by Kate Evans
Warm Springs Intermediate School third grade teacher Shanahan Elmore was named the Morgan County Teacher of the Year at the March 21 Board of Education meeting.
Each year the award recognizes an outstanding teacher for their exceptional dedication, knowledge and skill to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.
Elmore has taught at the intermediate school since the 2008-2009 school year, first teaching fourth grade for two years then switching to teaching third grade until present. Elmore also worked for two years as a long-term substitute teacher at Pleasant View Elementary before she came to the intermediate school.
Elmore went to Shepherd University where she received a master’s degree in education with a minor in environmental studies. She also has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies. Elmore has a history minor and an English Language Learner (ELL) certification and is currently pursuing her National Board Certification in early literacy.
Elmore said what inspired her to become a teacher was that she had a high school teacher that she loved and she wanted to be just like her.
“I always loved kids and being around them. It seemed like a good path for me,” she said.
Elmore said she loves science and doing hands-on activities with her students. She did a lot of weather classes, water testing and taking care of the environment activities in college.
Elmore’s first priority in the classroom is “building a community where students feel accepted, respected and valued.”
Her motto is building relationships. Elmore also likes to make learning fun through hands-on experiences.
Elmore’s class is doing a biography bottle project now that involves research, reading, making a poster with information and graphics. It also involves a guessing game.
They usually do a space project where kids choose a planet and make a model of it. Students also make models of aliens that could survive on their planet. Her kids really enjoy the project, she said.
Elmore leads a Math Olympics at the end of the year. It’s friendly Olympic games that are based on math, she said.
Elmore is getting ready to start a poetry unit with her students, where kids will publish their own poetry.
“I like to do something different each year — spice it up and learn something new each year,” Elmore noted.
Awards, school involvements
Elmore said she’s been Warm Springs Intermediate School’s Teacher of the Year a couple of times over the years. She got the Morgan County Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award during the 2017-2018 school year and has also received the Extra Miler award.
Elmore is the Camp MoCo site coordinator in the summer and is part of the MC After 3 after-school program. Elmore is also the school’s third grade team leader and the Student Assistance Team (SAT) team leader.
Elmore said she was honored to receive the Morgan County Teacher of the Year Award.
“I work with great people. It takes a community and a team. I have great mentors and co-workers. I didn’t get here on my own,” she stressed.
Elmore added that she felt like people don’t talk much about the joy of being a teacher.
“There’s a lot of joy in it. If you love inspiring kids and being inspired yourself, you’re in the right field,” Elmore said.
Warm Springs Intermediate School Principal Rebecca Huber said that she was proud and honored to have Elmore as part of her staff. Elmore’s “dedication and passion for the students that she works with is demonstrated through the progress that they make every year. She is a born educator.”
Elmore continuously instills a love of learning in her students and loves all kids, even the most challenging ones, said Huber. She builds community with both staff and students and embraces hands-on, cross-curricular learning daily.
Elmore focuses on each student’s academic, social and emotional skills, supports children and families through school programs and advocates for them in all settings, Huber said. She also writes grants to provide valuable classroom resources and offers support and guidance to all staff members as team leader.
The intermediate school related arts team called Elmore “a miracle worker.”
Huber said Elmore spent countless hours developing resources for her colleagues over the summer to help them increase their students’ proficiency levels.
“There isn’t anything she wouldn’t do to help her school succeed,” Huber noted.
Huber said that she, staff and students are thrilled that Elmore won the Morgan County Teacher of the Year award.
“She’s a phenomenal teacher,” Huber said.