By Keysha Drexel
The state Department of Education has named three Over the Mountain teachers to the “Sweet 16” pool of candidates for the next Alabama Teacher of the Year.
Ann Marie Corgill of Cherokee Bend Elementary School in Mountain Brook along with Hoover City Schools’ Ellen Anson of Rocky Ridge Elementary and Craig Thompson of Spain Park High School are among the 16 finalists selected from more than 150 elementary and secondary school candidates across the state.
State education officials will narrow the candidates to the “Final Four” before May 14, when the 2014-2015 Alabama Teacher of the Year will be named.
The winning teacher will be in the running for the national Teacher of the Year award and will present workshops to other educators.
An elementary and secondary teacher was named from each of the eight Alabama State Board of Education districts in March. Local board of education members, a local superintendent or representative, the current district Teachers of the Year and a representative from higher education served as committee members in selecting nominees.
Mountain Brook’s “Sweet 16” finalist is literally writing the book on being a great teacher.
Corgill, who teaches all subjects to her fourth-grade class at Cherokee Bend Elementary, is working on her second book, which will be about quality instruction. She is also the author of “Of Primary Importance: What’s Essential in Teaching Young Writers.”
Corgill has been a teacher for 20 years and has taught at Cherokee Bend Elementary since 2012. Before that, she was a national consultant for Development Studies Center and also taught at Hewitt-Trussville Middle School and in Hoover schools.
Her first job after receiving a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Alabama in 1994 was at Brookwood Forest Elementary School in Mountain Brook.
Corgill also has a master’s degree in early childhood and elementary education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
“I teach because there’s a child out there who hates math as much as I did, and it’s my job to teach her that she is a learner,” Corgill said in a Mountain Brook Schools newsletter.
Both of Hoover’s “Sweet 16” finalists were named their school system’s Teachers of the Year for 2013-14.
Anson is the Hoover City Schools’ Elementary Teacher of the Year, and Thompson is the Secondary Teacher of the Year. They received the awards at a surprise ceremony in December. Anson and Thompson were chosen from among the Teacher of the Year winners at each of Hoover’s 17 schools.
Hoover City Schools Superintendent Andy Craig said Anson and Thompson were selected as the district’s Teachers of the Year based on nominations from their co-workers.
“Being selected by your peers for excellence is an incredible honor,” Craig said in a statement. “We are fortunate to have high-quality teachers throughout our school system.”
Anson is the self-contained multi-handicapped teacher at Rocky Ridge Elementary School. She has taught in Hoover City Schools for six years.
Anson has degrees from the University of West Florida and Alabama A&M University and has been a teacher for 39 years.
Thompson teaches 10th-grade AP U.S. History and select ninth-grade courses at Spain Park High School. He has taught in Hoover City Schools for 10 years.
Thompson holds degrees from Tulane University and the University of Montevallo and has been a teacher for 13 years.
Last year, Jeff Johnson, the head of the science department at Hoover High School, was among the “Final Four” candidates for the Alabama Teacher of the Year. In 2012, Amanda Fox, a teacher at Greystone Elementary, and Suzanne Culbreth, a math teacher at Spain Park High School, were in the “Final Four” for the state award. Culbreth was named the 2012-2013 Alabama Teacher of the Year.
The state Teacher of the Year award program is among the oldest and most prestigious of its kind, according to a statement by the Alabama Department of Education.
“Alabama continues to be represented with some of the most outstanding educators in the nation,” State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice said in a statement. “Their dedication to education, commitment to learning and compassion are reflected in the accomplishments of their students. We are proud to have teachers of this caliber working in our schools.”
Alison Grizzle, a Birmingham City Schools math teacher, is the current Alabama Teacher of the Year.
“These 16 distinguished teachers represent the hard-working, talented and passionate teachers around the state who dedicate themselves on a daily basis to the students of Alabama,” Grizzle said in a statement.