Bethany Neel received quite the Valentine’s Day surprise when representatives from Lexmark interrupted a lesson to present her with balloons and a check for $1,000. The surprise was all part of Lexmark’s Inspire Award, an honor which recognizes outstanding achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. This was the first time this award has been given to a Bourbon County teacher.
Students in Mr. Harris second grade classroom elected to nominate Mrs. Neel after learning of the award through their teacher. Mrs. Neel is a math interventionist at Cane Ridge Elementary, but also functions as a math specialist/resource teacher. She is involved with school-wide mathematics professional development, and does pull-out/push-in instruction in addition to team teaching. Her work with Mr. Harris’s students inspired them to want to recognize their favorite math teacher.
“We have encountered a lot of math situations together,” said Skylar Sebastian, a student in Mr. Harris’s class. “She is a great teacher.” This sentiment was shared by all of Mr. Harris’s students, who drafted and sent in recommendation letters as part of the nomination requirements. The students were thrilled to learn that their efforts had helped Mrs. Neel be selected for the prestigious award and agreed to help keep it a secret until the big day.