Johnson, Rangel Receive Teacher of the Year Top Honors (Updated)

From left: (Seated) Cheryl Alexander - Shelbyville, Paola Rangle-Grande - Shelbyville, Syreeta Johnson - Timpson, Jody Stephens - Center, Terri Snider - Excelsior, (Back row) Bree Bearden - Shelbyville, Katha Wyatt - Tenaha, Donny Johnson - Center, Connie Hooper - Center, Lori Center - Timpson, Dee Elliott - Timpson, and Joanna Huckabee - Tenaha. Not pictured: Zonia Corbell - Center and Shane Corbell - Center.

May 9, 2022 (More Photos) - The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Elementary Teacher of the Year is Syreeta Johnson, a teacher at Timpson Elementary. The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Secondary Teacher of the Year is Paola Rangel-Grande, a teacher at Shelbyville High School. Congratulations to these outstanding Educators!

Mary Lynn Tinkle introduced and announced the two Shelby County teachers. Speaking about the Elementary Teacher of the Year, Syreeta Johnson, Tinkle began with a quote by Rita Pierson, 'Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the best they can be.' Tinkle shared the champion for Johnson was her third grade teacher Mrs. Vicky Edge, who was the 2002 teach of the year. She continued to explain, "[Johnson's] journey to becoming a teacher was not a straight path but a winding road that led to where she is meant to be. Interestingly, teaching was not her first career choice. Her original life plan was to go into Fashion Merchandising and become a buyer for Neiman Marcus. While attending college, she worked as a substitute teacher on days she didn't have classes and it was then she realized there were so many students like her in her very own community that had yet to meet their champion. It was this 'aha' moment that led her to realize that the impact of fashion is fleeting but the impact of teaching is forever."

Introducing the Shelby County Secondary Teacher of the Year, Tinkle described Paola Rangel-Grande's life of moving to a country were she didn't speak the language and faced many challenges while adjusting to a new life to being a teacher who speaks four languages. "By letting her students know that she faced the same shame and despair that they sometimes feel when struggling to learn something new - two things happen - they learn to trust her and know they have someone in their corner fighting for them. You can't be what you never see. Having our Secondary Teacher of the Year as a role model and mentor, students see an example of a person that faced many of the same challenges they face but did not give up or use it as an excuse for failure but instead gritted her teeth, worked hard and found great success! She gives students the skills, support, and knowledge and encouragement to overcome their own obstacles in pursuit of achieving their own goals. Our secondary teacher of the year's future goals are focused on her students as her parents did for her, she hopes to teach and inspire students to broaden their view of the world, learn about other cultures, learn a new language and inspire them to travel knowing that all this can not only enhance their personal lives but will give them more career opportunities."

The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Teacher Appreciation reception, presented by Badders Law Firm and hosted by the Shelby County Chamber, was held on Wednesday, May 4 at the Windham Civic Center in Center at 4:30 p.m. 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 all the table sponsors and businesses who donated gifts for door prizes!

Gold sponsors for the event are Farmers State Bank and Shelby Savings Bank.

Thank you to the following Sponsors and Businesses who donated door prizes and/or gift for the Teacher Goody bags for the 2022 Annual Teacher Appreciation.

Presenting Sponsor: Badders Law Firm
Gold Sponsors: Farmers State Bank and Shelby Savings Bank
Silver Sponsors: H&R Block, McWilliams & Son and Ray Jones Chevrolet
Table Sponsors: American State Bank, Blake Furniture, Century 21 Action Team, Mathew Realty, McDonalds, Panola College, Sonic Drive-In, Town & Country Real Estate and Windham Family Dental
Spotlight Tables: Hospice Plus, Impressions Advertising and Shelby Insurance Agency

Additional sponsors: Ace Hardware, Blake Furniture, Center Floral & Coffee Shop, Center Health and Harmony, Century 21 Action Team, Citizen’s Bank, Deb’s Boutique, Farmers State Bank, Hello Beautiful, Hot Headz Salon, Lasting Impressions, Light and Champion, Mathews Real Estate, McDonalds, McWilliams & Son A/C and Heating, Mooney’s Emporium, Panola College – Shelby County, Payne & Payne Home N’Suchlike, Primp Salon & Spa, Rio Theater, Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, Shelby County Today, Southern Reign Boutique, Sugar Rush Artisan Bakery, The Balcony, Toledo Automotive Supply, Town and Country Real Estate, T&R Steaks & More, What-A-Burger, White Cottage Mercantile, and Zack’s Tint Shop