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West Madison selects Daniel as Teacher of the Year

Toni Daniel has been chosen as Teacher of the Year at West Madison Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Toni Daniel has been chosen as Teacher of the Year at West Madison Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Like most teachers, Toni Daniel never stops learning. She is Teacher of the Year at West Madison Elementary School.

In March at the University of North Alabama, Daniel earned certification as a first-grade math trainer for the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI).

This past year, Daniel worked as first-grade representative with Madison colleagues on the Math Leadership Team. “This small group that has been ‘unwrapping’ the math Common Core” to share at their respective schools, she said. Common Core is part of Alabama College and Career Ready Standards, which Madison City Schools has adopted.

Daniel first earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing at the University of North Georgia and then received teaching certification at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina.

“Young students are particularly eager to learn. Their positive attitudes are contagious,” she said. “It’s very rewarding to see students progress throughout the school year.”

Regardless of their academic status when school starts, students “make tremendous progress toward individual goals,” Daniel said. “It’s exciting to be part of that success.”

However, paperwork and extra requirements are troublesome. “We keep more data on students than ever before. It’s time consuming to give assessments, fill out paperwork, grade papers/tests and assemble data. It is important but takes away from actual instruction,” Daniel said.

She fondly remembers her first-grade teacher in Madison, Ga. “She was funny, kind, caring and knowledgeable,” Daniel said. Sixteen years later in her second career, this teacher catered Daniel’s wedding. “She has become a family friend and will always have a very special place in my heart.”

Her husband’s 21-year military career led her to teach in several states, including North Carolina, Tennessee and two cities in Hawaii.

Her husband Jim works as a systems analyst at Parsons Inc. Their daughters are Christina, 22, a senior studying graphic design and sculpture at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Allison, 19, a civil engineering sophomore at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

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