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Tears streamed when Adkins realized top teacher honor at Horizon

MADISON – “Tears began to stream as I realized the honor I was receiving,” Tracey Adkins said about her title as 2020 “Teacher of the Year” at Horizon Elementary School.

“I felt undeserving and extremely humbled … to know that my Horizon family believed I (deserved) this honor,” Adkins said. “I work at a school full of amazing teachers that pour out their hearts daily and are all deserving of this honor,” Adkins said. “Teachers are the hardest working individuals I know.”

Adkins teaches second-graders. Her resume includes an associate’s degree from Weatherford College in Texas and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas.

Adkins’ first teaching assignment was her alma mater, Lamar Elementary in Mineral Wells, Texas. After moving to Madison in 2011, she taught kindergarten at Valley Fellowship Christian Academy. Next, she taught for Title 1 at Horizon.

“I’m forever thankful to an interview team of teachers with Mr. Rodney Richardson for extending an opportunity to teach at Horizon. I’m blessed to do what I love daily,” Adkins said.

Adkins believes every child will leave a legacy, using a greatness inside that needs nurturing. “They need to be told that they can do great things. They need individuals to model (leadership). They need to be taught that everyday choices will leave behind footprints that influence (them),” she said, “and do the right thing even when no one is looking.”

“Teaching is a partnership,” she said. “Teachers and families must partner together.” During virtual learning, Adkins’ classroom encouraged one another with Google Meets and strived for the best of the situation.

This year, one student impressed Adkins with determination while dealing with emotions that affected academics. The student’s family and Adkins isolated the reasons for the emotions, and the student’s academic muscles grew.

“This student showed so much bravery … when children feel safe, loved and respected, they will truly soar and accomplish more than you ever expected,” Adkins said.

Adkins piloted Horizon’s Kind Kids Club with after-school sessions to spread kind-heartedness.

Her husband Kevin serves as Family and Children’s Pastor at Life Church Huntsville. Their children are Spencer, 21, University of Alabama student; Samuel, 18, Bob Jones High School graduate who will attend UA; and Simon, 14, Discovery Middle School student.

In volunteering, Tracey assists Kevin with Life Kids, their church’s children’s ministry, along with leading a small-group study and serving with Life Connector Team.

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