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Jenkins named Discovery’s ‘Teacher of the Year’

MADISON – Marla Jenkins has been named “Teacher of the Year” at Discovery Middle School.

Jenkins first taught elementary music and high school chorus for 11 years in her hometown, Winfield. She then taught in Jackson, Tenn. for two years.

Back in Alabama, she served at Owens Cross Roads, Walnut Grove, New Hope and Riverton. Since 2013, she has divided time between Discovery and Liberty with a ladies’ and a mixed choir at both schools.

Along with concerts and programs, Jenkins’ students participate in Madison County Honor Choir, All-State Choral Festival and State Choral Performance Assessment. This year, all four choirs received ‘Superior’ for performance and sight-reading.

Discovery also earned highest honors at Disney World. Liberty earned ‘Superior’ at Smoky Mountain Music Festival in Gatlinburg and divisional first place.

Jenkins also is assistant soccer coach at Discovery.

Considering herself a facilitator, Jenkins sets high expectations and emphasizes a ‘team concept.’ “We can only be as strong as our weakest link. We call choir members ‘family.'”

She wants positivity in class. “I seek to touch students intrinsically so they strive not only to make me proud but mainly so they’re proud of themselves,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins’ special mentors include Barbara Miller, her elementary music teacher. “She fostered my love of music … noticed my vocal talent in kindergarten, giving me my first solo.”

In addition, music professors Chris and Pam Gordon influenced her during junior college and at “The W” in Columbus. “Chris taught theory, all things jazz, commercial music and directed our recruiting ensemble, New Horizon. I took piano with Pam,” Jenkins said. “Mrs. Barbara, Chris and Pam all treated me like a ‘Big Fish’ … how I want my students to feel.”

After Bevill State Junior College in Fayette, she earned bachelor degrees at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Miss. in vocal performance/commercial music and music education.

Jenkins chose to live in Madison County because of its cultural diversity, growth, school systems and well-educated population.

Her son, Alex Jenkins, is 30 years old and lives in Birmingham. He graduated from MUW with a degree in theatre. Alex is accomplished in vocal and instrumental performance, dance and culinary art. He works as specialty chef at Sweet John’s and teaches at Virginia Samford Theatre.

Marla enjoys “re-purpose crafting” and yard work. “Another person’s trash may become my treasure,” she said.

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