Three Moffat County teachers honored with Peabody awards
May 23, 2015
Craig — Three Moffat County School District teachers were caught by surprise this month when they were presented with Peabody Energy Leader in Education awards, complete with $1,000 checks, in front of their students and peers.
Melany Neton, Nikki Beckum-O'Hara and Lance Scranton were all named Leaders in Education for the 2014-15 school year.
"I'm very touched by all of it. The response from the kids, I think that above everything else was just so great," Beckum-O'Hara said, who teaches seventh-grade math at Craig Middle School. "They were just thrilled and they said you deserve that and we're so glad that you got it. When you're students are supportive… you feel like you're doing good stuff."
A press release from Peabody Energy described Beckum-O'Hara as a teacher committed to implementing "new and innovative teaching strategies," who goes out of her way to help her students outside the classroom.
"I love my subject. I love math. My job is two-fold, it's to teach math but it's also to create a place of learning and acceptance," Beckum-O'Hara said. "I have to balance, did they learn the Pythagorean theorem? Check. But did they learn and feel a sense of accomplishment, did they feel a sense of pride?"
The awards are designed to honor teachers like Beckum-O'Hara, Neton and Scranton and education professionals — including librarians, coaches and counselors — for their dedication and ability to inspire and motivate youth, according to the press release.
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Neton, a first- and second-grade teacher at Sunset Elementary School, received her award at an assembly with the whole school.
"It was very humbling. I taught for 22 years but I don't think I work harder than anybody else in the building. I'm just a teacher," Neton said. "I have one philosophy that I just try to hold true and that is that each child deserves a year's worth of growth. I teach children reading and that is one passion and another is technology. I do a lot of work with technology to keep students engaged and motivated."
Neton was recognized in part for her strength in relationship-building with students, according to a press release. She is one of few teachers that "loops" with her students, following her first-graders to second-grade, thereby allowing her to develop close bonds with students and parents.
Last but not least to receive his award, Scranton, an 11th- and 12th-grade English teacher and also a track and field coach at Moffat County High School, was honored at a school assembly Tuesday.
"Honestly, I thought to myself, it's an honor that just about every teacher in our building deserves," Scranton said. "I think the passion that most teachers have is that we get to see a difference through what we do on a daily basis, and often times, it's not every day that improvements are made but over time, over the course of four years, you really see the growth of kids — intellectually, athletically, in personality and everything — and that's what's rewarding about being teacher. We do spend a lot of time with them and obviously it's an investment we feel is worth it or we wouldn't do what do we do."