter Maggie is a fourth-grader at Mill Creek. Their sons are Emory, 2, and Ellis, 1.

He cherishes family time, especially at Church of the Highlands. “When we’re pressing into the purpose God created us for we can make a difference and create a ripple that will be an eternal impact,” Kelley said.

As an Auburn senior, Kelley was Mic Man who led stadium cheers. “An amazing way to end my time at Auburn. We never lost to Alabama in football during my time as an Auburn Tiger.”

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