We are already a quarter of the way through the school year and the leaves on the trees have hardly changed color. When I was in school, the leaves were just starting to turn when we went back to school. Times in education have certainly changed.
I think that we have some of the finest teachers in Arizona right here in Payson. The Arizona Rural Education Association recently honored two of our high school teachers. Ms. Nancy Mullikin teaches English at the Payson Center for Success. She has taught at the Center for six years, developing curriculum, and working with every student who has attended the Center. Ms. Mullikin was recently named Gila County Teacher of the Year. She will be a candidate for Arizona Rural Teacher of the Year in 2007.
Another English teacher was also honored. Ms. Anna Van Zile has just completed her tenure as Arizona Rural Teacher of the Year 2005. Ms. Van Zile teaches English and sponsors the student council at Payson High School. She has taught at PHS for ten years. Ms. Van Zile was chosen from teachers from all thirteen counties in Arizona. During her year, she rode in the Fiesta Bowl Parade and spoke at schools around the state.
In her final speech before the Arizona Rural Schools Association, Ms. Van Zile said, "A year ago I received an honor that changed my life ... and has changed my faith in the public. No matter how inadequately funded education in Arizona may be, the people of Arizona, rural and otherwise, are huge supporters of teachers ... That knowledge has renewed my belief that we do, indeed, makes a difference."
In each of our schools, in each of our classrooms, there are teachers who care about the children of Payson. Each of these teachers makes a difference in the lives of his or her students. Payson teachers care that our children learn to read and calculate, not only so they will be able to pass the AIMS test and graduate from Payson High School or Payson Center for Success, but also because these are skills needed in life. Payson teachers care that our children become good citizens. They know that character counts and that children must learn both at home and school what it means to have good character. They know that these students are our future.
Ms. Mullikin and Ms. Van Zile were honored this month. They are representatives of the fine teachers in Payson. I ask you to join me in honoring all of our teachers. Let me hear from you. Simply e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.