The Bryan County Elementary School announced its Teacher of the Year and Para-educator of the Year last week.
Lauren Butler was chosen as Teacher of the Year and Gail Perry was named Para-Educator of the Year, Bryan County Elementary School Principal Debbie Laing announced Friday. The two were chosen by their colleagues.
Laing called Butler, who is in her fourth year at the school, an “outstanding” third-grade teacher.
“She creates a calm, caring atmosphere for her students where they feel comfortable and safe,” Laing wrote in an e-mail to the News. “She uses many hands-on activities and makes real world connections to the curriculum.”
Perry had high remarks about her colleague.
“All I hear are great things about how great of a teacher she is,” she said.
Butler said she was shocked and excited when she found out the news. She and her colleagues work so hard every day, she said. She said she felt honored that her time and effort is appreciated and that she was being awarded for doing what everybody does.
“I was very surprised and excited,” Butler said. “It was quite an honor.”
Perry, who is in her third year at Bryan County Elementary School, is an “extremely dedicated” para-educator, Laing said.
“She gives 100 percent to the students she works with, always striving for her students’ success,” she wrote.
Para-educators help teachers and students in the school, Perry said. She called it the “perfect job” because it affords her time with – and the same schedule as – her school-aged children.
She also said being picked by her colleagues as Para-educator of the Year is an honor since they all work hard to help teachers and students.
“We all work together as a team,” Perry said, “and I don’t think anybody is better than anybody.”
Butler said her favorite part about teaching elementary children is watching them learn.
“It’s really an exciting job,” she said. “It’s also very gratifying.”
Butler and Perry’s names will be thrown in the hat for the countywide and statewide contests for teacher of the year and para-educator of the year, respectively, Butler said.
There are 42 certified teachers and eight para-educators at the Bryan County Elementary School, Laing said.