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Horizon chooses Bunyard as top teacher

Susan Bunyard, seated, enjoys time with her family. She is Horizon's Teacher of the Year. CONTRIBUTED
Susan Bunyard, seated, enjoys time with her family. She is Horizon’s Teacher of the Year. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Susan Bunyard is Horizon Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year.

A speech language pathologist, Bunyard teaches preschoolers through sixth-graders with speech errors or language deficits.

Ironically, Bunyard is leaving Horizon after 10 years for her assignment to Columbia elementary. “I’m sad to leave my students and friends at Horizon. Columbia’s administration and faculty are a strong, embracing educational family. I’m blessed to join them,” Bunyard said.

Bunyard will work with Columbia Teacher of the Year, Julia Nagle.

Last year, Bunyard worked with a kindergartner born with severe-profound hearing loss. His unclear speaking led to unruly behavior and awkwardness with peers.

Bunyard’s helped him learn to communicate verbally. “I wasn’t very optimistic initially that we could move from sign to proficient speech … but he never gave up.”

In May, this child won “Student of the Month.” “He walked on stage, flashed his million-dollar smile and clapped for other recipients. I thought my heart would burst with pride,” Bunyard said.

Educators live to share these moments … “success in spite of challenge (resulting) from great instruction, parental support … and a hard-working child.”

Bunyard finds excitement in seeing “a child gain rewards of clear, effective oral expression — a critical life skill they’ll use in virtually every job and interaction.”

Her challenge? Mountains of federal paperwork.

Bunyard will never forget her first student, who always asked, “May I try that again, please?” “Her work ethic remains second to none. In May, she graduated with honors from Samford and will begin physical therapy school at UAB soon.”

In addition, she described colleague Pam Weaver as “both angel and teacher extraordinaire.”

Bunyard earned a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and a master’s degree from Phillips University. She holds Certificate of Clinical Competence.

Previously, Bunyard was in private practice in Huntsville and with Huntsville Hospital and taught in Cushing, Okla. and Madison County.

Her husband Jerry Michael Bunyard is Senior Director of Business Development for Teledyne Brown Engineering. Their children are Kristin of Nashville; Erin and husband of Madison and their five-year-old and two-month-old; and Justin and wife of Madison and their 10-month-old.

“We love to share laughter with family and seven dogs … never a dull moment,” Susan said. The Bunyards will retire at Smith Lake.

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