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Tops in her class… Area educator named District 8 teacher of the year

By Staff
Tracy B. Cieniewicz Madison County Record
The field of candidates for the 2002-2003 Alabama Teacher of the Year has been narrowed down to 16 of the state's most exemplary teachers.
Dr. Cathy Nash, second grade teacher at Heritage Elementary School, is among the eight elementary education candidates after recently being named Alabama District 8 Teacher of the Year.
Nash was recognized for her achievement by the Madison City Schools Board of Education at the April 10 board meeting. She will travel to Montgomery on May 21 to be recognized by the Alabama State Department of Education.
Nash said she is truly honored by the award and nomination.
"Seeing joy and happiness in children produces an inner zeal and determination in me that makes the task of teaching such a natural occurrence in my life," Nash said. "I strive to move each child forward each moment, each hour, each day. Such an outlook is why a teacher is not what I became, it is what I am, and is the very essence of my being."
Nash said she owes much of her teaching success to her mother, Vera Harrell, and her husband of more than 30 years, Dr. Jim Nash.
"My mother was a teacher at church during my early years, and I grew up surrounded by visual aids and learning activities, but the greatest influence she had on me was seeing the joy she experienced from making a difference in the life of a child," Nash said. "When I met my husband, he was a teacher. After we married, I was in awe of how someone could come home so exhausted from a day of teaching and still talk about the children with such love and enthusiasm."
She and her husband have four children; Suzanne, Daniel, Timothy, and Carla. Suzanne is a public school librarian.
"I think it's kind of special that she chose a career in education," Nash said. "It's such a rewarding career."
Nash has worked at Heritage for three of her 17 years as a public school educator. For 11 of those years, she has also taught education courses at night at Alabama A&M University, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and Athens State University.
"Some students might know me also as the nighttime Dr. Nash," she said with a smile. "The college education courses I teach really help me to study and think about what I can do during the day with my class."
Nash said she teaches at both the elementary and college level because she considers her teaching career more of a hobby than work.
"Everyday I get in my car and smile as I drive to work because I know it's going to be a great day," Nash said. "Teaching is such a rewarding thing for me. Three-day weekends kill me because I want so badly to get back to the classroom and teach."
Nash also assists in teaching a fifth grade Bible class at Madison Church of Christ. During summer breaks, she travels across the state conducting Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) workshops for the State Department of Education.
As a result of visiting other schools in the state, Nash said she has come to realize how fortunate the Madison City Schools System is.
"After seeing some of the conditions at other schools and the lack of supplies and materials, I am so grateful to be working in the Madison City Schools System. We have outstanding administrators, central office staff, and school board members who care about our children." Nash said. "The Madison community puts its children first and supports its school system. We are so fortunate that everyone cares."

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