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Feb 25th, 2009 | 0

The Walton County Education Association and the Walton County School District named their top two superlatives last week at a ceremony honoring teachers and support personnel.
Glenda Paul-Ales of Walton Middle School is the new Teacher of the Year in Walton County. Michelle Campbell of Maude Saunders Elementary School is the Educational Support Professional of the Year.
Just moments after the ceremony, Glenda Paul-Ales, a seventh-grade science teacher, talked about her disbelief as her name was called as Teacher of the Year.
“When I heard my name called, I thought, ‘That couldn’t be me.’ I couldn’t believe it! I was excited and yet I was very humbled to think that my peers would choose me to represent them. I work with a lot of fine colleagues who deserve this honor. So I was very happy to think that they thought of me in that way. I was so overjoyed to think that I would be the one to represent such a fine county as ours. It’s quite an honor. It is a great privilege.”
Paul-Ales has been a teacher for 26 years, the last 18 have been in Walton County. She began her career in Hoffman Middle School in Houston, Texas. “I decided to become a teacher,” she said, “because I wanted to be like my older sister. I had other relatives who were teachers, too. My older sister would play “School” with us and she was a teacher, so that really inspired me to want to do the same thing.”
Paul-Ales had advice for those considering a career in teacher. “It’s a very rewarding career to be in. It may not always have immediate rewards, but the most important rewards are when students can come back and say, ‘It was because of you that I learned’ this or that. ‘It was because of you that I was encouraged to do’ this or that. So, it’s really the students that can give you such overwhelming joy and a good feeling that will continue to inspire you.”
Educational Support Professional of the Year Michelle Campbell, a 15-year veteran of the school district, said she that she was also shocked to hear her name called as the recipient of the prestigious award.
“When I found out that I was chosen as my school’s ESP, I was so excited. I couldn’t believe I actually won, but it was the joy that my fellow ESP co-workers believed in me. It was very exciting, but I never in my life dreamed that I would be the ESP for the whole district.
Working in the classroom is the source of Campbell’s strength and joy. “I work alongside teachers, helping kids with the state standards. The best part of my job is helping students learn how to read and just seeing a smile on the kids’ faces when they accomplish their goals everyday.”
Campbell said she first planned to become an accountant, but changed her mind after she volunteered to go along on a Special Olympics trip. From that moment on, she never looked backed and has been working for the school district ever since.
“It’s a lot of work. You go home tired because, just like the teachers, you’ve given it 100 percent, but I recommend it for anyone with patience and a love for kids. I’d like to thank everyone for looking at me and finding me worthy of this award. For all my ‘family’ at MSE, I appreciate them backing me. It is a great honor and I appreciate everything the Walton County School District and Maude Saunders Elementary School has done for me!”

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