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Craig, Rainbow’s ‘Teacher of the Year,’ promises students ‘best education’

MADISON – In the classroom, Emily Craig seeks to apply what she knows that works well and what does not, reflects on what works and what doesn’t and then changes what needs to be changed.

Craig is the 2022 “Teacher of the Year” at Rainbow Elementary School.

Craig’s career started with preschool-aged students, some with Individualized Education Program or IEPs, in a private daycare setting. In 2007, she worked as special education teacher for grades 7-9 at Liberty Middle School in the Exceptional Learning Center.

“I moved over to Rainbow in 2008 and have been here since. I teach grades 3-5 self-contained special education,” Craig said. Over the years, she has taught grades K-9 in Madison.

Currently, she sponsors Rocket Roasters, MCS’ first school-embedded coffee cart that students of special needs operate. She also advises Best Buddies.

Craig’s personal beliefs and values have shaped her teaching philosophy, along with work and personal experience. “This view is continually evolving. My students deserve access to the best education, and I aim to deliver that to them,” she said.

“That means, as an educator, I have to step back, assess myself and my teaching, and continue to learn from my students,” Craig said.

Craig and her students experience success every day in their classroom. “It’s hard to nail down just one success. Each of my kids experience different and many successes,” she said.

“You won’t hear me talk about test scores. Those don’t measure the true capability of my students,” Craig said. “My kids have worked exceptionally hard this year on communication/social skills, life skills and gaining independence.”

Craig earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood and elementary education at Mercer University in her hometown of Macon, Ga. Living in Madison, she received a master’s degree in collaborative special education at the University of North Alabama.

Craig owns Bowden, a 17-year-old Peekapoo dog. “He’s my only child,” she said joking.

On a personal note, which few people know, Craig is highly allergic to bees and wasps. “If you see me out in public running and flailing my arms (which happens often), it’s because of a bee,” she said.

Craig enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and friends. Her goal is to visit all U.S. National Parks.

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