Holly Donaghey, a first grade teacher at Barnard Elementary School in Tecumseh, was selected as The Shawnee News-Star’s February Teacher of the Month, an award sponsored by Patriot Auto Group in Chandler.
Each month, a News-Star/Patriot Auto Group Teacher of the Month will be selected from a pool of candidates submitted for consideration at news-star.com/contests.
Donaghey has been an educator for 18 years and she is happy to receive this award.
“It’s very humbling and an honor to be selected because there are so many amazing teachers in our community,” she said. “It’s awesome for someone to recognize when you go the extra mile for a student and want to honor you with this award.”
As the winner, the educator was given a $100 Visa gift card and she said she will use it to purchase new learning materials for her classroom.
Donaghey grew up in Tecumseh and was inspired to go into education by her parents, who were both teachers for Tecumseh Public Schools.
“Like my parents, I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children,” she said. “My desire was to love each student as they are and create life-long learners.”
Donaghey graduated from Tecumseh High School in 1997, earned her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from East Central University in 2002 as well as a Masters Degree in school counseling from ECU in 2005.
The mother of two explained she went into Early Childhood and Elementary Education because she connects well with young children.
“I learned very quickly in my teaching career that some days students need someone to listen to them and know you care before any learning takes place,” she said.
For Donaghey, the best aspect of being an educator is watching her students learn and fully understand the different things she’s teaching them.
“I believe each year students are placed in my classroom for a specific purpose,” she said. “I love to watch each child bloom and grow socially and academically.”
According to Barnard Elementary School Principal Jana Phelps, Donaghey is a serving recipient of this award.
“She works extremely hard with her students every day and they love her. She puts in so much work to make their learning enjoyable,” Phelps said.
First-grader and 7-year-old Mercedes Patterson said her teacher is nice and she lets the students do fun activities such as coloring.
Going forward, Donaghey is excited to see her own two children, Kade,13, and Kynlee,15, continue to grow up in the same district she grew up in.
She is also excited to see her students grow as the school year continues.
“I look forward to the success of my students as they have reached their full potential,” she said.
Donaghey is grateful to Phelps, her Barnard family and the Tecumseh community for their support and for pushing her to be the best educator she can be.
“I believe that teaching is one of the hardest jobs but most rewarding,” she said. “My favorite quote is, ‘Teachers who love teaching teach children to love learning.”‘
About this award
With this program, a News-Star/Patriot Auto Group Teacher of the Month will be selected each month from a pool of candidates submitted for the award at news-star.com/contests. The monthly winner receives a $100 Visa Gift Card and will be entered into the local Teacher of the Year contest and has a chance to win an additional $250 for their classroom.
Monthly local winners will also be entered into the National Teacher of the Month contest for a chance to win $5,000 for their classroom and $5,000 for their school. Winners of the National Teacher of the Month contest will be entered into the National Teacher of the Year contest and have a chance to win $10,000 for themselves and $10,000 for their school.