Paragould teacher is Rural Teacher of the Year

Paragould teacher is Rural Teacher of the Year
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Paragould High School pulled of the ultimate surprise to honor one of their teachers.

Amy Castleberry was awarded the teacher of the year from the Arkansas Rural Education Association.

Instead of just telling Castleberry she won the award, the whole high school gathered in an assembly to honor her.

Executive Director of the Arkansas Rural Education Association Bill Abernathy was at the school to make the announcement.

Abernathy said Castleberry is very deserving of the award.

"She was a little surprised but she is such a good teacher obviously she cares about her students and wants to make a difference," Abernathy said.

Castleberry said she was completely shocked and did not expect to receive such an honor.

"I was shocked, elated and completely surprised. I do work hard for my students but again there are many teachers out here who deserve this for their students as well. I am humbled and honored to receive this," Castleberry said.

Superintendent Debbie Smith told Region 8 News that Castleberry was selected as teacher of the year for Paragould last year, so Smith found it fitting to nominate her for the statewide teacher of the year.

Abernathy said Castleberry has several traits that made her deserving of the award, but he said it was her willingness to help students succeed that set her apart.

"She talked about some students who go home and no one is there and then they have to go to work and there is no praise anywhere and that student is trying to do the best they can. A teacher can help make a difference here and that is what she is trying to do," Abernathy said.

On top of the award, Castleberry will also get $1,000.

Castleberry said she cannot thank everyone enough for the support and praise, but she also wanted to remind students that all their teachers are hardworking.

"Really pay attention to the teachers who are putting everything forward that they can for their students and give them that recognition they deserve," Castleberry said. "We have a lot of teachers who are gifted and love their kids and will do everything they can to make their kids succeed."

Abernathy also told the high school students they have a wonderful community who supports the school, students and teachers.

"I praise this community for supporting public schools up here, they are doing a good job," Abernathy said.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

Watch Region 8 News On Demand: On your Desktop | On your Mobile device

Region 8 News App - Install or update on your: iPhone | Android