2024 Teacher of the Year Recipients are Davis, Dr. Munday

Campus Teachers of the Year - (From left, Back row) Terri Snider, Anita Sheppard, Shannon Bohannon, Crystal Harrison, Angela Shahan, Katie Hroncich, Reggie Daniels, (Seated) Monica Garcia, Mia Cloudy, Dr. Mihaela Munday, Kathy Davis, Kristin Jousan, and Holly Burns. Not pictured: Paula Fleming-Windham

May 5, 2024 (Photos Album) - Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Teachers of the year for 2024 are Elementary Teacher of the Year Kathy Davis, with F.L. Moffett; and Secondary Teacher of the Year Dr. Mihaela Munday, with Timpson High School. Congratulations to these outstanding Educators!

From left: Dr. Mihaela Munday and Kathy Davis

Deborah Chadwick, Shelby County Chamber of Commerce President, welcomed everyone and expressed words of gratitude to all the sponsors and contributors who helped to make the event a wonderful acknowledgment to our teachers. She then introduced Mary Lynn Tinkle, Chairman of the Chamber’s Education Committee.

Mary Lynn Tinkle expressed appreciation, “It is my honor to introduce the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year on behalf of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce. But first may I say, the chamber has always supported and appreciated Shelby County's outstanding teachers and offers special thanks and gratitude for all you do for our county.” She added, “When I received the names that the committee had selected for Teacher of the Year, they said that it was truly one of the most difficult decisions they had to make. And I want you to know that the committee and everyone here today would have to say that each of you who were nominated from your campus are winners, and we appreciate the dedication and everything the teachers of Shelby County do.”

Each principal was then given an opportunity to praise their teacher of the year and present them with a certificate for Campus Teacher of the Year before announcing the Teachers of the Year.

In describing the elementary Teacher of the Year, Kathy Davis, Tinkle stated, “A good teacher strives to bring the best out of his or her students, and these are the words that perhaps best describe our elementary teacher of the year… She has not focused on what students can't do, but with her help and encouragement, what they can do and will do. She believes all children have talents and gifts and she sees it as her job to help students find them… Her students become successful learners sometimes for the first time in their school career because students know she cares, really cares about them both as a student and as a teacher… She is not only a teacher to students, but also teaches teachers with her vast training and experience in the classroom, she helps new teachers and special education classes showing them how to complete paperwork, enter goals, and meet deadlines required by the ARD process. She also shares with these teachers teaching strategies that are effective with special needs students… She is always available to support, encourage and help her fellow teachers.”

Davis has been a teacher for 35 years and Tinkle touched on Davis’ years of service, “It is with great joy and some sadness that she is retiring from teaching this year. However, her influence will never retire. Students who she refused to give up on will remember this teacher for her love, support and for teaching them in a way they could learn and will no doubt one day pass this same kind of love and support on to their own children. Teachers who she mentored will take and use what she taught them and credit her for being the teacher who gave them the skills to be an effective teacher and pass on to the teachers that followed them what they've learned from our elementary teacher of the year. Her principal said of our elementary teacher of the year she is more than deserving of the recognition provided by the teacher of the year award because excellence is seen in everything that she does as an educator.”

Tinkle then began introducing the Secondary Teacher of the Year, Dr. Mihaela Munday, ”Education is an essential part of what is needed to be a great teacher. Our secondary teacher of the year excelled in earning an impressive education, knowing that she must know as much as she can to be prepared to teach others. She decided in fifth grade that she wanted to be a math teacher and never wavered from that goal. Getting a good education was instilled in her by loving parents who were math teachers that led her to earn a bachelor's, master's and doctorate degree, realizing not only her dream but the dream her parents had for her. The tears her father shed when he watched her present her dissertation reflected her parents' belief as well as her own belief that there are no limits when it comes to the human mind, a belief she strives to instill in her students today.”

Dr. Munday was described as a life-long learner and a published author. She has a willingness to serve on institutional committees, organizations, boards, and councils. Tinkle continued describing Dr. Munday, “Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. This belief is another part that makes our secondary teacher of the year an outstanding teacher. She strives to build a relationship with each of her students. She shows interest in her students lives, attends their games, concerts, and plays. At these events, she interacts with students' parents and is able to build a relationship with them, helping her become an educational partner in their child's learning.”

“Building relationships with other staff is another important goal of our Teacher of the Year. She knows that if they work together to meet student needs, students will benefit greatly,” said Tinkle. “Another part of what makes this teacher so successful in education is her approach to teaching. She defines teaching as the process by which she helps students learn. She recognizes all students do not learn in the same way, but truly believes all students can learn. She uses a variety of instructional methods, including whole group, individual tutoring, small group, and always encourages class participation. She considers her main duties as a teacher is, first, get the class’s attention and keep it, be prepared for class, check students’ progress, love teaching, and always set a good example for students. She learned from her math teacher parents and now teaches her students that there are different but completely acceptable ways to solve math problems. She encourages her students to be active learners and to become responsible for their own learning. Many students credit her for not only helping them learn and being able to master math, many for the first time, but also to love math and be able to apply it to real life situations.”

Tinkle finished by saying, “The secondary teacher of the year often says, ‘To all my students, be the best you can be.’ And to the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce secondary teacher of the year, we say, ‘Thank you, Dr. Mihaela Monday, for being the best you can be. You truly are the best.’”

The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Teacher Appreciation Reception, presented by Badders Law Firm, and hosted by the Shelby County Chamber was held Wednesday, May 8, 2024, at the Windham Civic Center in Center at 4:30pm. The reception is held annually to salute and recognize the dedicated administrations and teaching staff of all the Shelby County school districts. The Chamber of Commerce Education committee presented each school campus Teacher of the Year with a Certificate of Recognition and announced the Shelby County Teacher of the Year for Elementary and Secondary schools. This is a time when gratitude and appreciation is expressed to the educators throughout the county. Congratulations to all the Campus winners!!  

Thank you to the following sponsors and businesses who donated door prizes and/or gifts for the teacher goody bags for the 2023-2024 Annual Teacher Appreciation.

Presenting Sponsor: Badders Law Firm
Gold Sponsors: Farmers State Bank and Shelby Savings Bank
Silver Sponsors: H&R Block, McWilliams Heating Cooling Plumbing, and Ray Jones Chevrolet
Table Sponsors: American State Bank, Aurora Concepts, Century 21 Action Team, Doches Credit Union, Happy Tails Adoption Center, Holiday Nursing and Rehabilitation, Las Palmas, Mathews Realty, Panola College, Raymond Motor Company, Town & Country Real Estate, Tuxedo Springs, and Windham Family Dental
Spotlight Tables: Blake Furniture, Diamond B Coffee, Impressions Advertising, and Shelby Insurance Agency

Door Prize and/or Gifts: Ace Hardware of East Texas, All Hours Fitness, American State Bank, AnnLynn Nutrition, Aurora Concepts, Badders Law Firm, Blake Furniture, Campbell’s Portable Buildings, Century 21 Action Team Realtors, Center Floral and Coffee Shop, Center Health and Harmony, Center Nutrition, Citizen’s Bank, COR Boutique, Dairy Queen, deb’s Boutique, Diamond B Coffee, Doches Credit Union, East Texas Awards & Engraving, Farmers State Bank, Focused Care of Center, General Shelters of Texas, Happy Tails Adoption Center, Hello Beautiful, Hughes Florist, Impressions Advertising Specialties, Ivan Smith Furniture, JBA Financial, John Michael Burns Insurance, Lasting Impressions, Light and Champion, Mooney’s Emporium, Panola College – Shelby Regional Training Center, Rio Theater, Shelby County Today, Shelby Insurance Agency, Shelby Savings Bank, Spirit Outfitters, Sugar Rush Artisan Bakery, T&R Steaks & More, The Balcony, The Lily Farm, The Pizzeria, Toledo Automotive, Town & Country Real Estate, Watson Florist, Whataburger, and White Cottage Mercantile.