Columbia selects Alisha Courtney as top teacher

MADISON – Alisha Courtney loves to see the growth of her students during the year. Courtney is 2018 Teacher of the Year at Columbia Elementary School.

“I have (students) in class, but I love watching them grow up throughout their elementary years,” Courtney said. She has taught kindergartners for five years.

Courtney just finished her eleventh year at Columbia. She taught first grade there for six years. “I got hired at Columbia right out of college. I graduated from the University of Alabama with my bachelor’s degree in elementary education,” she said.

A Madison native, Courtney attended Madison schools in grades 1-12. Courtney also works with Columbia’s extended-day program and summer camp.

“I expect students to work hard and put forth good effort,” she said. “I can handle the teaching part. With good effort and hard work from the child, progress can be made and goals can be achieved,” Courtney said.

She sets high expectations for her students’ behavior. “I expect directions to be followed and for everyone to treat others kindly,” Courtney said.  

During Courtney’s teaching career, a kindergartner named Madeline left a huge impression. “We worked hard throughout the school year to help her be successful with her behavior and social interactions,” Courtney said. “I worked closely with her family to identify challenges to overcome and to help her be successful in the classroom.”

During that year, Madeline made tremendous growth. “I’m still close to Madeline’s family and the teacher she had the following year. We took a team approach to her schooling, and, once you’re on the team, you’re on the team for life,” Courtney said.

Courtney attends Church of the Highlands and is happy to serve in the two-year-old class said.

In free time, Courtney enjoys classes at Pure Barre. “I walked the St. Jude half-marathon last December,” she said. “I’m currently training to run the half-marathon this December.”

“During the fall, you can find me at every home football game in Tuscaloosa. I’ve been to every home football game for the last 15 years,” Courtney said. “I’m a huge Alabama football fan. Seeing Alabama beat Texas at the Rose Bowl to win the 2009 national championship is one of my favorite football memories.”

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