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Steve Lanford named ‘Teacher of the Year’ at Bob Jones

MADISON – Steve Lanford guides many students to successful careers in construction. He was named “Teacher of the Year” at Bob Jones High School.

“I am humbled that my peers selected me for Teacher of the Year. I’m so proud of the successes of my students,” Lanford said.

Before 2012, Lanford worked in the construction industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree in building science from Auburn University and, then in 2013, a teaching certificate from Athens State University.

He taught for two years at both Sparkman High School and Marshall Technical School. He joined Bob Jones’ faculty in 2016.

“To be honest, I was looking for a job, and the Bob Jones opening kind of fell in my lap,” Lanford said. “In 2016, school started in Madison City on Tuesday. On Wednesday, a post was made for Construction Teaching at Bob Jones, which my wife saw. I applied and the rest is history. I’m very fortunate to have landed at Bob Jones.”

He teaches classes required under Alabama Board of Education Course of Study for Construction. The National Center for Construction Education & Research or NCCER is the program partner that offers certification of students.

Lanford’s classes are NCCER ACM CORE, NCCER BC-1 Framing, NCCER BC-2 Site Preparation, NCCER BC-3 Construction Finishes and Senior Pathway Project. He’s an authorized OSHA 10- and 30-hour trainer in Construction and General Industry; CORE students can receive an OSHA 10-hour Construction Card.

Lanford sponsors the Engineering and Construction Club.

“I believe that I teach ‘real life.’ Being in the industry for so long, I share all manner of things that I’ve learned. If you can’t communicate, it will be hard to be successful,” Lanford said.

All Lanford’s students must engage in mock interviews to prepare for employment. “Our mock interviews are graded, and the interviewer gives detailed feedback. In real life, feedback is you’re either hired or not,” Lanford said.

His students learn math applications unique to construction, building layout, squaring of buildings and walls and simplified math equations. They use tools and read drawings.

This semester, his CORE class completed all requirements quicker than any previous class. All students received OSHA 10-hour cards and NCCER certifications. “The most important success, though, was witnessing students helping another student learn how to use tools and do projects successfully. Caring for another student’s success in adversity is the greatest accomplishment I’ve seen,” he said.

Most days, Lanford can reflect and rate the time successful. “My students accomplish a lot. The best (experience) is when I learn something from a student,” he said.

His wife Pam and he have owned daycares about 30 years. Pam is President and runs daytime operations.

Their older daughter, Amber Keith, graduated from Auburn for a bachelor’s degree in English, Alabama A&M University for a master’s degree in English; West Alabama for media specialty; and is pursuing an admin degree.

Previously, Amber she taught English at Liberty Middle School; now, she’s media specialist at Monrovia Middle School.

Their younger daughter, Ashley Berchekas, graduated from Athens State University in accounting. She works as an accountant for Redstone Federal Credit Union.

Many people don’t realize that Lanford holds a third-degree blackbelt in taekwondo and taught 22 years in his own dojang. He travels to American Taekwondo Foundation tournaments with his part-time trophy business.

A product of a long line of carpenters, Lanford learned in his father’s construction company, eventually becoming a skilled carpenter as a teenager. Lanford’s skill helped greatly in studies at Auburn.

“My most important interest is my family. I love being a part of my grandkids’ lives,” Lanford said. Those grandchildren are 16, 14, 11 and two five-year-olds.

This Huntsville native also likes gardening. He teaches for North Alabama Craft Training Foundation in an apprenticeship program to benefit tradesmen education.

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