Rheuark headlines JPK’s top teachers for ’21-’22

Published 11:15 am Thursday, April 14, 2022

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Joseph P. King Jr. Middle School recently named its Teacher of the Year for 2021-22 — Courtney Rheuark. 

A Franklin City Public Schools press release continued by stating that a ceremony to honor Rheuark took place in the JPK auditorium on March 25. With her were four honorees, Sha’Keya Barnes, Catherine Brown, Tammara Edwards and Orris G. Lane, who tied as runners-up.

JPK Principal Dr. Regina Stafford presented flowers and certificates to all.

Each of the honorees were asked a few questions about their background, what they teach and their motivations. Following is what they shared:

Rheuark: “Some students call me ‘Miss K’ for short, due to my maiden name “Klages” when I first began my teaching career in Franklin. 

“Currently I teach eighth-grade Civics & Economics; however, I have taught all grade levels of history while working here in Franklin at the middle school level. My teaching career began at Joseph P. King Jr. Middle School in August of 2015. At the end of the current 2021-2022 school year, I will have completed my seventh year of teaching. 

“I began teaching to give back to others and to truly make a difference in the young minds of  those around me. 

“My motivation comes from the students that I teach. Not every day is easy, but they make it  worth it. Knowing that I am making a difference in at least one individual’s life, that is what I  strive for. 

“Teaching, in general, has its challenges. However, over the last few years, dealing with COVID-19 and significant learning loss, it has become even more challenging. We have all struggled, and every single educator at JPKMS should be the recipient of this award. I am honored to have been selected as the 2021-2022 Teacher of the Year for Joseph P. King Jr. Middle School. Nonetheless, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that it was truly a team effort in this success. I am appreciative and grateful for them all.”

Barnes: “I teach seventh-grade English and have been at JPK for seven years, teaching for four years. 

“My love for children got me into teaching, and what motivates me is that look students have when they get ‘it.’” 

“This recognition encourages me to keep striving, keep educating myself and to know that no  matter how hard it gets, these students show up every day; so I must show up with them.” 

Brown: “I teach Health and Physical Education and have been at JPK for two years. What got me into teaching was my mentor, Mrs. Carol Lawrence. Mrs. Lawrence has been with me every step of the way, and I give all the credit to her because she helped mold me into the teacher I am today. Teaching was never in my career plans, but I fell in love with the profession. 

“Something that motivates me is being able to be a positive example and role model to the  younger generation. I grew up in Franklin, so being able to give back to the community that  raised me is a rewarding experience. 

“This recognition means a lot to me! I was shocked when Dr. Stafford called my name as a  runner-up because, honestly, we have so many amazing teachers in the building! As the youngest teacher in the building, it is an honor to know that my colleagues nominated me.”

Edwards: “I teach Math 8 and Algebra 1 and have been at JPK since 2020. What motivates me is that I enjoy watching students get that ‘a-ha’ moment.

“What the recognition means to me is that there is no small part to play in education.”

Lane: “I teach geometry, Math 8 and Math 6 and have been a teacher for 32 years. My former physical education teachers from middle school and high school influenced me to pursue my first degree in physical education. 

“My family, as well as my administrators, motivate me. 

“This recognition means that my peers recognized that I am an excellent teacher.”