Michelle Hyams has been chosen as 2024 “Teacher of the Year” at James Clemens High School. CONTRIBUTED

James Clemens honors Michelle Hyams as ‘Teacher of the Year’

MADISON – Michelle Hyams, Career Coach at James Clemens High School, believes in setting high expectations . . . but helping students reach that full potential. Hyams is “Teacher of the Year” at James Clemens.

“I’m a firm believer all students will perform to the level of expectation they’re given,” Hyams said.

Her teaching career started in 1993 for special education at B.L. Moor School in Crawford, Miss. Her assignments have included Walhalla Middle School, Walhalla, S.C.; Clemson University; Anderson and Greenville, S.C.; Starkville and Oktibbeha County, Miss.; Mississippi State University or MSU; and Chattanooga Christian School.

During 2014-2022 for Madison City Schools, Hyams worked as job coach, homebound teacher and special education teacher.

In 2018, Hyams founded Alabama’s first high-school chapter of Best Buddies. “We opened chapters in all our high schools, middle schools and elementary schools,” she said. “This past year, we transitioned to Madison City Friends to better suit students’ needs.”

In 2023, she accepted the position of Career Coach at James Clemens. “It’s my responsibility to help James Clemens students know their strengths and how to pursue a career (with) happiness and success.”

Hyams has enjoyed working with students in classrooms and one-on-one sessions with career interest inventories, skills matchers and values assessments. “The ability to develop community partnerships has been extremely valuable with many diverse companies (that allowed students) to job shadow, intern, participate in co-op and gain employment,” Hyams said.

Hyams and other teachers worked to open all pathways in Career Tech Education or CTE to students.

In a new venture, MCS seniors in all CTE paths can interview for the Madison Hospital Ambassadors, “an immersive, leadership-based program . . . with immense potential to develop connections with senior staff and discover career pathways in a community hospital environment.”

“Mentorship is crucial to success. The program is built upon three fundamental pillars: intentional leadership, career pathways and relationship development,” Hyams said.

A native of Pearl, Miss., Hyams was heavily involved with music groups at Northeast Mississippi Community College. Majoring in country/commercial music, she participated in Campus Country, Northeast Jazz Band, chorus as soloist and as lead actress in “The Sound of Music.”

At MSU, Hyams earned a bachelor’s degree in special education. At Clemson University, she received a master’s degree in education/emphasis in ‘school to work.’

Her husband, Dr. Daniel Hyams, works as a lead engineer at a Huntsville defense contractor. They met and married at MSU.

Their children are Bob Jones graduates. Nate, an MSU graduate, studied biomedical engineering; he’s in the fourth year of a doctoral program at Clemson University. Nate received the National Institutes of Health Fellowship with funding until doctorate completion.

Their son Sam graduated from MSU with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a minor in computer science and statistics. In 2025, he will receive a master’s degree in statistics at MSU.

Daughter Adrienne will graduate from University of Alabama in December with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She will serve in the U.S. Navy as a medical officer.

Growing up, Michelle was passionate about singing. She sang in six languages and majored in country music. “I had a full ride in college. While at MSU my senior year, I performed a senior recital as a non-music major.”

Michelle is “known as the lady that will bring you a meal and drop a chocolate-chip pecan pie at your door anytime you need it. I love serving at House of the Harvest (her nickname is ‘Hot Chocolate Lady’).” When traveling, Michelle learns about new cuisines.

Avid travelers, Daniel and Michelle study a destination’s history. “My husband is an amazing planner. I’m always excited for any new adventure that he plans, usually involving a cooking class.”

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