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Faculty Fun At School Kickoff

Madison City Schools held its districtwide Institute Day today for all employees with a power alum as its guest speaker - 1996 BJ grad and Vanderbilt University Athletic Director Dr. Candice Storey Lee.

Dr. Nichols introducing candice storey lee

slide of Candice Storey Lee's background credentials at Vanderbilt

Institute Day is the school system's all-hands assembly to kick off the school year. The assembly is also the time to announce the district's top teacher and staff members of the year, and recognize employees for years of service.

This year's theme is "empowering ALL students."

Dr. Lee, the first African American woman to head a major college athletic department, credited supportive parents and teachers for her climb to success. "I felt empowered to be my best and pursue my dreams," she said of her years at Liberty Middle and Bob Jones.

She gave a compelling talk on how the right mindset, discernment and nurturing of students can make a tremendous difference in their lives as they develop and pursue their interests.

Dr. Lee acknowledged the hard role educators fill  today in a climate of so much polarization, cancel culture, mental health issues and other factors. She talked of the importance of teachers "filling their cup" with positivity to be their best while leading their students. Other points she left the audience with: learn where to focus your energy, how to challenge your emotions, dare to grow, know self well, and have an open mind. 

Madison City Board of Education members were in full attendance in both the elementary and secondary school Institute Day assemblies. The programs were more festive this year by Dr. Nichols and organizers who urged schools to be spirited and in costume. Tongue-in-cheek prizes were awarded to schools who were most enthusiastic, best dressed costumes, best song and best administration. Their creations were on full display as Assistant Superintendent Mr. Eric Terrell did a roll call of schools which set off each schools grant entrance by the pop songs of their choosing.

Kara Lawrence elementary teacher of the year
Kara Lawrence, District Elementary Teacher of the Year, Heritage Elementary

Kristen Brown, secondary teacher of the year

District Secondary Teacher of the Year Kristen Brown, Liberty Middle

Jody Zalinka, staff member of the year

Jodie Zalinka, District Staff Member of the Year

The 2023-2024 Elementary Teacher of the Year  announced was Ms. Kara Lawrence at Liberty Middle, The Secondary Teacher of the Year is Ms. Kristen Brown at Liberty Middle. The District Staff Member of the Year is Ms. Jodie Zalinka at Heritage Elementary. Each was awarded a $5,000 check from the district. Service awards were also given for employees reaching 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years of service.

The following elementary and secondary fun awards were also given to schools for their grand entrance, based on the costumes, themes, dances and/or skits and enthusiasm:

Most Enthusiastic:
Heritage Elementary
Liberty Middle
Best Dressed:
Columbia Elementary
Journey Middle
Best Song:
Rainbow Elementary
Bob Jones HS
Best Administration:
Savannah Demeester and Midtown 
Dr. Kerry Donaldson and James Clemens HS

The following employees were recognized for  benchmark 20-25 and 30 years of service

employees on stage with 20, 25 or 30 years of service

Elementary employees with 20-25 or 30 years of service

secondary employees wtith 20-25 or 30 years

Secondary employees with 20 or 25 years of service. Names listed below:

Slide of employees reaching 20-25 years of service

List of secondary employees with 20-25 years.

list of board certified teachers secondary

National Board Certified Teachers Secondary were recognized by being asked to stand..

elementary national board certified teachers list

National Board Certified Teachers Elementary were recognized by being asked to stand.

Here are some random pics from today's Institute Day Assembly, 2023 for Madison City Schools

opening ceremony with flag corps

Officials standing at attention during pledge

Horizon Eagle mascot in costume dancing with principal and assistant principal

crowd shot

crowd shot of cheering teachers

mascot on stage dancing for rainbow elementary

James Clemens principals dancing on stage

principal dancing on stage

Bob Jones Patriot mascot and principal dancing on stage

bj principal and assistant superintendent

crowd of teachers cheering