• 57°
The Madison Record

Horizon names Susie Stepko as Teacher of the Year

Kindergarten teacher Susie Stepko is Teacher of the Year at Horizon Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Kindergarten teacher Susie Stepko is Teacher of the Year at Horizon Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Kindergarten teacher Susie Stepko believes teaching is both art and science. She is Teacher of the Year at Horizon Elementary School.

“An outstanding teacher must blend together subject matter expertise and knowledge of child development with love and respect for each child,” Stepko said.

For new kindergartners, making their adjustment positive and instilling a love of school are critical. “The children become members of a learning community,” Stepko said.

Stepko feels rewarded by “seeing children mature from being dependent on an adult to learning how to function independently and work within a group. I love to compare work from August to May. Beginning to read, write and communicate opens doors to the world.”

To bring material to life, Stepko uses metaphor and examples. “Since five-year-olds are not abstract thinkers, I develop concrete examples to illustrate abstract concepts.”

When teaching letters and sounds, she tells stories “about the Letter King and his rules. As a result, children can understand and remember the letter ‘C’ uses the sounds of ‘K’ and ‘S’ because she is so shy.”

The challenge is “keeping a classroom of five-year olds happy, focused and engaged in learning not only on a daily basis but minute to minute,” Stepko said. To maintain their motivation, she “adapts daily activities to step them through the learning process.”

Students who return “and share their successes and say, ‘Thank you'” are extra special to Stepko.

She earned a bachelor’s degree at Bethany College in West Virginia and a master’s degree at East Carolina University in Greenville. In a military family, Stepko taught in Department of Defense and other schools in Jacksonville and Goldsboro, N.C.; Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; and Montgomery.

For 10-plus years, Stepko served with the Alabama Kindergarten Conference and taught at Athens State University. The experiences allowed her “to learn from other colleagues and experts and carry ideas to my students.”

Her husband Gene Stepko retired from the U.S. Air Force. Their children Laura, Scott and Cody are Bob Jones High School alumni.

Madison

Ghosts and hobgoblins haunt Halloween Chess Tournament

Madison

Donaldson represents Alabama on national career/tech council

Madison

Madison orchestra gives ‘A Musical Trick or Treat’ (mainly treats)

Madison

Players gain skills in Fall Scholars Chess Tournament

Madison

Check out the October 2022 Madison Living Magazine

Harvest

World War II veteran Major Wooten, 105, loved country and his family

Madison

Madison Street Festival celebrates 40th anniversary in big way

Madison

Have a fun scare at library’s Mad Movie-A-Thon-O-Rama!

Madison

Space Week takes Horizon students on aerospace, tech discoveries

Madison

City urges caution as paving progresses on Hughes Road

Bob Jones High School

Madison City Chess League forms new group for adults

Madison

Madison City Schools named best Alabama school district

Madison

Mercy Wolverton impressively masters hi-tech study, business

Madison

At Madison Street Festival, veterans to show fighter helicopter from Vietnam War

Madison

Local marching bands to be featured at “March on Madison” tonight

Madison

MSF’s Community Showcase promises array of talent

Madison

Brooms, mops in Lions Club sale to raise funds for vision projects

Harvest

Local musicians to jam at Madison Street Festival

Madison

Trash Pandas fall 4-2, Tennessee evens series

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Athletic Hall Of Fame Accepting Nominations

Harvest

Railyard BBQ Brawl and Music Festival returns Oct. 29

Bob Jones High School

Tommy Overcash appointed to Madison Board of Education

Madison

Children vulnerable for troubled mental health, Cook says

Madison

Fast start leads Trash Pandas to 9-5 in playoff game 1 win

x