Farmington educators selected as outstanding teachers were honored during the annual “Teacher of the Year” luncheon May 4.
Beth Black, first grade teacher at Washington-Franklin Elementary School in the Farmington R-7 School District, was named the district’s “Teacher of the Year” by the CTA during the luncheon, held in the lobby of Black Knight Fieldhouse at Farmington High School.
Black, an educator for 25 years, was one of eight educators up for the award after being named the “Teacher of the Year” for their respective buildings. The other nominees include Jennifer Menteer for Truman Learning Center, Keli Keutzer for Jefferson Elementary, Jillian Williams for Roosevelt Elementary, Lisa Clary for Lincoln Intermediate, Melissa Hampton for Farmington Middle School, Staff Master Sgt. Earnest Heflin for Farmington High School, and Jerry Will for WL Johns.
Each building principal spoke about their nominated educators. In her speech, Washington-Franklin Principal Dr. Lori Lamb said Black’s colleagues nominated her for their building’s award due to Black’s soft, but effective teaching voice and warm, caring demeanor.
“She cares deeply about them as a person,” Lamb said, “and never gives up on a child because she believes every child is capable of learning and she wants them to succeed and reach their highest potential.”
During her career, Black has also served as grade level chairperson, six year member of the professional development committee, first-grade literacy leader, member of the advisory committee, as well as working with other first grade teachers in the district on ELA curriculum committee to prioritize standards.
Black and her husband, Rick, have three children – Collin, Allie and Matt – and one granddaughter, Indy. They are active members of the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bonne Terre.
Truman Learning Center Principal Kim Johnson said Menteer began her career in 2009 teaching preschool. She would teach kindergarten for a period of time before moving back to the preschool classroom at TLC.
“Students, parents and colleagues alike highlight Mrs. Menteer as a caring, nurturing teacher who proves year after year that her students maintain the highest level of learning,” said Johnson. “Her caring heart and dedication to spark her student’s inquisitive minds are present every day at TLC.”
Jefferson Elementary Principal Mark Phillips introduced Keli Keutzer as a “professional in the classroom and the school and she works hard to give her students the best education possible.”
Phillips said Keutzer motivates her students “in a way that meets all their needs and has the respect of her students and peers.”
He noted her work both in and out of the classroom – as a wife and mother of two sons, as well as a soccer and basketball coach.
“She lives life to the fullest and wants to share that with others and see them do the same thing in their lives,” he said.
Roosevelt Elementary Principal Sherri Lindquist said Jillian Williams is completing her third year of teaching second grade at the school, noting this marks her sixth year with the Farmington School District and 10 years as an educator.
“Her passion and eagerness to help other teachers shows at the building level through her leadership role at her grade level meetings,” Lindquist said, noting Williams serves on both district and state level education committees. “Mrs. Williams has touched a lot of lives, both students and teachers, and we are so very proud to have her on staff at Roosevelt Elementary.”
Lincoln Intermediate Principal Matt Boyer introduced Lisa Clary, using each letter of her last name to touch on a different trait that makes her an outstanding educator in her field.
“She strives every day to continue this excellence in serving our district, school and most importantly, students,” he said. “We at Lincoln are extremely thankful for all that she does and are honored to have her on our team representing Lincoln as our ‘Teacher of the Year’.”
Farmington Middle School Principal Dustin Jenkerson said Melissa Hampton, seventh grade ELA instructor, possesses many qualities that make her stand out as a great teacher.
“…but the one that stands out the most to me is that she is relentless in the pursuit of anything she sets her mind to,” he said. “Ms. Hampton has a very strong understating of curriculum and instruction. She knows how to deliver content to her students in a way that is meaningful and relevant. Students are actively engaged and are always learning in her class.”
Farmington High School Principal Dr. Nathan Hostetler said Staff Master Sgt. Earnest Heflin with the school’s AFJROTC program goes above and beyond in his service to his students. Hostetler noted many students return after graduation, noting the leadership and guidance given by Heflin has helped them beyond their years in school.
Susan Barber introduced Jerry Will as the “educational leader in alternative academics for over 15 years” in his work with W.L. Johns. She noted Will teaches his students education is the way to turn one’s life around.
“It is obvious Jerry is guided by a higher power that gives him strength, compassion and perseverance,” she said.